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The Global Skills Market: Understanding Talent Mobility

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The Global Skills Market: Understanding Talent Mobility

I had the opportunity to talk to Ian Burke, director at totaljobs.com, about the challenge of skills and labour shortage that the global market is currently facing. Working for totaljobs.com, Ian has a vast experience on what industries are suffering from the skills shortage and how they can overcome this issue. In this article, we are presenting a few very interesting findings that we have discussed and uncovered about the global labour market.

The movement of people due to economic imperatives has been a factor of population change for hundreds of years – but the choices of the merchants, traders and craftsmen of the 17th and 18th centuries are far removed from the analysts, technicians and teachers of the 21st. Newly porous economic borders, with less stringent international labour laws and common markets, combined with the enabling impact of the internet and affordable travel, have encouraged a new age of worldwide talent mobility – creating a truly ‘glocal’ market for desirable skills.

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A recent survey from the Stepstone Group about workplace ambitions and challenges in the UK found that working close to home was a priority for 63% of the workforce – dropping to only 53% for those aged 18-29. This leaves a substantial proportion, nearly half of the working population of the UK, for whom working abroad is a genuine option to consider. An international study of 200,000 workers, conducted by the Boston Consulting Group, found that, on average, 64% of the world’s working adults would consider taking a job abroad – including 59% of Americans aged 21 – 30. Indeed, in the majority of the nations surveyed, the younger generation proved more likely to put their skills to the test in another country.

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This professional diaspora amongst the young, often dramatically referred to as a ‘brain drain’, is now a global phenomenon, albeit a historic one. From the post-war European scientists of the 1940s and 50s, to India’s educated middle classes in the 60s and 70s, our ever-increasing talent mobility is enabling whole new generations to seek their fortunes in climes more conducive to their professional advancement. In Israel, for example, where emigrating retains some historic social stigma, the cost of living and the scarcity of graduate roles has led to 7% of the population living abroad. Across Africa’s emerging economies, emigration has been large enough to turn the negative impact of the brain drain on its head – a report by the World Bank suggested that expats actually boost trade for their home nation, creating up to $2,100 a year in exports per person.

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Whilst the uncertain impact of talent mobility may be a stumbling block for smaller or emerging markets, is it a significant challenge for more developed nations? In the West, the narrative around talent mobility is thoroughly confused – alarmist headlines about calamitous brain drains conflict with statistics about the huge competition for graduate roles and that the workforces of the US and the UK are, as identified by the BCG survey, some of the most unlikely to work abroad of any developed nation. Despite this reluctance, the migrant professionals that arrive to balance out any departing graduates are often stigmatised for filling key roles – simply put, we cannot decide whether global talent mobility is a good or bad thing.

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But this contradictory narrative about talent mobility is indicative of another phenomenon. It’s a confusion that is happening between the convulsing fault lines of our national economies – as our workforces tectonically shift from a closed, localised and top-down model to one that is both open, international and driven by everyone. Talent mobility, empowered by technology, can offer nations, communities and individuals a variety of economic trajectories – and it’s up to each and every one of us to choose where we land.

Featured photo credit: Wolrd Map – Abstract Acrylic by Nicolas Raymond via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 13, 2022

15 Best Places for Expats to Live (And Why)

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15 Best Places for Expats to Live (And Why)

Many of us dream of living abroad but can often be scared to make such a big change to our routine lifestyles and leave our home countries behind. Daunting as it may be, living abroad can be a rewarding and fulfilling endeavor and can give you the quality of life you have been looking for.

From a warmer climate to a more easy going way of life, there are many foreign countries favored by expats who stay for a long time – and sometimes forever. Taking into consideration livings standards, opportunities and social aspects, here are our top 15 best places to live as an expat and why.

1. Thailand

A hot spot for expats, the ‘land of smiles’ as it’s commonly known offers expats a tropical climate, a huge array of sandy beaches and islands to explore, and a rich culture. The cost of living in Thailand is extremely low, and when combined with the friendly tax system means that disposable income can be very high.

Bangkok, Thailand’s capital city, offers expats great employment opportunities.

2. Switzerland

Another popular destination for expats, Switzerland offers exciting employment packages and a high standard of living. It’s great for those who love the outdoors, as there are many beautiful lakes, mountains to hike in and skiing in the winter. The school standards for expats are also excellent, making it appealing for those with children. English is also widely spoken so day-to-day living can be stress free.

Unemployment in Switzerland is low and expats moving here don’t need to worry too much about finding a job before they arrive.

3. Australia

Many foreigners who visit Australia don’t want to leave as it offers a great quality of life, beautiful beaches and a warm climate. Making friends in Australia is easy too, due to the lack of language barrier and the large number of expats who already live here. Australia is a great place to move to if you have children because of its wide range of schooling possibilities and recreational outdoor activities.

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Low population levels and high quality of life are two of the main reasons expats choose Australia as a place to live.

4. Singapore

Expats in Singapore can benefit from generous financial packages, great career opportunities and low tax rates. Although education is expensive here, it is rated one of the top places for raising children abroad due to the quality of the education system and the array of schools.

Public transport such as buses and MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) are cheap and very reliable in Singapore.

5. South Korea

South Korea offers expats a unique range of opportunities and a very different way of living. Jobs for expats are easy to find and usually very well paid, with apartments provided by the employer on the most part making living costs even lower. There are also many tight-knit expat communities in South Korea, making it easy to socialize and meet new friends. The excellent education system is also a pro for families wanting to move to this culture-rich country.

South Korea has a cheap public healthcare system and offers great medical care, with most doctors speaking English.

6. New Zealand

New Zealand is constantly on the lookout for skilled workers to expedite to the country – especially those under the age of 30 – and skilled migrants can be granted a stay for up to five years. It offers a good climate and although income levels can be lower than other countries, quality of life is high, with its awe-inspiring scenery, low crime rate and state sponsored healthcare.

New Zealand is great for those looking for a laid back and active outdoors lifestyle.

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7. Canada

Its national healthcare system, friendly locals and very high quality of life are just a few of the reason expats choose Canada as a place to live. It’s very welcoming to expats and skills shortages encourage foreigners to move here in order for the country to grow economically. It’s easy for expats to feel comfortable quickly in Canada due to its multicultural environment.

Canada was largely unaffected by the economic crisis, making it a very popular country for expats.

8. Qatar

Qatar is becoming increasingly popular among expats with an estimated 500 new arrivals every day. The salaries are generous and are tax free too, making disposable income very high. Car and housing allowances are part of many remuneration packages, and education for your children and airfares are often included.

The cost of living is lower in Qatar than in other UAE countries but salaries can still be just as generous.

9. Hong Kong

Where east truly meets the west, this bustling island has a population of over seven million people. If you’re looking for a fast-paced environment and an active nightlife, Hong Kong is definitely the place to be. Benefits for expats include its advanced healthcare system and elevated standards of schooling for children, along with great employment opportunities. The cost of living in Hong Kong can be high, so trying to negotiate a housing allowance with your employer can be beneficial.

Hong Kong is great for those looking for high incomes and career advancement.

10. Japan

As an expat destination, Japan offers a rich culture and a chance to experience a very different day-to-day life. Currently around two million expats live in Japan, and in the larger cities such as Tokyo a large portion of the population speaks English. English speakers are also in demand and there are a large number of opportunities for language teachers, especially in the capital.

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Japan offers a high standard of living for expats and a good education system for those with children.

11. Spain

Spain is a very popular destination for expats due to the high temperatures and year-round sunshine. EU residents don’t require a visa to work here, meaning the move can be a lot easier. Skilled foreign workers also continue to be in demand with jobs such as engineering, customer service, skilled trades and language teachers widely available.

A huge 14% of Spain’s population are expats from a variety of foreign countries.

12. Dubai

Two of the main attractions of moving to Dubai are the tax-free salaries and the warm climate. Some of the most popular jobs for expats are in construction, banking, oil and tourism. You can also enjoy a busy social life in Dubai as the expat community is thriving. Although it can be an expensive country, the tax-free salary means you experience a higher quality of life than in other countries.

You will need a work permit, residence visa and an Emirates ID card to live in Dubai as an expat.

13. Germany

Germany is one of Europe’s most populous countries, with around 82.4 million people. It’s a lively and inexpensive country to live in as an expat, and if you have children the education system is great and healthcare is to a high standard. An estimated 250,000 expats live in Germany currently, with the numbers rising every year.

If you are already an EU citizen, you don’t need a visa to live and work in Germany.

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14. The Netherlands

The Netherlands is a great place for expats who love the outdoors. Cycling is one of the main modes of transport and looking after the environment is widely recognized. There are a lot of English speakers in the Netherlands too, but learning the language can work to your advantage and make day-to-day life that little bit easier. Skilled expats can also benefit from a tax-free allowance equivalent to 30% if they meet the correct criteria.

It is often more important to be able to speak fluent English than to speak Dutch when looking for employment in the Netherlands.

15. China

China offers expats great employment opportunities with little competition. Those who embrace the culture and decide they want to live in China long term can see a host of employment opportunities as its economy is growing rapidly every year. Economists predict it will overtake the US as the world’s largest economy by 2018. China also offer expats low living costs and high disposable incomes, which is why many look to live here for a higher quality of life.

Shanghai and Beijing are the most popular destinations for expats who live in China.

Featured photo credit: Saulo Mohana via unsplash.com

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