We might not want to study abroad in great numbers (a pity, as there are wonderful experiences to be had), but all that appears to change once we enter the workforce. Brits are reportedly more willing to work overseas than ever.
Maybe it’s Brexit, or the fancy Instagram pictures posted by travel influencers (faked or otherwise). Perhaps it’s the price of a London pint. Or it’s all three. Whatever the reasons, there has been a significant increase over the past four years in British workers’ willingness to work overseas, according to a new report by Boston Consulting Group and totaljobs.com.
The study called Decoding Global Talent looked at the job preferences and mobility of 366,000 workers across 197 countries worldwide, including their willingness to relocate for work. The percentage of respondents wanting to move abroad in Britain showed the biggest increase of any country worldwide, jumping from 44% in 2014 to 62% in 2018.
This is especially true of Millennials under 30 or Brits with advanced degrees: 73% would leave for a job elsewhere. As for where they would like to move to, it’s the usual suspects: Australia is first, while the US, Canada and Germany are also popular destinations.
In an interesting twist, the same survey shows that the most appealing city worldwide for global workers is none other than London, ahead of New York, Berlin, Barcelona and Amsterdam. The report cites the British capital’s
rich history, abundant old-world charm, an international and diverse population, and, not incidentally, an electorate that voted by a three-to-two margin to stay in the EU.
Right – Brexit (again).
Living in Hong Kong, I’m always up for a hike. Last weekend I scrambled over a long course of boulders in pounding heat, later emerging at a striking waterfall. I was the only person there. Then someone else inconveniently turned up. The two of us spoke (a bit awkward otherwise). Within minutes, the tattooed airport worker informed me that he was a huge Top Gear fan.
Top Gear, of course, is a massive overseas hit. But it’s not the only British export success. Anyone travelling to China will probably know that brands like Burberry are popular, while Man Utd is all over Southeast Asia like a red rash.
Then, of course, there are things like beer, whisky, gin, cheese and what not – the good stuff in life. Greene King IPA sales famously soared after the leaders of China and the UK were seen enjoying a pint at a country pub in 2015.
So it’s of no real surprise that a February report confirms that “Brand Britain” is popular in less established markets.
The report by Barclays Bank highlights export opportunities for UK businesses, saying that products flying the British flag were more likely to be purchased in emerging markets and that consumers in India, China and the UAE responded most positively to “Britishness”. Beyond these there are fast-growing economies in Africa and the “Far East” (“Far East?” Really?).
British goods are popular for reasons that include integrity, trust and reliability, while the UK is also perceived as innovative – something that was emphasised recently at the GREAT Festival of Innovation.
Among other recommendations, the report suggests displaying the British flag on products and thinking about marketing messages.
Hollywood has had a curious love affair with the city for years. Tourists are drawn to its je ne sais quois. It’s even home to the world’s most expensive footballer.
But it’s very much a non, merci from expats, who have rated Paris the worst city worldwide for getting settled. The French capital is surprisingly third from bottom in InterNation’s Expat City Ranking 2017.
According to InterNations, more than double the global average of respondents believe it very hard to live in the City of Light without speaking the local language.
(Last time I checked the local language was the very widely spoken French, learned from an early age in many schools worldwide; some people, eh.)
Top spot this year has gone to Manama which, as the capital of Bahrain rather than the isthmus linking the two Americas, isn’t a typo.
Manama, according to the survey, is the easiest city for getting settled (92% of respondents say its easy to live there without speaking Arabic). It furthermore does well for urban work life and Bahrainis are also said to be very friendly.
The top 10 is as follows:
- Kuala Lumpur
As for the opposite end of the table, Lagos came bottom, with expats reportedly being unhappy with their personal safety and the local political instability. Nigeria’s biggest city was also ranked the third most stressful city worldwide in a separate survey conducted recently by Zipjet.