Australia is becoming increasingly attractive to overseas workers as an employment destination. A study of over 366,000 workers and 6000 recruiters from 197 countries around the globe ranked Australia as the fourth most attractive country worldwide behind the US, Germany and Canada, with the US with the UK dropping from second place to fifth.
While Australia has moved up the ranks in attractiveness to workers, the study conducted by Boston Consulting Group and The Network found the number of people looking to work overseas had fallen from 64 per cent in 2014 to 57 per cent in 2018.
Australia also proved most attractive as a work destination to workers from America and the Asia Pacific, while it is the third most popular destination for the over 60s.
“With a robust economy and high standard of living, Australia has long been an attractive destination,” said Brad Noakes, who leads BCG’s People & Organization practice in Australia and New Zealand. “In light of some European countries taking a more cautious approach to immigration and the uncertainty around Brexit, it’s no surprise Australia is increasing in popularity.”
Australia is the fourth most popular destination for those with digital expertise, and fifth for people with master’s degrees and doctorates as well as people under 30.
“The good news is Australia is attractive to highly educated people, and those with the digital skills that will continue to grow in demand and becoming increasingly important in supporting economic growth,” added Noakes.
Although Australia’s popularity has grown, Sydney’s has dropped, with the harbour city sliding from fourth place to ninth since 2014.
“While the opportunities in Sydney, as a global city, have long been recognised, it is challenging from an affordability and liveability perspective – and indeed this is reflected in the infrastructure investment from governments at all levels,” says Noakes.
Noakes says the study also confirms a decline in workers seeking employment in Australia from some emerging economies. For example, only 33% of Chinese are now willing to leave their home country for work – compared to 61% in 2014.
“While many factors contribute to a decision to work in another country, the findings suggest in many countries, people are now more likely to find fulfilling and well-paying work without having to leave,” said Noakes.
When exploring what may make one country more attractive than another, the study found workers continue to favour basic workplace rewards, such as good relationships with colleagues and work-life balance, over dollar compensation.
“The workforce is being transformed by technologies such as automation and artificial intelligence. We’re also experiencing demographic changes, with older employees retiring, and younger generations entering the workforce with their own expectations,” said Noakes.
“These factors, combined with broader economic and geopolitical dynamics, complicate the task of meeting rapidly changing skills needs. Business leaders and policymakers alike should pay close attention to where people want to work and what they look for in a job, to meet this challenge head on.”