Singapore Merlion

SINGAPORE: Despite ongoing global challenges, including geopolitical tensions, economic concerns, and the rise of virtual mobility trends, Singapore ranks eighth as the preferred work destination globally.

A new report by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), The Network (including Jobstreet by SEEK), and The Stepstone Group highlights that 23% of professionals actively seek jobs abroad, with 63% expressing a willingness to relocate.

English-speaking countries with strong economies dominate the list of top destinations. Australia, the US, Canada, and the UK are the most sought-after, with Singapore maintaining its position in the top 10 since 2020.

London ranked as the most desirable city globally, with New York and Singapore in fifth and seventh place, respectively. Notably, Singapore has surpassed Tokyo as the top Asian city for work relocation.

Top 10 most desirable destinations to work
Photo: Jobstreet by SEEK

The “Decoding Global Talent 2024” report is based on survey data from over 150,000 respondents across 188 countries.

Ms Chew Siew Mee, Managing Director of Jobstreet by SEEK in Singapore, emphasised the need for local employers to be proactive due to the country’s small and ageing population.

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“With Singapore being a popular destination for the global workforce, local employers are already well-positioned to do so,” Ms Chew said.

She also noted that Jobstreet’s new platform aims to help employers connect with highly skilled professionals from neighbouring countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, and Hong Kong.

Professionals moving abroad are primarily motivated by financial and economic reasons, with 64% of respondents citing these factors, while career advancement opportunities drive 56%.

Singapore is appealing because of its job opportunities and “quality of life”

Singapore’s appeal is bolstered by its quality job opportunities and quality of life, including cost of living, safety, stability, and security.

Talent from nearby countries, such as Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Hong Kong, strongly prefer to relocate to Singapore.

About 30% of Malaysian respondents favour Singapore as a work destination. Professionals from China and India also expressed significant interest in moving to Singapore.

In terms of job sectors, talent relocating to Singapore are particularly interested in Marketing and Media, Digital, Data Science, and AI industries.

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High-skilled professions like Business Management, Engineering, and Research and Laboratory roles are also drawing international attention due to the opportunities available in these fields in Singapore.

Singaporeans are also willing to pursue opportunities abroad

Interestingly, 64% of Singapore respondents are willing to pursue opportunities abroad, particularly in Australia, China, and Japan.

Among those, young Singaporeans show the highest mobility rate at 72%, similar to the Southeast Asia average of 70% and the global average of 73%.

However, most Singaporeans looking to work overseas prefer short-term assignments, intending to return home after achieving their goals abroad.

Respondents looking to move abroad expect assistance

The study also highlights the expectations of professionals moving abroad. Nearly eight in 10 respondents expect employers to assist with housing (79%) and visa and work permits (78%).

More than half also seek relocation support (69%) and language support and training (54%). Singaporeans aspiring to work abroad express a strong need for support in housing assistance (84%), relocation (81%), and visa and work permit assistance (77%).

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Mr Jens Baier, managing director, senior partner and leader of BCG’s work in HR excellence, stressed the need for employers to adapt their recruitment strategies to attract international talent.

“Other countries can be a great source of talent. But establishing a channel of workers from abroad requires employers to fundamentally overhaul how they recruit, relocate, and integrate talent,” Mr Baier said.

He also noted the crucial role of governments in establishing policies, incentives, and frameworks to facilitate this process.

“Employers and nations that tap into such positive energy from the millions of workers with mobile aspirations will gain a major competitive advantage and source of growth,” he said. /TISG

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