Overseas workers' eyes turn to the UK

The number of international workers looking for jobs in the UK jumped in August to its highest level in 20 months, according to data released by the global job site Indeed.

According to the company's analysis of overseas searches for UK posts, the total last month was the highest since December 2018 and was 140% higher than its low point of the year, which arrived on March 24, the day after the coronavirus lockdown was imposed.

India, USA and the Republic of Ireland: greatest number of searches for jobs in the UK

Indeed said that, as the eighth round of talks got underway between the UK and EU this week over a post-Brexit trade deal, the greatest overseas interest came from non-EU countries, with India accounting for 11.8% of searches. The next highest number came from the United States with 7.4%, followed by the Republic of Ireland with 5.4%.Jack Kennedy, UK economist at Indeed, said, “Despite the recession and tens of thousands of job losses, the UK’s jobs market clearly still holds a strong appeal for many overseas jobseekers.“Lockdown initially plunged inbound job searches into the deep freeze, but they have since picked up steam as overseas interest in British jobs has surged. However traffic going the other way is falling, as UK-based workers have become less interested in looking for work abroad.“The number of vacancies in the UK has steadily improved from the lows seen during lockdown, which may go some way towards explaining the interest in UK jobs among jobseekers overseas. As global labour markets continue to reel from the impacts of the pandemic, international jobseekers may have been buoyed by the reopening of the UK economy.“With most British jobseekers opting to search close to home for their next job, the surge in people searching from abroad may offer them some extra competition in coming months.”

UK workers: outbound job searches down by more than 50% on 2018

The analysis found that, as inbound interest rose, searches by UK workers looking for roles overseas had fallen to their lowest level in three years, with the total of outbound searches last month amounting to just a third of the inbound total.In fact, outbound searches in August were 34.3% down on the same month a year ago and were half (-51%) on the same month in 2018.

In which countries do Brits want to work?

"The United States is by far the most popular destination for Brits looking for jobs abroad, making up 32.7% of outbound job searches. The Republic of Ireland, with 8.9% of searches, and Canada (8.2%) make up the top three," Indeed reported."The most popular job, both among Brits looking abroad and overseas workers considering a move to the UK, is customer services representative. The other top roles UK candidates are searching for overseas include software engineer, administrative assistant, and project manager."The report also pointed out that, traditionally, December and January saw the biggest spikes in international searches, as workers often used the beginning of the year to explore the possibilities of  a fresh start abroad."However foreign interest in UK jobs in January 2020 – the month Brexit happened – was 16% lower than the same month in 2019, and 12% down on January 2018."Official data suggests Brexit and Covid have combined to drive down the number of foreign workers actually moving to the UK. In the 12 months to the end of June, the Home Office granted 22% fewer work-related visas to foreigners than it did the previous year, making the August spike revealed by Indeed’s data all the more striking."

Read more news and views from David Sapsted.

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