UK benefiting from overseas ‘brain gain’

The UK ranks as the third most attractive place to work in Europe among job-seekers searching for overseas posts, according to the largest analysis of its kind.

indeed jobs
The study of more than 800 million cross-border job searches by global jobs site Indeed found that the UK's popularity was only behind that of Luxembourg and Switzerland.

Britain also experienced a stronger 'brain gain' (more people entering the workforce from abroad, than those leaving for jobs overseas) than other major economies, largely because of its attractiveness to non-European workers.

The analysis found that cross-border searches by European jobseekers were up 13% this year after recording a drop of 32% at the height of pandemic lockdowns.Pawel Adrjan, head of EMEA research at Indeed, said: “The pandemic inevitably curtailed jobseeker mobility around the world but the combination of rebounding labour markets, reopening borders and geopolitical events triggered a new wave of cross-border interest.

"Migration is a permanent feature of European society and ensures the smooth running of labour markets but our landmark research suggests very few countries experienced a net ‘brain gain’.

“In that sense, the UK is an outlier. Despite the double-header of Brexit and the pandemic, it continues to be one of the most attractive destinations for international workers and is increasingly popular with jobseekers outside of Europe."

The analysis found that Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and France were favourites outside the top three, while Romania, Greece and Finland were rated as the least attractive for jobseekers.As far as UK searches were concerned, Indeed’s data showed that, last year, jobseekers from India, the United States and Ireland accounted for more than a quarter of all foreign interest.

With the UK currently recording more job vacancies than the total of people registered as unemployed, Indeed said research showed 74% of British business leaders  would 'definitely' or 'probably' hire foreign workers this year.

Mr Adrjan added: “In the face of labour shortages and with sectors like technology and healthcare especially dependent on foreign workers, it’s important that employers prepare for an inflow of foreign candidates by understanding where they are coming from, what jobs they are interested in and considering how they can appeal to workers abroad. 

“But it’s not just about attraction: retention matters too. Many countries see more outbound than inbound job searches, which puts them at risk of ‘brain drain’.

"This means that employers need to proactively monitor the needs of their workforce, be aware of the salaries and working conditions that competitors offer, and act accordingly.”

Indeed's analysis also found that, between January 2019 and April this year, foreign jobseekers were nearly twice as likely to search for positions in the UK offering remote working, than domestic jobseekers.

Read more news and views from David Sapsted, July articles.

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