Dubai and Abu Dhabi rank among top five global cities to work in

London and Amsterdam top list of cities for talent to relocate to, BCG report finds

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Dubai and Abu Dhabi have been ranked among the top five most popular destinations for professionals to relocate to, according to a report by management consultancy Boston Consulting Group.

In third (Dubai) and fourth place (Abu Dhabi), the two cities are the only ones in the Middle East that made it to the top 10, according to the Dream Destinations and Mobility Trends report that analysed the work preferences of 150,000 people in 188 countries between October and December.

London retained its position as the number one city for global talent to relocate to, followed by Amsterdam, while New York secured the fifth position, the report revealed.

Other cities that round off the top 10 list include Berlin, Singapore, Barcelona, Tokyo and Sydney.

“Australia, [the] US and Canada ranked as the three most sought-after countries for professionals to move to for work,” the report found.

The jobs market in the UAE, the Arab world’s second-largest economy, has recovered from the coronavirus pandemic, driven largely by government measures to attract skilled workers and incentivise companies to set up or expand their operations.

The Emirates is shifting to an employers’ market, with more people moving in because of economic problems in other countries, recruitment consultancy Robert Half said in its 2024 Salary Guide report.

The influx of talent and greater competition for roles means candidates are willing to accept lower remuneration to gain a foothold in the Middle East, which brings down the overall market rate and restricts salary growth, Robert Half said.

A majority (82 per cent) of professionals in the UAE and Saudi Arabia said they prefer working in the GCC region to moving to Europe or the US, according to a survey by LinkedIn in January.

The BCG report estimated that up to 800 million professionals could be actively looking for jobs abroad, considering 3.55 billion people is the size of the active labour force globally, according to the World Bank.

Professional and financial considerations are the primary factors behind work-related relocations, while secondary factors included the benefits and services offered by the destination city, such as social systems, health care, political stability and a better climate.

“People primarily choose a destination based on the quality of job opportunities there, followed by quality of life and factors related to income,” the report said.

Languages spoken in the destination country matter a lot, especially where English-speaking countries are favoured.

“Personal recommendations from acquaintances who have experience with the destination country also make a difference, particularly where non-English-speaking countries are concerned. So does having a diaspora of their nationality in the target destination," the report added.

Age and professional background strongly influence mobility.

People in technology and green roles are the most mobile, BCG research found.

The most mobile occupations are in the engineering and technical, sustainability, services and hospitality, education and training, and design, art, creative and architecture sectors.

Meanwhile, the most mobile industries are agriculture, travel and tourism, and hospitality.

Younger workers, those in senior management and those who have already lived abroad are more mobile, according to BCG.

The report found that the region with the highest percentage of respondents actively looking for jobs is Africa, while the lowest-mobility regions are Europe, North America and parts of the Asia-Pacific region (Australia and China).

“A top-tier salary package matters but factors such as equal employment opportunities for locals and immigrants, and cultural acceptance and belonging are nearly as important as money," the report said.

More than 75 per cent of professionals polled by BCG said they expect their future employer to provide assistance with housing, visas and permits.

The worldwide shift to remote work during the coronavirus pandemic opened the doors to virtual mobility, with 66 per cent of those polled saying they would consider working remotely for an employer located in a country different from the one the jobseeker lives in, the report found.

Top 10 global cities to work for professionals

  1. London
  2. Amsterdam
  3. Dubai
  4. Abu Dhabi
  5. New York
  6. Berlin
  7. Singapore
  8. Barcelona
  9. Tokyo
  10. Sydney

Source: BCG

Updated: May 03, 2024, 7:13 AM