The top five spots have been taken up by London, Amsterdam, Dubai, Berlin and Abu Dhabi as the most coveted work destinations.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia has for the first time entered the list of top 30 work destinations for global talent, a new report has found.  

Titled Decoding Global Talent, Onsite and Virtual, and published by Seek Asia, Boston Consulting Group and The Network, the report revealed many new entrants including Seoul, South Korea; Beijing, China; Istanbul, Turkey and more. 

At the same time, this is the first year Singapore made it to the top 10, having risen eight spots from 2018 to stand in seventh place. Together with Australia and Japan, it is now one of the most attractive destinations for respondents from Southeast Asia, with the US dropping in attractiveness.

Overall, the top 30 work destinations for global talent are:

#1 London, UK
#2 Amsterdam, The Netherlands
#3 Dubai, UAE
#4 Berlin, Germany
#5 Abu Dhabi, UAE
#6 Tokyo, Japan
#7 Singapore
#8 New York, US
#9 Barcelona, Spain
#10 Sydney, Australia
#11 Paris, France
#12 Los Angeles, US
#13 Melbourne, Australia
#14 Toronto, Canada
#15 Seoul, South Korea
#16 Brussels, Belgium
#17 Zurich, Switzerland
#18 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
#19 Geneva, Switzerland
#20 Vancouver, Canada
#21 Hong Kong
#22 Vienna, Austria
#23 Beijing, China
#24 Montreal, Canada
#25 Rome, Italy
#26 Munich, Germany
#27 Copenhagen, Denmark
#28 Lisbon, Portugal,
#29 Stockholm, Sweden
#30 Istanbul, Turkey

asian cities are now among the top destinations


For the third time since the survey was launched, London is the most frequently mentioned city work destination in the world. 

At the same time, one key factor - an effective pandemic response - has boosted the perceived attractiveness both Tokyo and Singapore, the report noted. 

Ming Teck Kong, Managing Director and Southeast Asia Leader for People & Organisation at BCG, said: "The pandemic has transformed the attitudes of global talent, with the fall in respondents expressing an ambition to move abroad particularly acute in Southeast Asia.

"Asia Pacific is now seen as an increasingly attractive destination, partly due to positive performance in tackling COVID caseloads."singapore in top 10 work destinations globally for the first time apac rise in the rankings

Fewer people are willing to work abroad, compared to in 2018

Out of nearly 209,000 respondents across 190 countries, just 50.4% said they were willing to move to another country for work - down from 57.1% in 2018 and 63.8% in 2014.

That said, Southeast Asia has seen a dramatic shift, with respondents in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Philippines all evidencing significant drops in willingness to move abroad. In particular, just 46% of respondents in Thailand and Indonesia respectively, expressed a willingness to move abroad in 2020, down from 66^ and 51% in 2018.

Similarly, only 44% of respondents in Singapore admitted a willingness to move abroad in the latest report, down from 70% in 2018; while in Malaysia, this percentage dropped from 65% in 2018 to 40% in 2020.

willingness to move abroad has been on the decline

Top destinations for international remote employment 

While there is less willingness now to relocate to a foreign country, the survey shows enthusiasm for the model of staying in one’s home country while working for a foreign employer, with 56.9% of global respondents willing to do this. Among Southeast Asian countries, 51% of Singaporeans, 53% of Malaysians, and 55% of Indonesians are willing to work for a remote employer, compared to 57% global average and countries like Mexico (84%), Brazil (82%), and Poland (71%).

The US, Australia and Canada took the top three spots as the most favoured destinations for remote employment by 25%, 22% and 22% of respondents respectively, according to the report. Among APAC countries, Singapore emerged the top favourite, however with just 9% of respondents saying the country appeals to them.

Photo / Provided by BCG

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