Over the last five years Australia has consistently been in the top three countries professionals wish to relocate to.

October 20, 2015

Over the last five years Australia has consistently been in the top three countries professionals wish to relocate to. In this years report Australia was second behind the USA, and above the UK and Singapore which were ranked in third and fourth position respectively. 

Our sixth ‘Global Professionals on the Move’ report surveyed over 99 nationalities that had been or were currently working across 106 countries, with 79% of survey respondents citing lifestyle as the overwhelming factor for Australia’s appeal. 

It's not just Australia as a country which is desirable; Australian cities are also on the wish list for professionals wanting to relocate. Sydney retained its position in the top three, just behind London and New York; whilst Melbourne and Perth are ranked at 7th and 9th positions.

However, this popularity doesn't always translate to reality for many professionals, as obtaining a work permit or a visa to Australia (and the USA), can prove to be difficult. The reality is that London tops the list of cities where people actually relocate to, followed by Singapore and Paris. 

Simon Walker, APAC COO Hydrogen Group, said: “With lifestyle topping the list of what makes any of the top 10 destinations attractive it is not surprising Australia features so highly on the wish list. Australia offers cities that are important within sector hubs, combined with a good work/life balance.” 

“Although most global professionals undertake highly-demanding roles, it's still important for companies to enable individuals to have quality time; especially if families have relocated with them.” 

For the first time, the report looked separately at the responses from students to gain insight on the next generation’s views towards international experience. Interestingly, Australia was not so popular within this group. Only 4% of students gave it as a preferred destination compared to 21% for the UK and 18% for the USA. 

Focussing on the ‘global mobility’ theme, the report confirms the growing popularity of working internationally, as global hiring has increased by 50% despite the slow economic recovery in many parts of the world. In fact, the economic climate sits at the bottom of the list of barriers to moving abroad for the professionals surveyed. 

Whilst English speaking countries still dominate the relocation wish list, the survey found that for the right opportunity respondents would be willing to go anywhere – a 5% increase on last year. As the number of destinations professionals are relocating to increases to include South-east Asia, South America and Africa so do the challenges around visas/work permits, culture and language. 

Additional key findings:

  • 81% of respondents stated that relocating had a positive impact on their career; whilst 82% believed relocating improved their salary.
  • 93% of survey respondents have expanded their networks through working internationally; with 80% claiming their networks are beneficial to their job and the company they work for.
  • 90% of professionals working abroad would relocate again and 97% would recommend working abroad to others.
  • Career prospects is cited as the top motivation for those who have worked or are currently working abroad.
  • Professionals are staying abroad for longer with the number of respondents who had relocated for 6-10+ years up 7% on 2014 and those with experience of less than two years dropped 12%.
  • 67% of survey respondents would consider taking a contract overseas. However, only 29% of survey respondents are employed on a contract basis due to the associated risks of security and stability, both personally, and of host countries.
  • Family as a barrier to relocating abroad has decreased to 30% in comparison to 62% from 2014's report, however, remains the main reason people return home.
  • The millennial generation think of relocating 3-5 years into their career, understanding that international experience is faster to career progression. Even professionals aged 31-50 years old would consider moving from one overseas opportunity to another , and not returning to their home countries until retirement.
  • 37% of professionals found their job abroad via a recruitment consultancy or were headhunted.

The report was compiled with the help from European business school (ESCP) and is based on interviews with 2,051 respondents, spanning across 99 countries.