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U.S. Drops From Top Spot For Global Workers Considering Relocation

For an increasingly mobile international workforce, the United States is no longer the top choice for relocation, according to the 2021 Decoding Global Talent report compiled by Boston Consulting Group, The Network and Appcast.

Former Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Kevin McAleenan at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport's customs kiosks in 2013.

This year, as the U.S. suffered from the coronavirus pandemic, as well as civil and political unrest, Canada took the top spot for the first time in the eight years the report has been compiled. The U.S. was No. 2, followed by Australia, Germany, the UK and Japan.

The report was conducted in October and November and is based on feedback from more than 208,000 respondents in 190 countries.

The desire to work in major U.S. cities also declined in 2020, according to Decoding Global Talent. Now only two American cities are among the top 30 most desirable ones globally: New York City, which dropped from No. 2 in 2018 to No. 8 in 2020, and Los Angeles, which went from No. 7 to No. 12 over the same period. Seattle was the only U.S. city to eke out a rise in the rankings, up a notch from No. 50 in 2018 to 49 in 2020. 

Workers who can relocate to other countries, who tend to be highly skilled, are less willing to consider moving for work at all, regardless of the destination, as the effects of the pandemic linger. In 2020, just over half of the workers surveyed would consider working abroad. In 2014, 63.8% of the respondents said so.

While global workers are less willing to physically move to the U.S., they still see the country as the top destination for virtual employment, highlighting their desire to work for American companies, the report found. 

"U.S. employers looking to gain an advantage in recruiting qualified talent outside of the U.S. must be increasingly open to global talent working remotely rather than physically relocating to the U.S.," Appcast CEO Chris Forman said in a statement.

Before the pandemic hit, highly skilled workers were increasingly mobile worldwide, and employers were becoming more willing to look beyond their countries for talent, either those who relocate or those who work remotely.

The hospitality industry, buffeted by a contraction of business and leisure travel, is beginning to take note of the world's more mobile workforce. Instead of focusing exclusively on overnight stays, some properties are now offering flexible monthly subscriptions to attract digital nomads, Digiday reports.