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Canada is the #1 work destination in the world

Man atop a forested mountain holding a Canadian flag with outstretched arms looking over a valley in Alberta

Canada has trumped the United States as the top destination in the world to relocate for work.

The findings are part of the 2021 Decoding Global Talent study, conducted by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and The Network. The report, released March 4, is the first of three studies exploring how COVID-19 has impacted global attitudes and preferences around working abroad, and it includes 209,000 respondents from 190 different countries.

Canada took the top spot overall for 2020, unseating the U.S., which ranked #1 in previous studies in 2018 and 2014. Canada had previously come in third.

“The changes to the list of top-10 destinations largely reflect different countries’ success in managing COVID-19 outbreaks,” the report authors noted. “Almost all of the countries that have fallen lower on the list or disappeared from it – including the U.S., France, Italy and Spain – have struggled, at some point in the last year, to ‘flatten the curve’… Strong coronavirus management has also helped Canada, which has moved ahead of the U.S. to become the number-one work destination globally.” 

The top 10 work destinations in the world for 2020 were:

1. Canada
2. United States
3. Australia
4. Germany
5. United Kingdom
6. Japan
7. Switzerland
8. Singapore
9. France
10. New Zealand

“Hurt by an inconsistent pandemic response, the adoption of more nationalistic policies, and social unrest, the U.S. has fallen to second in the rankings, behind Canada, and basically in a tie with Australia,” the report reads.

In addition to taking the top spot overall, Canada is also the first choice for people with a master’s degree or PhD, those with digital training or expertise, and those under 30.

Canada has “done a far better job of pandemic management,” the report notes, and is seen as having a better social system and a more open culture than the U.S. 

The report also notes that, for the first time since the first study in 2014, the number of people willing to relocate for work has declined. In 2014, almost two-thirds of respondents said the idea of moving to another country for work appealed to them. That number is now closer to 50%.

However, the survey results also show that “virtual mobility” is on the rise, with 57% of respondents saying they are willing to work remotely for an employer who does not have a physical presence in their home country.

Click here to read the full report.


Published on Mar. 12, 2021.