London is 'the most desirable city in the world to work in', study finds

The capital beat New York and Paris in a survey of international workers

Lizzie Dearden
Wednesday 08 October 2014 06:52 BST

London is the most desirable city in the world for foreign workers, beating New York and Paris, according to a study.

More than 200,000 people from 189 countries were surveyed by the The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and international recruitment websites.

London was the only place in the UK to feature in the top-40, which included Sydney, Barcelona, Berlin, Singapore and Rome among the most popular cities.

In the report, Ali Aslan Gümüs, a 45-year-old Turkish jobseeker, said: “If you ask a young person in this country, ‘Where do you want to go in the UK?’. They’ll never say Liverpool or Manchester. They all say London because of the cultural harmonisation.”

The capital narrowly beat New York to top the poll, with researchers noting they were both global centres of business and cultures with high foreign-born populations making them appear more welcoming.

London has more than 3 million foreign-born residents according to the 2011 census – 37 per cent of the population – up from a quarter in 2001.

New York came second to London

Some cities were chosen because of their appeal to people working in specific industries, such as Zurich for bankers and Los Angeles for aspiring actors.

The authors of the report noted that many of the most popular cities had a combination of strong economies and famous cultural attractions.

Mike Brooker, managing director of The Network recruiting agency, said: “People have never made their career choices strictly on the basis of what happens when they’re at work.

“There’s always an implicit calculation of what the job will allow them to do in their off-time.”

The US was the most popular country to move to, with 42 per cent of people saying they wanted to work in there, compared to 37 per cent in Britain.

Canada is the third most desirable country overall, while Germany, Switzerland and France were the favourite non-English-speaking countries for those wanting to relocate.

The report, Decoding Global Talent, found that 64 per cent of the people surveyed were prepared to move abroad for jobs.

The proportion was generally higher in developing countries or those that are experiencing political instability and far lower elsewhere, with the figure standing at only 44 per cent in Britain.

Paris was the third most-desirable city (Rex Features)

For some, the prospect of higher wages and better standards of living attracts them, while others are motivated by a desire to broaden their personal experiences and travel.

Rainer Strack, a senior partner at BCG who co-authored the report, said the “geographic barriers to employment are coming down”.

“This is opening up significant opportunities for individuals and for the many countries and multinational companies that are facing talent shortages of one sort or another,” he added.

Occupation also was shown to have a big impact, with engineers and those in technical jobs the most likely to move.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in