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London remains most desirable city in the world - CITY A.M

MARCH 05, 2021

A study by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Totaljobs shows London remains the most attractive city to live and work in, despite uncertainty around Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Global Talent Survey was based on a study of over 200,000 participants in 190 countries.

London proved to be the most popular for workers from countries with historic and language links to the UK, such as South Africa and Nigeria, those with historic working links such as Portugal and Romania.

London also appealed most to the highly educated and people working in digital or professional roles.

The most favoured sectors in London were the legal (21 per cent), insurance (21 per cent), finance (20 per cent), and health and social care sectors (18 per cent).


The UK retained its fifth place in rankings of the most desirable countries for work.

The US lost its spot at the top of the list for the first time, now overtaken by Canada which is up from third in 2018.

Countries that had an efficient public health response such as Singapore and New Zealand were in the top ten most desirable countries for the first time.

New York also dropped from second place in 2018 to eighth place in 2020.

Overall willingness to move abroad decreased in light of the pandemic, travel restrictions and uncertain economic conditions.

Around 50 per cent of people surveyed were open to moving to another country for work, down from 64 per cent in 2014 and 57 per cent in 2018.

Young workers (64 per cent) were most open to moving abroad, as well as those working in the legal (73 per cent), IT and technology (66 per cent) and science and research industries (60 per cent).

The majority of workers globally (57 per cent) would be open to staying in their home country while working for an employer based abroad.


Openness to virtual work is especially high for people working in tech. 71 per cent of people with digital or analytics backgrounds said they would be willing to work for an overseas company.

Jon Wilson, CEO of Totaljobs said: “London’s enduring popularity as a destination for work is great news for the UK. It’s encouraging to see that British employers can continue to attract the best talent from the global workforce, in part due to London’s long-standing reputation as a multi-cultural hub for international trade and its strong employment offering.”

“This said, there’s still work to do in remedying labour shortages in key industries which are less conducive to remote working, particularly social care, logistics, and hospitality. However, the rise and normalisation of global remote working will help to expand the available talent pool, which looks set to benefit employers governments and workers alike,” he added.

Nick South, managing director and partner at BCG said: “The long-term impact of Covid on the way we work has raised important questions about the future of cities. While people are looking for ore flexibility in how they work, a city like London still has huge global appeal for its dynamism, diversity and career opportunities.

“At the same time as designing future working models that tap into new talent pools, leaders need to recognise the magnetic power that cities like London have, and re-create and harness the buzz and energy that draws people to them.”

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