Singapore is the Most Preferred Asian Work Destination (No. 8 Globally)

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The recent Global Talent Report 2024 by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), The Network, of which Jobstreet by SEEK is part of, and The Stepstone Group reviewed some interesting data about Singapore’s attractiveness as a work destination.

Despite global challenges such as geopolitical tensions, widespread economic concerns, and emerging virtual mobility trends, the prospect of moving abroad for work remains a dream for many professionals around the world, with 23 percent actively seeking jobs in other countries, and 63 percent expressing an overall willingness to do so.

Among these folks, English-speaking geographies with strong economies top the list of desired destinations, with Australia, the US, Canada, and the UK being the four most desirable countries. Singapore comes in eighth place, maintaining its rank in the list of top 10 most desirable destinations to work since 2020.

In terms of cities, London tops the list of most desirable cities worldwide, while New York and Singapore secures the fifth and seventh spot, respectively. Of note, Singapore even surpasses Tokyo and emerges as the top Asian city that most respondents would consider moving to for work.

“Employers in Singapore must strive to attract and retain both local and foreign talent, as we could expect talent shortages in the future with the country’s small and ageing population. With Singapore being a popular destination for the global workforce, local employers are already well-positioned to do so, and Jobstreet is committed to helping them enhance their workforce further. Our new platform allows employers to tap into a vast pool of talent across eight Asia Pacific markets, facilitating relevant connections with highly skilled professionals from neighbouring countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, and Hong Kong,” says Chew Siew Mee, Managing Director, Singapore, Jobstreet by SEEK.

The Decoding Global Talent 2024 report tabulated survey data from more than 150,000 workforce respondents from 188 countries.

Decoding Global Talent 2024 Summary
The survey results at a glance.

Singapore Attracts With Quality of Job Opportunities and Social Stability

Apart from choice of destinations, the survey also reveals the reasons for the desire and willingness to work overseas.

Global talent moves abroad primarily for professional advancement with those willing to do so citing financial and economic reasons (64 percent of respondents) and career considerations such as work experience (56 percent) as their top motivators.



For Singapore, most people are willing to relocate to the Lion City because of the abundance of quality job opportunities. This attractiveness is further bolstered by the country’s overall quality of life, alongside factors such as the cost of living and reputation for safety, stability, and security.

Most talent who wish to move to Singapore are from neighbouring countries including Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Hong Kong. In fact, nearly one in three (30 percent) Malaysian respondents prefer Singapore as a working destination. Despite the distance, talent from countries with large populations such as China and India also expressed a strong interest in Singapore.

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Talent who are willing to move to Singapore mostly seek job opportunities in Marketing and Media, too, as well as the Digital, Data Science, and AI industries. Meanwhile, highly-skilled professions like Business Management, Engineering as well as Research and Laboratory are increasingly drawing the attention of international talent as they will have greater opportunities to explore these roles in Singapore.

Where Do Singaporeans Wish To Work At?

On the flip side, 64 percent of Singapore respondents expressed a willingness to pursue opportunities abroad, especially in Australia, followed by other high-tech and mature economies such as China and Japan. This implies three in five Singaporeans are willing to move abroad for work.

Out of this group of respondents who are willing to move, young Singaporeans are more likely to be mobile (72 percent), a figure that’s similar to the SEA region (70 percent) and the global average (73 percent). However, it’s worth noting that most Singaporeans aspiring to work overseas prefer short-term assignments, and that they intend to return home after achieving their goals overseas.

Employees’ Expectations

The study highlights that workers who move abroad expect employers to take the lead in supporting their relocation and onboarding to cultivate an international, inclusive culture. Nearly eight out of 10 respondents expect to receive help with housing (79 percent) as well as visa and work permit assistance (78 percent), and more than half count on relocation support (69 percent), and language support and training (54 percent).

As for Singaporeans, those eager to work abroad expressed the need for considerable support from their future employers in the areas of housing assistance (84 percent), relocation (81 percent), and visa and work permit assistance (77 percent) to ease the challenge of adapting to a new culture overseas.

“Other countries can be a great source of talent. But establishing a channel of workers from abroad requires employers to fundamentally overhaul how they recruit, relocate, and integrate talent,” said Jens Baier, managing director, senior partner, and leader of BCG’s work in HR excellence.



“They may have to challenge their own biases and look for talent in markets and regions that they had not previously considered. Governments also play a strong enabling role in this process. They must establish policies, incentives, and frameworks that help employers bring in the talent they need. Employers and nations that tap into such positive energy from the millions of workers with mobile aspirations will gain a major competitive advantage and source of growth.”

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Singapore is the Most Preferred Asian Work Destination
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Singapore is the Most Preferred Asian Work Destination
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Singapore ranks eighth on the list of the top 10 most desirable work destinations worldwide. Within Asia, it is the highest-ranking country.
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