U.S. Is Top Destination for Job Seekers Worldwide

By Roy Maurer Dec 21, 2016
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The largest number of job seekers looking for opportunities outside their home country search for jobs in the United States, according to data from Indeed, the world's largest job search site.

Overall, almost one-third (29.6 percent) of international job seekers using the Indeed site between April and August sought jobs in the U.S., more than double the total of second-place United Kingdom (12.7 percent), and triple that of third-place Canada (9.5 percent).

"U.S. recruiters who can hire from overseas are definitely in a good position when compared to other countries," said Indeed economist Daniel Culbertson. "Of course, countries have different rules and restrictions around hiring noncitizens. But if talent acquisition teams in the U.S. are open and able to hire from overseas, they may often have a leg up on other countries in finding the talent they need and then enticing them to make what can be a life-changing move."

U.S.-based employment ranked as the first choice for job seekers in 31 out of 49 countries with mature Indeed markets. Indeed is in 63 countries overall. A total of 200 million unique visitors look for work on Indeed each month, according to the company, and an average of 4.5 percent of job searches conducted during the surveyed period were for outside the job seeker's country.

[SHRM members-only how-to guide: How to Target Passive Job Seekers]

After Canada, there was a steep drop-off in the amount of interest any country received from global job seekers. No country below third place attracted more than 5 percent of all global job searches, although Switzerland (4.5 percent) came closest, followed by fifth place Germany (4.16 percent). After the Netherlands in 12th place, no country attracted more than 2 percent of global job searches.

Venezuela—in the throes of an economic crisis—attracted the least interest from foreign job seekers out of the 49 countries studied (0.04 percent).

The majority of cross-border searches for U.S. jobs originated in nearby Canada, a finding reciprocated by job seekers based in the U.S. looking for work abroad, who were most likely to search for positions in Canada.

"It's important to note, however, that overseas job hunters are competing with a lot of local U.S. job seekers," Culbertson said. In general, U.S.-based job seekers prefer to search within the country's borders, with only 1.4 percent looking for work in other countries. "Only Japan has fewer people looking outside its borders for work, with the U.S. and Russia following closely behind." 

The field that attracts the greatest interest from international job seekers searching for jobs in the U.S. is the technology industry.

In fact, 8.3 percent of all searches for "Java" in the U.S. originate overseas, while "network engineer" is searched by 7.3 percent of foreign job seekers. Searches for "quality assurance analyst" (5.4 percent) and "quality assurance tester" (5.3 percent) also ranked highly.

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