Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg among the Top 100 Cities attracting global job seekers

An employee at works with wood while wearing safety gear. l UNSPLASH

An employee at works with wood while wearing safety gear. l UNSPLASH

Published Jun 21, 2024


Moving abroad for work remains a dream for many workers around the world, with 23% of global and 38% of local professionals actively seeking jobs in other countries despite global challenges such as geopolitical tensions, widespread economic concerns, and emerging virtual mobility trend experienced in recent years.

A report, Decoding Global Talent 2024, published by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), The Network, The Stepstone Group, and local partner, CareerJunction, revealed that South Africa ranks 37th in terms of its overall attractiveness to global workers, while Cape Town ranks 44th, Johannesburg 67th and Durban 74th when it comes to desired cities.

The fourth global study on international mobility trends highlighted that individuals from Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana, and Switzerland would like to come to South Africa to work.

The study is based on survey data from more than 150 000 workforce respondents from 188 countries, including South Africa, and is the fourth instalment in a series, the previous editions having been published in 2014, 2018, and 2021.

Jacqueline Foster-Mutungu, managing director and partner at BCG, Johannesburg, said that South Africa continued to offer attractive job opportunities for local professionals and those from the continent and overseas seeking to advance their careers.

“There are some clear reasons why people are choosing to relocate to South Africa, most notably the quality of life and job opportunities, and our family-centric environment,” said Foster-Mutungu.

The 2024 study also revealed that when it comes to South Africans, they prefer to look for work abroad in the US, Australia, UK, Canada, Germany, China, United Arab Emirates, Botswana, New Zealand, and France.

This marks a slight change from the survey done in 2020 that found that people from South Africa were looking to the Netherlands (eighth position in 2020) as a key job destination.

China didn’t feature in the top 100 list of countries that year.

“The biggest reasons highlighted by South African respondents, who are not willing to move overseas is the inability to bring family members or a life partner with them when they relocate (53%) and the cost of relocation (40%),” said Foster-Mutungu.

The top reasons motivating workers to relocate for work include the quality of job opportunities. It was the top decisive factor (65%), with quality of life and climate ranking second (54%), followed by opportunities for citizenship (18%) and health care (15%).

Those opting to relocate to South Africa said they would do so because of the quality of job opportunities (63% of respondents), quality of life (44%), income, tax and cost of living (38%), a family-friendly environment (35%), a welcoming culture and inclusiveness (33%).

Another notable take-home from the study was that South Africans participating in the study were open to working remotely in the country for global organisations.

“Nearly three quarters (73%) of South African respondents have expressed a willingness to work remotely for foreign employers in South Africa, which could present global organisations with access to resources to meet people shortages in important economies,” said Foster-Mutungu.

In conclusion, Sacha Knorr, co-managing director at The Network, said that people did not associate countries with certain generally attributed advantages and choose them on that basis.

“Instead, they opt for the destination region that most closely matches their own personal criteria for their future job choice.

“Companies should take advantage of this, as they can score points here with job offers that match talents (and) expectations,” said Knorr.