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The Global Workforce Is Increasingly Mobile: Survey Finds

February 15, 2017

A survey of job seekers around the world who found new work in 2015 reveals that 64 percent were interested in working abroad, while 7 percent had already moved to a different country to work. Some 76 percent expressed interest in working on a freelance basis, including 23 percent who were already doing so.

These findings, in a report jointly produced by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Recruit Works Institute for the second year running, highlight the growing flexibility of labour forces around the world, now more willing than ever to move abroad or juggle multiple jobs. The report, Job Seeker Trends 2016: Increasing Global Mobility, recently released , speaks of how critical it is for companies seeking to enhance talent competitiveness to be able to attract candidates effectively, not only within their own country, but from other countries as well.

The report reviews findings from one of the largest global job-seeker perception surveys, a survey that includes responses from over 13,000 job seekers from 13 countries, delivering a global view of the job search process today.

The data presented in the report will aid government agencies, human-resource-related companies, recruiters, and job seekers in assessing the evolving state of the job search market and making informed job search and hiring decisions.

The Growing Flexibility of the Labour Force

As the economy has globalized over the past 20 years, the movement of labour forces beyond their home nations’ borders has accelerated. The advance of broadband and new digital technologies has made it much easier for an individual to hold freelance and additional jobs than it was even ten years ago.

When survey respondents already working as freelancers were asked about their current primary style of working, only 32 percent answered that freelance, self-employment, or company proprietor was their main employment. To the contrary, 68 percent said their main style of working was as an employee of a company, revealing that the majority had an additional job that earned them a regular salary.

See: Rapidly Ageing Workforce and Global Talent Crunch: How Can HR Managers Deal With Uncertainties?

This increasing workforce flexibility poses both opportunities and challenges for companies looking to hire. It offers alternative sources and methods for acquiring talent, and brings out new possibilities for sharing top talent through the freelance model. Yet it requires companies to be more flexible as they look to hire scarce resources—adjusting their offerings in response to job seekers’ changing needs.

National and local governments, too, should pay attention to these trends when formulating their hiring strategies. This includes taking social issues into account that may arise naturally due to immigration.

Internet Remains Leading Job Search Channel

The report also finds that the Internet is taking on greater importance in the search for jobs. In fact, job seekers who do not use the Internet at all are now the minority.

Although results vary across countries and age groups, 44 percent of job seekers now believe the internet—including both internet job sites and social networking sites (SNS)—to be the most effective and important means of finding new work.

In the increasingly competitive market for human resources, therefore, developing an environment in which it is easier for freelancers to work is likely to become an important issue in acquiring top talent in a flexible and efficient manner.

Also read: Inadequate Data on Workforce Mobility Plagues Organisations Globally to Deploy HR Strategies

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