- Canada placed ahead of the U.S. as the top destination for workers in a global survey by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), the firm said in a recently published report. In the three iterations of the survey published by BCG, covering the years 2014, 2018 and 2020, this is the first in which the U.S. did not take first place.
- BCG identified several factors behind the shift, including the U.S.'s "inconsistent pandemic response, the adoption of more nationalistic policies, and social unrest," while also noting strides made by Canada as well as Australia. Canada is a particularly strong choice for respondents with either a master's degree or PhD; those with digital training or expertise; and those younger than age 30, BCG said. The firm surveyed more than 208,000 people in 190 countries in conjunction with recruiting company The Network.
- Overall, the proportion of workers who were willing to move to another country for work declined from 57% in 2018 to 50% in 2020. Travel restrictions "clearly had an impact on people's attitudes," BCG said, but remote work may also be a factor as it can allow foreign employers to hire applicants without requiring them to work in a company office or relocate.
In recent years, Canada has been viewed by HR industry observers as a key competitor with the U.S. in attracting both talent and organizations, largely due to immigration-related reasons. Inability to secure work authorization for highly skilled talent was a "primary driver" for employer's decisions to expand to new geographies, according to a 2020 Envoy Global report. The same report found 74% of employers considered Canada's immigration policy to be more favorable than that of the U.S.
H-1B visas are a point of contention in the employment space. Employer demand typically exceeds the federal government's cap on the visas. The Trump administration also attempted to make changes to the Department of Homeland Security's process for selecting H-1B visas, including a final rule that would have shifted selection from a lottery-based selection process to one that utilized a "wage level ranking" system, but the Biden administration delayed the rule.
While President Joe Biden aims to expand the number of employment-based green cards issued by the U.S., the current administration is dealing with competing interests on H-1B visas, which have drawn opposition from organized labor groups, Bloomberg reported in February.
Moving to other countries is not always a simple prospect for employers, either. Sources previously told HR Dive that organizations must also account for local labor laws as well as differences in business structure and office setups.
The ability to work remotely may also open opportunities for those who wish to work for an employer in another country. More than half of the respondents to the BCG survey said they were willing to work remotely for an employer that doesn't have a physical presence in their home country.