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A line worker works on a car at the Ford Motor plant in Oakville, Ont., in this file photo. (Chris Young/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
A line worker works on a car at the Ford Motor plant in Oakville, Ont., in this file photo. (Chris Young/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Canada one of the world’s most popular destinations for job seekers: study Add to ...

Canada is one of the top spots in the world for job seekers who are setting their sights abroad.

The U.S., the U.K. and Canada are the world’s most popular country destinations for job seekers, a Boston Consulting Group global survey of more than 200,000 people released Sunday showed. Among cities, London is the most popular spot, while three Canadian cities crack the top 25 list for most-sought after places: Toronto (#8), Montreal (#21) and Vancouver (#23).

Bigger economies are one reason why job seekers opted for the top three, along with a largely English-speaking population at a time when English is the most frequently taught second language, the paper noted.

“Even among workers in large economies – the so-called G20 – Canada is often one of the most popular destinations,” the study noted, which is based on a survey of 203,756 people, most of whom were skilled workers with post-secondary education.

Other attributes respondents cited for eyeing Canada specifically: safety and security; the great outdoors and a varied climate; a high-quality health-care system and “opportunity to build a stable existence for future generations.” One respondent noted that “the way of life in Canada seems to be a little bit like Switzerland – a great place to live, but not polarizing as much as other countries.”

Canada has particular appeal to workers who live in France, Mexico, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and the U.K., according to the poll, which asked workers what motivates them and which countries they would consider moving to.

Canada is already reliant on immigrants as the key source of its labour force growth and that importance will only increase as the population ages, people retire and birth rates stay low. Over the next 15 years, the consulting group expects many countries will see labour surpluses turn into labour shortages, meaning countries – and employers – will need to compete more aggressively for skilled workers.

The study also looked at Canadian interest in working abroad. Its polled of 3,595 Canadians found that nearly half, or 43 per cent, of job seekers say they’d be willing to leave Canada for work, particularly workers in their twenties.

A dearth of good job opportunities for young people is prompting many to set their sights abroad, it said. “Young Canadians ... are far more willing to work abroad than older compatriots, possibly because of the difficulty many of them have had in getting their careers started in the wake of the financial crisis,” the study noted.

Canada’s youth labour market hasn’t much improved since the recession and with summer employment rates for students little changed since 2009. Last month, the OECD cautioned that “youth are being left out of the economic recovery.”

The most common destination for all Canadian job seekers would like to move to, unsurprisingly, is the U.S. The next most-cited destinations are the U.K., France, Australia, Germany and Switzerland. Italy, New Zealand, Spain and Sweden round out the top ten.

Still, Canadians are less willing to move than citizens of other countries. Worldwide, 64 per cent of respondents said they would move abroad for work, especially those in engineering and technical jobs.

Currently, 12 per cent of Canadians surveyed are already living and working abroad.

“It’s a world in which the geographic barriers to employment are coming down, including in the minds of some of the most talented and highly educated workers,” says Rainer Strack, a BCG senior partner and one of the study’s co-authors.

The poll also looked at what motivated people in the workplace. Money still matters, but other important job factors, for all people, is appreciation for their work, followed by good relationships with colleagues and healthy work-life balance.

The survey, compiled by BCG and The Network, a global group of more than 50 recruitment websites, polled job seekers in 189 countries between April and June, while the study is also based on interviews with about 50 respondents.

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