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blogs / 26 MAY 2021

APAC Rise in Top Work Destination Globally

Racheal Foo

microsoft supplier portal

Singapore, along with other Southeast Asian countries, has been listed in the top 10 work destinations, according to a recent survey. The city-state has surpassed other global cities including New York and Barcelona. The survey was conducted by Boston Consulting Group and The Network and includes 209,000 people in 190 countries. The current top 10 largely includes countries that were most successful in managing the global pandemic.

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A report based on the study, Decoding Global Talent, Onsite and Virtual, reveals the pandemic has had a major impact on attitudes towards working abroad, with Asia Pacific reaping the benefits of comparatively lower global caseloads. Singapore has risen 10 places in global rankings to eighth most attractive location for global talent. This success is echoed across Asia Pacific, with Malaysia, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia, and Japan all seen as increasingly favourable destinations by expatriates.

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* Chart published on

The results of the study also reflected a change in mindset, where the willingness to move abroad has decreased to 50%, down from 64% in 2014 and 57% in 2018. Similarly, Southeast Asia has seen a dramatic shift, with respondents in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines all evidencing significant drops in willingness to move abroad. 95% of respondents in Thailand expressed a willingness to move abroad in 2015, falling to 46% in 2020. Just 44% of respondents in Singapore admitted a willingness to move abroad in the latest report, down from 70% in 2018.

Rise of Virtual Mobility

While there is less willingness to relocate to a foreign country, the survey shows enthusiasm for the model of staying in one’s home country while working for a foreign employer, with 57% of global respondents willing to do this. Indeed, firms are more willing to consider remote work for the future, as shown in Cartus clients’ respond to Virtual Assignment Pulse Survey.

Singapore is Southeast Asia’s most favoured destination for remote employment, and ninth globally, given its superior geographical location and infrastructure. The willingness to work for a foreign company remotely is comparatively lower in Southeast Asia, with 51% of Singaporeans, 53% of Malaysians and 55% of Indonesians willing to do so, compared to a global average of 57%.

Impact on Global Mobility

As remote work becomes mainstream, the role of talent mobility has never been more important as there are inherently more compliance issues in managing remote workforces. The need to embrace this new form of work has become critical so as not to restrict one’s access to global talent pools. It also accelerates organizational needs for digitalization in order to provide optimum IT support for remote workers. Echoing this trend, we have recently introduced our new Distributed Workforce Solutions to support our clients’ needs in meeting compliance and statutory requirements as a result of an increasingly dispersed workforce.

Read Cartus’ latest edition of Relocation Playbook, a resource in collaboration with our clients, outlining the key challenges and best practices in managing global talent mobility as borders re-open including virtual assignments, digitalization and group moves.

Headshot image of Racheal Foo

Racheal Foo

Racheal is the Marketing Communications & Events Manager for APAC. She has more than 15 years of Marketing experience in various service and consumer goods industries. Her current responsibilities include Digital and Content Marketing, and providing support to the APAC offices to deepen client engagement and drive sales prospects.