The Top 10 Countries to Work Abroad in 2021

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Dream of one day working abroad? Unfortunately for the Philippines, you are one of many. According to Boston Consulting Group’s (BCG) latest report on international trends in working abroad and at home, 66 percent of over 5,000 Philippine respondents are willing to move abroad for work. That’s down from the 75 percent who wished to work abroad in the 2018 survey, however, two-thirds is still a notable fraction.

At 66 percent, the Philippines is the top-ranking Asia Pacific country in terms of the willingness of respondents to work abroad. Meanwhile, less than half of respondents from our neighbors Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia would be willing to leave their country for work. Respondents from Sudan, the U.A.E., Qatar, Tunisia, and Brazil topped the list with over 90 percent wanting to move and work abroad.  

Of the report’s 200,000 respondents, 50.04 percent said they are willing to work abroad, which is down from 57.1 percent in 2018 due to COVID-19 fears. Still, there is demand to work abroad, especially from emerging markets where citizens see foreign work as a way to raise their standard of living.

Top International Work Locations

So where is the most favored work destination abroad? Canada.

After reigning as the top work destination for years, the U.S. was bumped down to second place to make way for Canada, a country that’s managed to contain the pandemic far more effectively than its North American neighbor. After the U.S. and Canada, Australia, Germany, and the U.K. follow. Japan and Singapore are also popular work destinations, as are Switzerland, France, and unsurprisingly, New Zealand.


Whether highly educated or less educated, respondents from around the world saw Canada as a more appealing work location than the U.S. But if we zoom into the preferences of respondents from the Asia Pacific region, the top three work locations were Australia, Japan, and Singapore. Canada came in fourth, still beating the U.S. in the eyes of East Asian respondents.

Aside from countries, the BCG also asked respondents what their dream city to work in was, and London topped the list, followed by Amsterdam, Dubai, Berlin, and Abu Dhabi.

Photo by Boston Consulting Group.

Top International Remote Work Countries

Given how 2020 boosted remote work around the world, the BCG was also able to ask respondents a new question: Would you be willing to work remotely for a company with no presence in your own country? For example, working for an American company even though you’re based in Thailand.

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While the global average of respondents was just under 57 percent, 75 percent of Filipinos are willing to work for foreign clients or companies, making the Philippines the most willing Asian country on the list. As for the destination of international remote employment, the U.S. came in first place, followed by Australia, Canada, Germany, and Spain.

Oddly enough, despite the 25 percent of respondents willing to work for a U.S. company, only 20 percent would be willing to actually live in the U.S. to work.  

Photo by Boston Consulting Group.

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Anri Ichimura
Section Editor, Esquire Philippines
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