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Two-thirds of Nigerian professionals are willing to work abroad, the report said

Nearly two-thirds of Nigerian professionals and three-quarters of Ghanaian professionals are willing to work abroad, according to a new report from Boston Consulting Group and The Network.

The report, Decoding Global Talent 2024, surveyed more than 150,000 workers in 188 countries and found that younger professionals and people from fast-growing populations were more likely to seek opportunities abroad.

English-speaking countries with strong economies, such as Australia, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, were the top destinations, with London and New York among the most sought-after cities.

The report states that Nigeria ranks 67th and Ghana 72nd in attractiveness to global workers, while Abuja and Lagos rank 63rd and 103rd respectively in terms of desirable cities.

“The world’s major economies are facing a major challenge: the great shortage of people. This looming gap in the global labor market is mainly due to declining birth rates and the mismatch between job supply and demand,” said Stepstone Group CEO Sebastian Dettmers.

“Labor migration offers an excellent opportunity to bridge this gap. We need to adapt our labor markets to be more versatile, so that workers can move to where they are needed most and where they can find the best positions for their skills and ambitions.”

The top 10 countries where Nigerians prefer to work abroad are Canada, UK, USA, Australia, Germany, UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland and France.

This marks a small change from the 2020 survey which found that people from Nigeria were looking for work in the Netherlands (8th position in 2020), New Zealand (9th position in 2020) and Ireland (10th position in 2020).

The top 10 countries for employment for Ghanaians are Canada, USA, UK, Australia, Germany, UAE, Finland, Netherlands, Switzerland and Belgium.

BCG Managing Director Adwoa Banful said: “West Africa continues to offer attractive employment opportunities for local professionals and for others from the rest of the continent and beyond, who want to advance their careers.

“There are some clear reasons why people choose to move to Nigeria and Ghana, particularly the quality of employment opportunities and the region’s welcoming culture and family-oriented environment.”

According to the report, global talent moves abroad primarily for professional advancement, with those willing to do so citing financial and economic reasons (64 percent of global, 60 percent of Nigerian and 69 percent of Ghanaian respondents).

Also, career considerations such as work experience (56 percent of global, 69 percent of Nigerian and 73 percent of Ghanaian respondents), a better overall quality of life (55 percent of global, 51 percent of Nigerian and 57 percent of respondents) of the Ghanaian respondents) and a concrete job offer (54 percent of global, 51 percent of Nigerian and 50 percent of Ghanaian respondents) were their main reasons for doing so.

Nigerian respondents also cited better education and training opportunities (64 percent versus 37 percent of global respondents) and more interesting or challenging work (63 percent versus 48 percent of global respondents) as top reasons for moving.

The same goes for Ghanaian respondents who would move for better education and training opportunities (70 percent) and more interesting or challenging work (68 percent).

“For global respondents who cited a specific reason for choosing a particular country, quality of employment was the top deciding factor (65 percent), while quality of life and climate came in second (54 percent).

“Other country-specific characteristics, such as citizenship opportunities (18 percent) and health care (15 percent) also play a role, but are secondary factors,” the report points out.

Reasons for moving to Nigeria highlighted by respondents include quality of employment (52 percent of respondents), a family-friendly environment (40 percent) and a welcoming culture and inclusivity (34 percent).

Reasons for choosing Ghana include the quality of employment (48 percent of respondents), a welcoming culture and inclusivity (40 percent) and safety, stability and security (38 percent).

“The biggest reasons cited by Nigerian and Ghanaian respondents for not being willing to move abroad are the inability to take family members or a life partner with them when they move (43 percent and 50 percent respectively) and the cost of relocation (39 percent and 36 percent respectively),” said Banful.

Co-managing Director at The Network, Sacha Knorr, said: “People don’t associate countries with certain commonly attributed benefits and choose them on that basis.

“Instead, they choose the destination region that best matches their criteria for their future job choice. Companies should take advantage of this, because they can score points here with vacancies that match the expectations of talent.”