The Top 20 Countries Where Professionals Are Moving For Work Based on LinkedIn Data

August 11, 2015

It’s not everyday that professionals decide to leave their country to pursue a new opportunity, but understanding more about those that do can tell us a lot about the health and vibrancy of our increasingly global economy. By analyzing the changes LinkedIn members made to their profiles in 2014, we uncovered geographic migration trends, ebbs and flows of professional talent if you will, that span the globe.

We determined the top 20 countries that saw the most migration activity (the absolute number of members moving in and out of a country) and ranked them by their net migration (the number of members arriving to a country minus the number of member departing a country) as a percentage of country membership. The results tell us which countries in 2014 had the most professional migrants in 2014 and the general direction in which they moved - potential indications of economic performance through 2015.

We ran a similar analysis last year that looked at migration trends in 2013, and found the results to be comparable in some instances. For example, the United Arab Emirates trend of growth due to migration continues, with +1.89% more members arriving versus departing in 2014. India and Ireland flip-flopped compared to what we saw last year. Ireland saw a modest net gain of +0.18% in 2014 compared to -0.1% loss in 2013. Conversely, India saw a significant -0.23% loss in 2014 compared to a strong +0.5% gain in 2013.

The United Arab Emirates and India bookend our results in net gains and losses respectively and are in fact very closely linked. India was the top country of origin among members who moved to the United Arab Emirates in 2014. Let’s take a closer look at industries, occupations, and regions involved in the migration trends for these two countries.

United Arab Emirates (net gain, +1.89% of country membership)

  • Where they came from: 28% of all members who moved to the United Arab Emirates in 2014 came from India - the top originating country, as mentioned above. The United Kingdom, Pakistan, United States, and Qatar round out the top 5. Interestingly, all other Gulf nations combined make up only 11% of members who moved to the United Arab Emirates.
  • Where they work: The majority of members who moved to the United Arab Emirates in 2014 worked for professional services, technology, financial services, and engineering firms.
  • What they do: The most common occupations among members moving to the United Arab Emirates in 2014 were salespeople, marketing specialists, project managers, corporate finance specialists, accountants, consultants, and mechanical engineers.

India (net loss, -0.23% of country membership)

  • Where they moved to: Nearly 40% of members who left India moved to the United States. The United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada round out the top five, combined representing another 30% of members who left India.
  • Where they work: Technology was the overwhelming driver for members leaving India. Nearly half of all members leaving India in 2014 worked for technology firms.
  • What they do: As a result, software engineers, consultants, project managers, salespeople, and graduate research assistants made up more than a quarter of all members who left India in 2014.

As noted above, Ireland saw a modest net influx of members in 2014, compared to a net outflow in 2013. Below are the distinguishing characteristics of members who moved to Ireland in 2014.

Ireland (net gain, +0.18% of country membership)

  • Where they came from: While it shouldn’t be too surprising that the most common country of origin is the United Kingdom (accounting for 20% of members moving to Ireland), the next most common originating countries (accounting for 30%, combined) were the United States, Brazil, Spain, and Australia.
  • Where they work: A third of the members moving to Ireland in 2014 worked in the technology industry, while professional services, financial services, government, education, and nonprofits combined to account for an additional 33%.
  • What they do: Salespeople, software developers, marketing specialists, customer service specialists, and IT support specialist made up just under 25% of members who moved to Ireland.

Interestingly, my colleague Lindsay Brady recently took at look at Ireland, the UK, the Netherlands, and the UAE to determine which of the countries, and which of the job functions and industries in each of those countries, is winning and losing the most talent. She published a post detailing her findings, which you can read here.

As we continue to build the Economic Graph, we’ll be keeping a close eye on migration trends across the world as they signal the creation of economic opportunity. Knowing how our own careers, companies and countries fit into the ever-shifting global economy can be a source of individual empowerment.

Methodological details: The results of this analysis represent the world seen through the lens of LinkedIn data. As such, it is influenced by how members choose to use the site, which can vary based on professional, social, and regional culture, as well as overall site availability and accessibility. These variances were not accounted for in the analysis. Additionally, nationality and visa status are not fields included in the LinkedIn profile. Therefore, we cannot make any inferences on the citizenship of our members who were included in this analysis.

We determined the geographic movements of our members in 2014 by analyzing every new position that was added to profiles between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2014 which included a location that differed from the location in the previous position, filtering out movements that were made domestically. Members who joined LinkedIn after December 31, 2014 were excluded from the analysis.

Unlike 2013, we included China in our 2014 rankings, which caused a shuffling in our top 20 countries. As a result, Nigeria and Sweden dropped out of our top 20 countries, while Belgium moved up.