Boston Consulting Group: Top 10 countries to work in

21 October 2014

The US is the most attractive country for expats to move to, followed by the UK and Canada, concludes a report by The Boston Consulting Group and The Network. The research also shows that people living in the US and UK are the least eager to work abroad.

With the number of expats growing, The Boston Consulting Group and online recruitment specialist The Network researched the mobility and employment preferences of more than 200,000 job seekers in 189 countries and listed their results in the ‘Decoding Global Talent’ report. The vast majority of the participants live in Europe and the Americas, with the largest percentages coming from Germany, followed by Mexico, and the US.

Breakdown of survey participants

The research reveals that almost two thirds of the respondents (63.8%) is willing to move to a foreign country and to work abroad. The UK is found in the list of countries with people the least eager to move abroad, the same holds true for the US, which can partially be explained by the fact that London and New York are the most appealing cities for expats, with Paris closing the top 3. France fis placed on the other side of the spectrum with a percentage of more than 90% willing to move abroad. Although the percentage of people willing to become an expat is particularly high in countries that are still developing economically or experiencing political instability, also the Netherlands and Australia face a high willigness to move abroad.

Willingness to work abroad

Looking at the preferred locations for expats to start their new career, the US comes out on top with almost 42%, followed by the UK with 37%, and Canada with 35%. Not very surprising, according to BCG, as English is the most frequently taught second language. Germany is the highest ranked non-English speaking country, followed by Switzerland, both German speaking countries. The rest of the top 10 is formed by European countries, with the exception of Australia that is found on #7 with 28%.

Top 10 countries to work in

The US has a strong appeal for workers in impoverished nations, such as Nigeria, Ghana, Nicaragua, and Honduras. Looking at G20 countries, the US is popular among Mexicans, the UK, France, India, and China. Of which the latter three are also positively disposed toward the UK, African workers are also willing to move to the UK as they see it as a country of opportunity. Looking at Canada that is still bilingual with French alongside English, 59% of the French stated they would consider working in the country. Canada is also found attractive by Mexicans, Saudi Arabians, and Britons.


Why leaders must balance technical expertise with soft skills

17 April 2019

Soft skills matter in the workplace just as much as technical expertise, writes Samantha Caine, Managing Director of Business Linked Teams.

For too long technical expertise has been seen as the marker of a strong candidate for development into a sales or leadership position. Sales and leadership candidates are tasked with demonstrating a diverse and wide-ranging set of technical skills, yet their aptitude in these technical skills or ‘hard skills’ cannot signify great leadership potential. This is why a healthy balance of soft skills and technical ability is required. 

So what exactly is the difference between technical skills and soft skills? In engineering, it’s crucial to demonstrate knowledge of physics as well as a strong grasp on mathematical equations. Yet, in any industry, it’s important for leaders to be able to interact with other people effectively with soft skills like communication, empathy and adaptability. 

Business Linked Team’s 2018 study into internal leadership development revealed that 69% of large organisations are prioritising the identification and development of future leaders from within the workforce. As more and more organisations begin to invest in sales or leadership development within their existing workforces, more focus needs to be placed on ensuring the right soft skills are in place. 

With those soft skills in place throughout the workforce, the business will benefit from a wider pool of potential leaders developing under their noses, and it should be the same where sales candidates are concerned. 

It’s not just about easier access to ideal candidates for these positions without the rigmarole of recruiting from outside of the organisation. The leadership development study also found that 89% of HR decision makers say succession planning has become a top priority. Those currently serving in leadership positions can’t lead forever and the same goes for those generating sales for the business.

Why leaders must balance technical expertise with soft skills

From people leaving for new opportunities or retirement, to people simply stepping aside to focus on other areas of the business, successful leaders and salespeople require experienced and capable successors that will be ready and able to confidently step into their shoes and pick up the mantle without the business experiencing any lapse in performance.

Soft skills make stronger candidates

When it comes to the soft skills required, a strong leader must be able to manage through clear communication and effective time management, coaching and goal setting. They must be able to demonstrate empathy and empower their teams to be successful, productive and fully engaged. And beyond simply giving direction, they must also be able to take direction from those above them and cascade the business strategy down through their teams. 

A strong sales candidate must possess the ability to communicate value to the customer, negotiate well and protect margin or the ability to increase the scope of a particular sales opportunity. 

With the relevant soft skills in place, the business will benefit from increased productivity, greater agility against changing market conditions and greater transparency. In turn, this will provide visibility on issues and inefficiencies while removing opportunity for miscommunication. All of this can transform the culture of a department, improving employee satisfaction and reducing staff turnover. 

Ultimately, developing leadership or sales candidates will require the business to strike the right balance between technical skills and soft skills, and this requires an effective and sustained learning journey.

A balanced learning journey

Facilitating and supporting the development of leadership and sales is best achieved by establishing training groups. By cultivating training groups, businesses are creating talent pools that will inspire and support each other on the learning journey. However, personal goals and learning objectives must be defined for each individual based on their own existing skillsets and the skills that each individual needs to develop. 

With the emergence of e-learning, businesses recognise the value of online-based learning activities, yet many make the mistake of opting for one-size-fits-all solutions which are solely focused on self-study. A development solution will only deliver true return on investment if it combines e-learning activities with group learning activities that provide opportunity for shared experiences and support.

A blended learning solution that combines self-study and face-to-face group learning activities will aid strong development of the talent pool through shared experiences. Through these shared experiences, those undergoing the training will organically develop a support network that supports the development of the group as much as it supports the development of each individual. 

The blended learning approach is supported by one of the seven principles of human learning that socially supported interactions aid the individual development of expertise, metacognitive skills, and formation of the learner’s sense of self. The strongest opportunities for development can be unlocked by blending workshops with online activities such as virtual sessions, peer coaching, self-study, online games and business simulations. But it’s crucial to provide a blend of one-to-one and group sessions too.

Beyond delivering a better learning outcome for the employee, the blended learning approach allows organisations to adapt their training quickly and easily to shifting business demands in an ever-changing landscape.