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Six In Ten Kenyan Professionals Are Willing To Work Abroad

DESPITE geopolitical tensions, economic concerns, and emerging virtual mobility trends, the dream of moving abroad for work remains strong among workers worldwide. A new report reveals that 23 percent of global and 60 percent of local professionals are actively seeking jobs in other countries. Younger individuals and those from fast-growing populations are the most mobile, with English-speaking countries like Australia, the US, Canada, and the UK being the top destinations. In Africa, Cape Town, Abuja, Cairo, Alexandria, Johannesburg, and Durban are among the top 100 cities.

Kenya ranks 75th in overall attractiveness to global workers, attracting interest from professionals in Uganda, South Africa, Nigeria, Belgium, and Estonia.


Published today by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), The Network, The Stepstone Group, and The African Talent Company (TATC), the Decoding Global Talent 2024 report is based on survey data from over 150,000 respondents from 188 countries, including Kenya. This fourth instalment follows previous editions from 2014, 2018, and 2021.

Regions with labour surpluses, like the Middle East and Africa, show high mobility, with 64 percent of workers willing to relocate. In contrast, North America and Europe report much lower figures, at 16 percent and 10 percent respectively.

‘The world’s major economies are facing a great people shortage due to declining birth rates and job market mismatches,’ said The Stepstone Group CEO Sebastian Dettmers. ‘Africa is home to the workforce of the future, with half the world’s young people expected to live on the continent by 2040.’

Zoë Karl-Waithaka, Managing Director and Partner at BCG, Nairobi, added, ‘Kenya attracts global workers due to its welcoming culture, job opportunities, quality of life, and family-friendly environment.’

The top destinations for Kenyans seeking work abroad include the US, Canada, Australia, the UK, Germany, UAE, South Africa, Qatar, France, and Switzerland.

Professional progress drives global talent mobility, with financial reasons and career advancement as primary motivations. Quality of job opportunities and quality of life are decisive factors for choosing a country, while citizenship opportunities and healthcare are secondary considerations.

For Kenyans unwilling to move abroad, family concerns, relocation costs, and personal safety are major deterrents. Companies must support relocation efforts, with nearly 80 percent of global and 86 percent of Kenyan respondents expecting housing assistance, and a significant majority seeking help with visas and work permits.

Interestingly, 89 percent of local respondents are willing to work remotely for foreign employers, presenting an opportunity for global organisations to address labour shortages.

‘Employers need to rethink how they recruit, relocate, and integrate talent,’ said Jens Baier, BCG’s HR excellence leader. ‘Governments also need to establish supportive policies and frameworks. Those who harness this mobile talent will gain a significant competitive edge.’

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