Six in ten Kenyan professionals are willing to work abroad

Six in ten Kenyan professionals are willing to work abroad

4 weeks ago
6 mins read
  • Fourth global study on international mobility trends by BCG, The Network, The Stepstone Group, and local partner The African Talent Company (TATC) features survey data from more than 150,000 workforce respondents from 188 countries, including Kenya
  • One in four professionals globally and six in ten Kenyan professionals actively seek jobs abroad
  • Australia, the US, Canada, the UK, and Germany round out the top five most desired destination countries globally
  • London, Amsterdam, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and New York rank number one through number five for cities 
  • Cape Town, Abuja, Cairo, Alexandria, Johannesburg, and Durban are the African cities that rank in the top 100 
  • Nearly 70% of Kenyan respondents cite financial and economic reasons to move abroad, while more than 45% cite not being able to bring family or life partners as reasons not to relocate.

NAIROBI, Kenya 19th June 2024-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Despite global challenges such as geopolitical tensions, widespread economic concerns, and emerging virtual mobility trends from the past several years, moving abroad for work remains a dream for many workers around the world, with 23% of global and 60% of local professionals actively seeking jobs in other countries. Younger people and people from countries with fast-growing populations are the most mobile. English-speaking geographies with strong economies lead the list of top destinations, with Australia, the US, Canada, and the UK being the four most desirable countries, while Cape Town, Abuja, Cairo, Alexandria, Johannesburg, and Durban rank in the top 100 cities.

Six in ten Kenyan professionals are willing to work abroad

Kenya ranks 75th in terms of its overall attractiveness to global workers, while people from Uganda, South Africa, Nigeria, Belgium, and Estonia would like to come to Kenya to work.

These are among the findings of a new report published today by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), The Network, The Stepstone Group, and local partner The African Talent Company (TATC). Titled Decoding Global Talent 2024, the study is based on survey data from more than 150,000 workforce respondents from 188 countries, including Kenya, and is the fourth installment in a series, the previous editions having been published in 2014, 2018, and 2021.

Natives of regions with a labour surplus (owing to higher birth rates) tend to be more mobile than those who live in areas where the labour force is shrinking. For instance, 64% of workers in the Middle East and Africa are actively willing to relocate, and more than half of respondents in South Asia (58%) and sub-Saharan Africa (52%) are actively willing to do so. At the other end of the spectrum, much smaller percentages are seen in North America (16%) and Europe (10%).

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

“Africa is home to the workforce of the future, and by 2040, half the world’s young people will live on the continent. There are some clear reasons why people are choosing to relocate to Kenya, most notably, its welcoming culture and inclusivity (50%), quality of job opportunities (49%), quality of life (37%), and a family-friendly environment (34%),” says Zoë Karl-Waithaka, Managing Director and Partner at BCG, Nairobi.

“Labour migration represents a prime opportunity to bridge this gap. We must adapt our job markets to be more versatile, enabling workers to move to where they are most needed and where they can find the best positions for their skills and aspirations.”

The top 10 countries Kenyans prefer to work abroad for are the United States (US), Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom (UK), Germany, United Arab Emirates (UAE), South Africa, Qatar, France and Switzerland.

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The survey results reveal that global talent moves abroad primarily for professional progress, with those willing to do so citing financial and economic reasons (64% of global vs 67% local respondents) and career considerations such as work experience (56% global vs 64% local respondents) as their top reasons for doing so.

For global respondents who listed a specific reason for choosing a particular country, the quality of job opportunities was the top decisive factor (65%), with quality of life and climate ranking second (54%). Other country-specific characteristics such as opportunities for citizenship (18%) and health care (15%) also play a role but are secondary factors.

“The three biggest reasons identified by Kenyan respondents, who are not willing to move overseas are the inability to bring family members or a life partner with them (48%); the cost of relocation (43%) and concerns about personal safety and security (34%),” says Karl-Waithaka.

“People don’t associate countries with certain generally attributed advantages and choose them on that basis,” said Sacha Knorr, co-managing director at The Network. “Instead, they opt for the destination region that most closely matches their own personal criteria for their future job choice. Companies should take advantage of this, as they can score points here with job offers that match talents’ expectations.”

The study also highlights the fact that workers who move abroad expect employers to take the lead in supporting their relocation and onboarding and to cultivate an international, inclusive culture. Nearly eight out of ten respondents globally expect to get help with housing (79%), versus 86% of respondents in Kenya, as well as visa and work permit assistance 78% and 91% of Kenyan respondents. More than half count on relocation support globally (69%) as opposed to 76% of Kenyan respondents.

“Importantly, nearly nine in ten (89%) local respondents have expressed a willingness to work remotely for foreign employers in Kenya, which could present global organisations with access to resources to meet people shortages in important economies,” adds Karl-Waithaka.

“Other countries can be a great source of talent. But establishing a channel of workers from abroad requires employers to fundamentally overhaul how they recruit, relocate, and integrate talent,” said Jens Baier, managing director, senior partner and leader of BCG’s work in HR excellence. “They may have to challenge their own biases and look for talent in markets and regions that they had not previously considered. Governments also play a strong enabling role in this process. They must establish policies, incentives, and frameworks that help employers bring in the talent they need. Employers and nations that tap into such positive energy from the millions of workers with mobile aspirations will gain a major competitive advantage and source of growth.”

Download the publication here.

More insights about the survey here.

Distributed by African Media Agency on behalf of BCG.

Media Contacts:

The Network:

Bojan Divčić

+32 472 19 15 41

The Stepstone Group:

Lea Schröder

Boston Consulting Group:

Paula Youens

About the Survey

BCG, The Network (together with its affiliate organizations), and The Stepstone Group conducted this anonymous, online survey from October through December 2023. All told, 150,735 people in 188 countries participated.

The survey elicited workers’ attitudes on various topics, including their willingness to move abroad for work, the countries they would most like to work in, their reasons for choosing those countries, and their expectations of their future employers in a new country. The data gathered in the survey (including a wide range of information on participants’ demographic and professional backgrounds) made it possible to analyze workers’ attitudes on the basis of multiple parameters.

BCG also conducted follow-up interviews with select study participants around the world—many of whom were interviewed before and have been followed for several years.

About The Network

The Network is a global alliance of more than 70 leading recruitment websites committed to finding the best talent in over 150 countries. Founded in 2002, The Network has become the global leader in online recruitment, serving more than 2,000 global corporations. The recruitment websites in The Network attract almost 200 million unique visitors each month. For more information, please visit

About The Stepstone Group 

The Stepstone Group is a leading global digital recruitment platform that connects companies with the right talent and helps people find the right job. The Stepstone Group connects more than 130 million job applications with around 140,000 employers every year. With its integrated platforms, The Stepstone Group simplifies the candidates job search as well supporting recruiters with AI-powered solutions for the entire recruitment process. In 2023, The Stepstone Group generated revenue of around €1 billion. The Stepstone Group operates in more than 30 countries—including Stepstone in Germany, Appcast in the US, and Totaljobs in the UK. The company is headquartered in Düsseldorf, Germany and employs around 4,000 people worldwide. For more information:

About Boston Consulting Group

Founded in 1963, and with offices in over 50 countries, BCG’s diverse, global team comprising of 30 000 plus people bring deep industry and functional expertise and a range of perspectives that provide clients with management consulting solutions. Through its transformational approach aimed at benefiting all stakeholders, BCG empowers organisations to grow, build sustainable competitive advantage and drive positive societal impact. For more, go to

BCG is well established in Africa, with offices in: Cairo, Casablanca, Johannesburg, Lagos, and Nairobi, bringing together a team of nearly 600 collaborators. For more about BCG in Africa, go to

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Source : African Media Agency (AMA)


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