The Global Workforce Is Increasingly Mobile

Feb. 02, 2017
Recruit Holdings Co., Ltd.

Some 64% of Job Seekers Worldwide Are Interested in Working Abroad, While 76% Are Interested in Working as Freelancers, Says a New Report from The Boston Consulting Group and Recruit Works Institute

TOKYO, February 2, 2017--A survey of job seekers around the world who found new work in 2015 reveals that 64% were interested in working abroad, while 7% had already moved to a different country to work. Some 76% expressed an interest in working on a freelance basis, including 23% who were already doing so. These findings, from a report jointly produced by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Recruit Works Institute for the second year running, highlight the growing flexibility of labor forces around the world, now more willing than ever to move abroad or juggle multiple jobs, as well as how critical it is for companies seeking to enhance their competitiveness to be able to attract talent effectively, not only from within their own country, but from other countries. The report, Job Seeker Trends 2016: Increasing Global Mobility, is being released today.

The report reviews findings from one of the largest global job-seeker perception surveys, a survey that includes responses from over 13,000 job seekers from 13 countries, delivering a global view of the job search process today. The data presented in the report will aid government agencies, human-resource-related companies, recruiters, and job seekers themselves in assessing the evolving state of the job search market and making informed job search and hiring decisions.

The Growing Flexibility of the Labor Force

As the economy has globalized over the past 20 years, the movement of labor forces beyond their home nations' borders has accelerated. The advance of broadband and new digital technologies has made it much easier for an individual to hold freelance and additional jobs than it was even ten years ago.

When survey respondents already working as freelancers were asked about their current primary style of working, only 32% answered that freelance, self-employment, or company proprietor was their main employment. To the contrary, 68% said their main style of working was as an employee of a company, revealing that the majority had an additional job that earned them a regular salary.

This increasing workforce flexibility poses both opportunities and challenges for companies looking to hire. It offers alternative sources and methods for acquiring talent, and brings out new possibilities for sharing top talent through the freelance model. Yet it requires companies to be more flexible as they look to hire scarce resources--adjusting their offerings in response to job seekers' changing needs. National and local governments, too, should pay attention to these trends when formulating their hiring strategies. This includes taking social issues into account that may arise naturally due to immigration.

Internet Remains Leading Job Search Channel

The report also finds that the internet is taking on greater importance in the search for jobs. In fact, job seekers who do not use the internet at all are now the minority. Although results vary across countries and age groups, 44% of job seekers now believe the internet--including both internet job sites and social networking sites (SNS)--to be the most effective and important means of finding new work.

A copy of the report can be downloaded at:

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About Recruit Holdings

Founded in 1960, Recruit Holdings is a leading information services and human resources company in Japan. Through a wide range of services, the Recruit Group is focused on a variety of areas, including recruitment advertisement, employment placement, staffing, education, housing and real estate, bridal, travel, dining, beauty, automobiles, and others. The Recruit Group has more than 38,000 employees and operates all over the world. For more information, please visit the company's website at

About Recruit Works Institute

Recruit Works Institute is the research division of Recruit Holdings, which presents new concepts for people and organizations. With the mission of "building a global stage that allows each individual to work to their full potential," the institute conducts surveys and research and publishes reports on labor markets, policies, careers, and more, from a variety of angles. For more information, please visit

About The Boston Consulting Group

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is a global management consulting firm and the world's leading advisor on business strategy. We partner with clients from the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors in all regions to identify their highest-value opportunities, address their most critical challenges, and transform their enterprises. Our customized approach combines deep insight into the dynamics of companies and markets with close collaboration at all levels of the client organization. This ensures that our clients achieve sustainable competitive advantage, build more capable organizations, and secure lasting results. Founded in 1963, BCG is a private company with 85 offices in 48 countries. For more information, please visit

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