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Labor Mobility and Globalization: The World Is Now Your Workplace

Careers, International Work, Labor Mobility...

When you think of your employment and career opportunities, do you consider employers within your town or city?  If you are like many people, you have an idea of how far you are willing to commute, but consider most potential career options to be local.

At reesmarx, we match qualified candidates to exciting, forward thinking employers around the world.  If you have considered an international career opportunity, you are not the exception to the rule, but part of a growing new trend of migratory professionals around the globe.  We are pleased to share some interesting facts that may inspire you to take your career international.

Labor Mobility in the EU

Approximately 4% of European workers, or roughly 7 million career and skilled trade laborers are working in a different EU country than their birth.  According to a report by the European Commission in 2013, approximately 78% of employment aged individuals who had moved for employment purposes were gainfully, or successfully employed full-time.

The migratory trend for career professionals and trade workers has changed dramatically, with more workers from the EU seeking employment in countries like Austria, Belgium and the Nordic.   One of the biggest contributors to an increase in labor migration in Europe is the Eurozone crisis, which first started in 2009.  With economic volatility in some countries, residents became motivated to seek employment in countries that were not as impacted by national debt and other industrial factors.

Approximately 41% of the migratory labor market in Europe is between the ages of fifteen to twenty-nine years.  Within that group, almost half of the skilled workers have acquired post-secondary or tertiary education and credentials.   From 2004 to 2008, less than thirty-percent of workers had completed higher education.

The proximity of regions with higher demand for qualified workers remains an advantage for young European professionals, and while the data suggests the labor mobility trend is continuing to grow in the EU, when it comes to moving for career opportunities, the United States is by far more migratory intercontinentally.

For interesting data, read the 2015 report “Managing Labour Mobility: A Missing Pillar of Global Governance”, by José Antonio Alonso, professor of Applied Economics at the Complutense University (Madrid) and member of the UN Committee for Development Policy.

American Professionals are Mobile

Americans are more likely to move out of state or across the country for a job opportunity than professionals in other countries.  In 2016, the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) reported that the number of Americans voluntarily leaving their jobs (to pursue new career opportunities) was higher than it had been in nine years.   Approximately 3.1 million Americans voluntarily left their employers in December, 2015.

What this demonstrates is the level of confidence that employees in the United States have in the wealth of career opportunities in North America.   In fact, job growth is so steady in the United States that turnover has become an issue, while employers attempt to recruit and retain staff in a seller’s market. Small businesses are feeling the brunt of the labor demand, which is also putting pressure on the hourly and salary wage for American workers.  If employers wish to retain talent, wage is often adjusted to slow turnover.

Part of the reason for American labor mobility has to do with the volume of businesses, corporations and career opportunities available.  While moving from one coast to the other might seem a drastic change for Europeans linguistically and culturally, for the American professional, the culture is consistent.  America is America, whether you live on the east coast, west coast, or somewhere in the middle.  The diversities between states are not as culturally or economically pronounced, as they can be in the EU.

Professionals in the United States are more likely to move for a career opportunity domestically, as well as internationally.  Demand for US executives remains strong throughout the world, and an American MBA is a respected benchmark recognized globally in business.

Why is Labor Mobility a Positive Thing?

Economic protectionism (the desire to preserve employment for nationals) and migration law have often overshadowed the tremendous benefit that labor mobility offers to both the country of origin and the destination.

Emigration helps to balance inequities, when there are too many people and not enough career or labor opportunities.   When skilled professionals leave for another country, they are helping to ease the burden of unemployment.  Consequently, migrant professionals (who always aim for more affluent and robust economies) help by filling valuable roles, where employer demand exceeds the supply for qualified personnel.  It is quite literally a win/win.