Here are the Top Countries Talent Is Flocking to (and the Ones It’s Leaving)

August 12, 2015

If you are thinking about moving across the globe to take on a new job or you are a wiz at recruiting international talent, then the best place for you may be the United Arab Emirates. According to LinkedIn data, this is the country with the biggest influx of foreign professionals.

On the flipside, India is country with the biggest talent outflows. After analyzing the changes LinkedIn members made to their profiles, we saw that more members left India as a percentage of the country's population than any of the other nations we looked at.

Here are the top 20 countries that saw the most migration activity (the absolute number of members moving in and out of a country), ranked by their net migration (the number of members arriving to a country minus the number of member departing a country) as a percentage of country LinkedIn membership:

top countries gaining and losing talent

A few additional notes

  • Where did UAE get most of its talent from? India, most commonly. Our data shows 28 percent of all LinkedIn members who moved to the UAE were from India, the top originating country.
  • What kind of talent were UAE companies looking for? The majority of professionals who emigrated to the UAE worked in professional services, technology, financial services and engineering firms.
  • The United States was a net loser of talent in 2014, ultimately losing 0.06 percent of its LinkedIn base to other countries.
  • Technology was the overwhelming driver for members leaving India. Nearly half of all LinkedIn members leaving India in 2014 worked for technology firms.
  • Curious how 2014 compared to 2013? Here are the results from the year before. As you can see, UAE was still the largest recipient of talent in 2013, although India was actually a net gainer of talent, instead of a net loser.

What this data means to recruiters

Recruiting is a lot like fishing. You are only as good as where you cast your line.

This data helps you inform where to cast that line. As you can see from the graph above, countries like Switzerland, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are places where talent is in high-demand, meaning it will be particularly difficult to recruit someone from one of those nations.

Conversely, if you are looking to recruit internationally, it makes more sense to look in Italy, France and India. Data shows professionals in those areas were most willing to leave their country for a better opportunity elsewhere.

Bigger picture, if you can’t source locally, the key to recruiting internationally is looking in the right place. And while this graph gives a macro view of the world’s labor markets, here’s a playbook to uncovering a much more granular view of any industry’s labor market.


This data analysis is part of our effort to build the Economic Graph.

Methodological details: The results of this analysis represent the world seen through the lens of LinkedIn data. As such, it is influenced by how members choose to use the site, which can vary based on professional, social, and regional culture, as well as overall site availability and accessibility. These variances were not accounted for in the analysis. Additionally, nationality and visa status are not fields included in the LinkedIn profile. Therefore, we cannot make any inferences on the citizenship of our members who were included in this analysis.

We determined the geographic movements of our members in 2014 by analyzing every new position that was added to profiles between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2014 which included a location that differed from the location in the previous position, filtering out movements that were made domestically. Members who joined LinkedIn after December 31, 2014 were excluded from the analysis.

Unlike 2013, we included China in our 2014 rankings, which caused a shuffling in our top 20 countries. As a result, Nigeria and Sweden dropped out of our top 20 countries, while Belgium moved up.

why people change jobs