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Report: Canada is the world’s #1 destination for global talent

Canada is now the top destination for global talent, beating the United States to become the number one country to which foreign workers want to move.

Canada is now the top destination for global talent according to one of the world’s most prestigious management consulting firms. A new report from Boston Consulting Group has placed Canada above the United States as the first-choice location for foreign workers in 2020.

The report is based on more than 200,000 survey responses from 197 countries.

While Canada’s new place at the top of the ranking – we were #3 in both 2018 and 2014 – is the headline, the report captured additional significant shifts, including Australia moving to 3rd place, up from 7th in 2014, and the United Kingdom dropping from 2nd to 5th.

Here are the top 10 destinations for global talent:

Diagram showing the top ten destinations for global talent in 2014, 2016 and 2018.


For the first time since 2014, the United States has fallen from first place in the ranking. Interestingly, much of the survey was conducted after the 2020 US election, which suggests that the results aren’t just about recent changes in American immigration policy. After all, they were still ranked #1 in 2018.

“The most striking shift in our survey is the fall of the US from the top spot,” says the report. “Hurt by an inconsistent pandemic response, the adoption of more nationalistic policies, and social unrest, the US has fallen to second in the rankings, behind Canada and basically in a tie with Australia”

As noted, the United Kingdom also fell from its #2 ranking in 2014 to #5 in both 2018 and 2020. The alignment with Brexit seems quite clear – interest in moving to the UK among EU-based talent has plummeted since the 2018 edition of the report.

Strong performance across demographics

Global destination rankings from respondents by demographics


Canada was the top choice for workers from a wide range of backgrounds.

“The reputation Canada has built for itself is evident in its broad appeal,” says the report. “The country is the number-one work destination for many of the types of people that countries prize, including those with master’s or PhD degrees, those with digital training or expertise, and those younger than 30. The US, despite having many of the world’s biggest and best-known technology companies, is second as a destination for those with digital talent.”

Blue-collar workers (those employed in the service sector or in manual or manufacturing jobs) ranked Canada fourth, after Germany, Japan and Australia, while older workers (over 60) ranked Canada third, after Australia and Germany.

Canada was also the first-choice location for workers from four of the six geographical regions surveyed.

Global destination rankings from respondents by geography


What makes Canada attractive to global talent?

Canada is home to several of the world’s most diverse communities, including the Toronto-Waterloo corridor, which is the biggest tech cluster in North America after Silicon Valley. We have superclusters in digital technology, advanced manufacturing, artificial intelligence and more, which means significant opportunities for professionals looking to grow their careers.

While other countries have limited immigration over the last few years, Canada has streamlined its approach and substantially increased its immigration numbers. For businesses, Canada’s Global Talent Stream program has made it easier than ever to access high-skilled foreign talent, allowing them to bring new workers into the country in as little as two weeks.

Lastly, Canada’s quality of life is unparalleled: we were ranked first for quality of life by the U.S. News Report LP in 2019, and offer excellent political stability, diversity and opportunity.

Download Boston Consulting Group’s full report in PDF form here.

Learn more about Canada’s global talent pool and Waterloo’s unique appeal to global talent