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Saudi Arabia Continues to Rise as a Growing Destination for Global Talent

Saudi Arabia Continues to Rise as a Growing Destination for Global Talent
  • The fourth global study on international mobility trends by BCG, the network, and The Stepstone Group features survey data from more than 150,000 workforce respondents in 188 Countries.
  • One in four professionals actively seek jobs abroad, reflecting a strong interest in international career opportunities.
  • Saudi stood out for its quality job opportunities, living conditions, and innovative environment.

Riyadh, May 6, 2024— Saudi Arabia has made remarkable progress in attracting global talent in a world adapting to new economic realities and the rise of emerging virtual mobility trends amidst a complex international landscape characterized by geopolitical shifts and financial uncertainty. The Kingdom, with its unique blend of quality job opportunities, favorable living conditions, and an innovative environment, has climbed two spots to become the 26th most preferred country for workforce mobility, according to the “Decoding Global Talent 2024” report. This achievement highlights the success of Saudi Arabia’s strategic initiatives to establish itself as a global hub for professionals.

These insights are part of the latest publication by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), The Network, and The Stepstone Group, “Decoding Global Talent 2024.” The comprehensive study draws from the perspectives of over 150,000 professionals across 188 countries, marking the fourth edition in a thought-provoking series that has chronicled global talent trends since 2014. The current report highlights the sustained allure of international relocation in pursuing career advancement. Significantly, Riyadh has captured global attention, securing the 54th rank among cities worldwide, reflecting its ascendancy as a center for opportunity and forward momentum. 

Riyadh’s emergence on this global stage is particularly noteworthy as it had not appeared in previous iterations of the report. This newfound prominence can largely be attributed to the city’s ambitious megaprojects, which signify Riyadh’s commitment to economic growth and innovation. Additionally, the city’s appeal is bolstered by establishing corporate headquarters, both from abroad and locally, as companies seek to tap into the market and capitalize on Riyadh’s strategic position as a hub for business and commerce.

“As the global talent shortage becomes an increasingly pressing challenge for the world’s foremost economies, Saudi Arabia is emerging as a pivotal player in narrowing this gap,” remarked Christopher Daniel, Managing Director and Senior Partner at BCG,  Global lead for Econonmic Development, Government Finances and Center of Government. “With a significant proportion of respondents citing the quality of job opportunities, the attractive income, tax, and cost of living, as well as the assurance of safety, stability, and security as key reasons for choosing the Kingdom, it’s evident that Saudi Arabia’s strategic investments in its labor market are bearing fruit. The country is leveraging labor migration to enrich its workforce, offering a secure and welcoming environment catering to the diverse needs of international professionals. By fostering a job market that is attuned to the evolving aspirations of global talent while prioritizing their well-being, Saudi Arabia is positioning itself as a compelling destination for those seeking growth and fulfillment in their careers.”

The Talent Magnet Saudi Arabia’s Global Workforce Appeal

The report emphasizes that younger generations and individuals from rapidly growing populations are particularly drawn to global mobility, seeking diverse experiences and professional growth opportunities. With 23% of global professionals actively seeking international roles and 63% remaining open to the possibility, Saudi Arabia is well-equipped to leverage this trend. The Kingdom provides a rich environment for the globally minded workforce to thrive and advance their careers. It offers a compelling destination for those seeking personal and professional growth in an increasingly interconnected world.

The survey found that participants in Saudi Arabia are highly interested in international work opportunities. 74% of respondents emphasized the importance of housing assistance, which is slightly lower than the global average of 79%. However, 80% of respondents prioritized Visa and work permit assistance, which is higher than the global interest of 78%. The data shows that Saudi professionals are strongly inclined towards long-term international commitments. 41% of Saudi respondents consider indefinite stays abroad, higher than the global average of 29%. These figures reflect Saudi professionals’ broader expectations and aspirations in settling abroad for the long term.

“Saudi Arabia’s strategic vision is transforming it into a powerhouse for international talent,” stated Philippe Cornette de Saint Cyr, Managing Director and Partner, KSA BCG Office Lead. “Recognizing the vast potential of a diverse workforce, the Kingdom is redefining recruitment, offering a welcoming landscape for expatriates from the Middle East and globally. This shift towards inclusivity and safety as cornerstones of the labor market and the government’s enabling policies position Saudi Arabia as a  destination of progress and a competitive force in the global economy.”

The drive to work abroad often stems from more than just practical needs—it also embraces the allure of new experiences and cultural exploration. This enthusiasm for adventure is precisely what Saudi Arabia is channeling as it positions itself as a global hub. By welcoming a diverse international workforce, the Kingdom is enhancing its cultural and economic landscape and establishing itself as a prime destination for professionals seeking a dynamic and enriching career journey. This strategic embrace of global talent strengthens Saudi Arabia’s development and offers a competitive edge in the worldwide market.

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