Overseas candidates looking for UK jobs shows sharp increase


The number of international candidates searching for UK roles has increased by 140% since late March, according to Indeed

Searches by overseas workers for UK jobs have reached their highest level since December 2018, according to job site Indeed.

The number of international candidates searching for roles in the UK has increased by 140% since late March, when coronavirus lockdown was first enforced.

In August alone, the proportion of job searches coming from overseas rose by 86.2%, according to Indeed’s figures. In previous years, spikes in international searches tend to come in December and January as people explore a fresh start.

By comparison, the proportion of UK workers looking for jobs abroad has reduced dramatically to its lowest level since August 2017, the job site said.

In January 2020, this share was 16% lower than the same month in 2019, potentially due to Brexit officially beginning. Outbound searches in August 2020 were a third (34.3%) down on their August 2019 level, and declined by 51% since August 2018.

In terms of workers actually taking jobs and moving to the UK, however, there has been a downward turn thanks to the combined impact of coronavirus and Brexit. In the 12 months to the end of June, the Home Office granted 22% fewer work-related visas to foreigners than it did the previous year.

The greatest international interest in UK jobs came from India, which accounted for the biggest share of international searches at almost 12%. The US and Republic of Ireland made up 7.4% and 5.4% of searches respectively.

For UK jobseekers searching for a job abroad, the most popular destination was the US, at 37% of searches. This was followed by the Republic of Ireland (8.9% of searches) and Canada (8.2% of searches).

The most popular role for both those looking for work in the UK or UK workers searching abroad was customer services representative.

For UK workers looking overseas, they were interested in software engineer, administrative assistant, and project manager jobs. Overseas workers were keen on retail sales, cleaning and delivery driver jobs in the UK.

Jack Kennedy, UK Economist at Indeed, said the UK labour market “clearly still holds a strong appeal for many overseas jobseekers”.

“Lockdown initially plunged inbound job searches into the deep freeze, but they have since picked up steam as overseas interest in British jobs has surged. However traffic going the other way is falling, as UK-based workers have become less interested in looking for work abroad,” he said.

“The number of vacancies in the UK has steadily improved from the lows seen during lockdown, which may go some way towards explaining the interest in UK jobs among jobseekers overseas. As global labour markets continue to reel from the impacts of the pandemic, international jobseekers may have been buoyed by the reopening of the UK economy.

“With most British jobseekers opting to search close to home for their next job, the uptick in people searching from abroad may offer them some extra competition in coming months.”

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