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Press Release

Top US Expats Wish List of Global Cities to Work In

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Where in the world are you dreaming of?

You are sitting in an office somewhere in the States harboring a secret wish to head overseas. You are not alone.

Thousands of Americans each year tap the search query into Google “jobs in country x” or “jobs in country y” as they think about working abroad.

For many, it will be the first step towards life as an expat.

Our research shows the dream tends to turn into a search query each New Year, peaks by mid-summer before tailing off as thoughts turn to family, Thanksgiving and Christmas towards the end of each year.

But where in the world are Americans searching for?

Top 10 Most Job Searched Capital Cities (Since 2006)

We have looked at Google Trends data for the world’s largest countries and their capitals since 2006. There are changing times and trends as the global economy has gone from growth, through recession to recovery.

Since 2006, Europe’s primary financial center London has topped the wish-list of world cities to work in, followed by oil-rich Dubai and the Asian commercial hub Singapore.

The rest of the top 10 is a mix of old Europe – Paris, Rome, Geneva and Amsterdam – plus Cape Town in South Africa, Mexico City, and Ottowa in Canada.

However, Dubai has leapt to the top of the list over the last couple of years and the Polish capital Warsaw has knocked Mexico City out of the top 10.

Ranking Search term
1 Jobs in London
2 Jobs in Dubai
3 Jobs in Singapore
4 Jobs in Paris
5 Jobs in Rome
6 Jobs in Geneva
7 Jobs in Amsterdam
8 Jobs in Ottawa
9 Jobs in Cape Town
10 Jobs in Mexico City

Top 10 Most Job Searched Capital Cities (Since Jan 2013)

Our research also reveals that the range of countries attracting American interest is more diverse than ever before. Despite the tough economic climate in Spain, Madrid has been gaining attention since 2013, so too the Indian capital New Delhi.

Belgium and Denmark are also attracting more search interest than in the past.

Overall, it’s clear that some Americans know precisely which city in the world they want to work in, while others are looking for particular countries.

For example, our research suggests that Americans are far more likely to search for “jobs in London” than the broader query “jobs in England” or “jobs in the UK.”

Looking at “country” searches, there has also been a changing trend over the last couple of years.

The relatively short cross-border hop to Canada tops the long-term trend of countries attracting interest among would-be expats.

Ranking Search term
1 Jobs in Dubai
2 Jobs in London
3 Jobs in Paris
4 Jobs in Singapore
5 Jobs in Rome
6 Jobs in Geneva
7 Jobs in Cape Town
8 Jobs in Ottawa
9 Jobs in Warsaw
10 Jobs in Amsterdam

Top 10 Most Job Searched Countries
(Since Jan 2006)

Over the last two years, interest in working in Canada has declined, while interest in India has grown. Similarly, Germany has leapt ahead of Italy as the European country most likely to be searched for by Americans seeking work overseas.

Ranking Search term
1 Jobs in Canada
2 Jobs in India
3 Jobs in Mexico
4 Jobs in Australia
5 Jobs in China
6 Jobs in Japan
7 Jobs in Italy
8 Jobs in Germany
9 Jobs in France
10 Jobs in Spain

Top 10 Most Job Searched Countries
(Since Jan 2013)

Overall, the data shows an interesting – but perhaps not surprising - trend. The financial crash that hit Wall Street, the wider US economy and domestic jobs market in the mid-noughties appears to correlate with a growing interest among American citizens in working overseas.

Ranking Search term
1 Jobs in India
2 Jobs in Canada
3 Jobs in Mexico
4 Jobs in Australia
5 Jobs in China
6 Jobs in Germany
7 Jobs in Japan
8 Jobs in Italy
9 Jobs in France
10 Jobs in South Africa


Interest in expat working hit a peak in late 2009, early 2010. But as the US economy entered the recovery phase, search interest in working abroad has returned to a level closer to - but still ahead of - the pre-recessionary period in 2006. A closer look at the overall trend since 2013 shows a relatively steady level of interest in expat working.

Level of interest chart Level of interest chart

Inevitably, there are a variety of reasons why Americans look for work overseas. For some, it’s a question of personal ambition, others a question of economics. For many it will be answering the urge to explore and see the world beyond what they know.

After all, America was born with a pioneer spirit.

So where in the world will you search for?

Source notes

Google Trends: US search interest in jobs in the world’s 40 largest economies by Gross Domestic Product (GDP) according to World Bank. Date range January 2006 to March 2015.

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