2020 Best Job Cities, Post-COVID-19

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Data reveals the cities with the best outlook for employment based on statistics relating to opportunities, infrastructure and quality of life, as well as the economic impact of governmental response to the coronavirus pandemic

  • Singapore is the best city to find a job in 2020, with a relatively low COVID-19 economic impact, good opportunities for young people and women, an efficient government, and high disposable income.  
  • Copenhagen ranks as the 2nd best city to find a job, followed by Helsinki and Oslo. 
  • South-East Asian cities Seoul, Hong Kong and Tokyo have the lowest estimated impact on the economy due to COVID-19, due to governmental policies regarding lockdown and relative virus rates. 
  • Dubai, UAE ranks as #5 out of 100, with a total score of 85.18. 

“With global travel essentially ground to a halt currently, it might seem strange and daunting to consider moving city or country for a job. However, as borders open and travel resumes, career opportunities will open up for those looking to experience working and living in a new culture.” comments Simon Nelson, CEO at FutureLearn. “Many industries previously believed working remotely to be impossible, but we are now entering a new era of digitalisation and it seems likely that the pandemic has changed this view entirely. This opens the door for those looking to start a career in a new city right now, as many companies are continuing hiring, interviewing and onboarding remotely.” 

FutureLearn, the online learning platform built on social pedagogy, has released a data-driven study revealing the cities with the best outlook for employment in 2020, based on both pre and post-COVID-19 figures. Commissioning this study late in 2019, FutureLearn aimed to use data and statistics to determine the best cities for jobs, but since research began, the COVID-19 pandemic transformed every aspect of our lives, not least the economy and global career prospects. 

To confirm this, we ran a poll* in some of the countries featured in this index such as France, Italy and the USA who have undergone governmental lockdown. We found that, on average, 50% of respondents had either lost their job entirely or had had their earning capacity reduced in some manner since the start of the pandemic. With many people around the world now searching for new career opportunities, this project combines figures from before and after coronavirus measures were put in place. It aims to give a data-driven insight into the best cities for jobs, while reflecting on the economic impact of COVID-19, and each government’s response to the crisis.

How the study was conducted: 

“While gathering data for this study, we witnessed the impact of this pandemic on the economy in real time. While we can assume that, fundamentally, cities will remain the same, some will be more impacted than others by COVID-19, especially those which rely heavily on tourism. The data that will come out in the coming months will illustrate the true impact of this crisis on the job market as businesses start to reopen, nations slowly go back to work, and people start rebuilding their lives.” comments Simon Nelson, CEO at FutureLearn. “This index offers valuable insight into the cities that are best primed for economic stability and potential career opportunities, and it will hopefully help those looking for new jobs in their search.”   

To conduct the study, a list of 100 cities around the globe which are renowned for their economic, educational, and aspirational opportunities was first determined. Whether a city has a strong economic position is an important indicator of job opportunities, so data was collected relating to the pre-COVID-19 GDP growth rate, as well as the number of new startups to illustrate if a city is a hub for innovation. To help determine the pandemic’s impact on the job market, these statistics were then compared with the latest unemployment rate versus the projected unemployment rate according to the International Monetary Fund. The Government’s response to COVID-19 in terms of the support offered to businesses such as loans and financial help to both individuals and companies, and plans set in place to help ailing industries was analysed next.

Key Findings

Governmental policies were analysed next, focusing on workers’ rights, parental leave laws, governmental efficacy, and immigration statistics and sentiment. While the economy and government play a large role in what makes a city good for work, job-seekers must also consider quality of life, so data was gathered relating to health spending, cost of living and average disposable income. Finally, statistics on the gender wage gap, women’s rights and legislation, and women’s opportunities for career progression were included to illustrate if there are equal opportunities regardless of gender. The final index shows which cities excelled in job openings pre-COVID-19 and where the response to the pandemic has assured that their economy can continue to thrive in these uncertain times.  

The table below reveals a sample of results for Dubai, UAE:

Results for Dubai, UAE, ranking #5 out of 100
GDP Annual Growth Rate (2013-2018) Youth Opportunities Latest Unemployment Rate (%) Projected Change in Unemployment Rate 2019-2020 (Percentage Points) COVID-19 Estimated Impact on Economy Workers’ Rights Parental Leave Government Effectiveness
-0.0299 93.8 0.005 Unavailable 77.53 10 40.43 50.66
Immigration Rates and Openness Healthcare Spending Cost of Living Disposable Income Gender Wage Gap Women’s Rights & Equality Women in Leadership Roles Total
98.89 100 10 95.62 10 10 96.52 85.18

 

The table below shows the top 10 best cities to find a job, based on the highest Total Score:

# City
1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

Singapore

Copenhagen

Helsinki

Oslo

Dubai

Gothenburg

Malmö

San Francisco

Munich

Geneva

100.00

95.16

90.50

89.14

85.18

81.18

77.95

77.30

74.94

72.78

The table below shows the top 10 cities with the highest COVID-19 Impact on the Economy score, indicating a lower relative impact: 

# City
1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

Seoul

Hong Kong

Tokyo

Osaka

Budapest

Singapore

Helsinki

Copenhagen

Bratislava

Zurich

100.00

91.68

90.34

90.34

86.59

82.81

82.29

80.95

79.50

78.64

The table below shows the top 10 countries with the lowest Projected Change in Unemployment Rate 2019-2020, based on percentage points:

# City
1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

Singapore

Switzerland

Japan

South Korea

Germany

Austria

UK

Denmark

HKSAR

Finland

0.20

0.42

0.64

0.72

0.73

0.98

1.00

1.47

1.51

1.55

 

Further Findings

Economics

  • Highest Annual GDP Growth Rate (2013-2018): Dublin (10.62%), followed by Krakow (4.99%) and San Francisco (4.58%). 
  • Best Youth Opportunities: London (100), followed by San Francisco (95.5) and Minneapolis (95.1). 
  • Lowest Latest Unemployment Rate: Dubai (0.5%), followed by Warsaw (1.3%) and Prague and Krakow jointly (2%).
  • Lowest Projected Change in Unemployment Rate 2019-2020 (Percentage Points): Singapore (0.20), followed by Switzerland (0.42) and Japan (0.64). 
  • Best COVID-19 Estimated Impact on Economy: South Korea (100), followed by HKSAR (91.68) and Japan (90.34).

Governmental Policies

  • Best Workers’ Rights: Copenhagen (100), followed by Oslo (92.57) and Helsinki (91.51). 
  • Best Parental Leave: Helsinki (100), followed by Tallinn (99.77) and Bratislava (99.30). 
  • Highest Government Effectiveness: Switzerland (100), followed by Norway (98.65) and Finland (97.97).
  • Highest Immigration Rates & Openness: Ottawa (100), followed by Perth (98.94) and Dubai (98.89). 

Quality of Life

  • Highest Healthcare Spending: Dubai (100), followed by Bratislava (99.83) and London (99.52).
  • Best Cost of Living: Graz (100), followed by Leipzig (99.84) and Adelaide (97.60). 
  • Highest Disposable Income: San Francisco (100), followed by New York (96.37) and Singapore (96.29)

Gender Equality

  • Best Gender Wage Gap: Singapore (100), followed by Slovenia (99.65) and Norway (98.92).
  • Best Women’s Rights & Equality: Denmark (100), followed by Sweden (99.81) and Norway (99.18)
  • Women in Leadership Roles: Finland (100), followed by Singapore (98.58) and Norway (98.09). 

“Online and distance learning has never been more important than it is right now, and we’re extremely proud of the fact that we’ve been able to offer support to those looking to improve on their personal and professional qualifications during this turbulent time. Not only does gaining microcredentials help to bolster a job seekers CV, but having the opportunity to learn and improve oneself while stuck at home is an invaluable lifeline to those currently in furlough or looking for a productive way to spend their isolation,” comments Simon Nelson, CEO at FutureLearn. “From among our 12 million learners worldwide, we’ve had feedback about how online learning has helped to give them purpose, improved an existing skill or even started them on the road to a longed-for career change. As the importance of learning and new ways to impart knowledge enters the discussion, particularly with many schools and universities closed around the globe, we’re happy that FutureLearn is part of the solution.”

*Poll was conducted by Magmatic Research, and asked those currently experiencing lockdown in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK and the USA questions about the impacts of the pandemic on their lives, including economic status.

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