Labour Mobility in the Commonwealth

How connected are labour markets between Commonwealth countries?

This year’s Commonwealth Games are being heralded as “the standout Games in the history of the movement.” And with Shelley Watts’ historic gold in boxing, more than 140 broken records, and an unprecedented number of Para-sports events, the 11-day competition was certainly memorable.

While the games often struggle to compete with the enthusiasm generated by the Olympics, for example, it serves to remind us of how connected the countries of the Commonwealth still are. This week, in the wake of the games and the start of commemorating the centennial of World War I, it’s an interesting time to take a look at the labour market between these nations — where job seekers in Commonwealth countries are looking to go and which destinations are most popular.

The latest report from the Indeed Hiring Lab investigates global labour mobility, revealing that across the globe, 9.1% of people are searching for jobs across borders. We took a closer look at the Commonwealth countries where Indeed has a site, using search data from July 2014 to see which other countries in the Commonwealth people in each of these nations are considering.

From this analysis, we discovered that among these nations, 10.7% of people currently located in a Commonwealth country are currently searching for jobs in another Commonwealth country. This is a 1.6 percentage point increase compared to the rate of mobility between countries globally, signifying that despite ongoing debate over the future of the Commonwealth, interest in moving to other member nations is still strong.

Echoing its place in the medal table, England leads as the most popular destination in the Commonwealth, garnering the highest total number of job seekers from other Commonwealth countries. India is second, followed by Canada, Wales and Australia.

Here’s the full ranking of the countries we analyzed (based on a normalised scale, with Australia equal to 100):

Location Desirability in the Commonwealth
Rank External Interest Share
(Relative to Australia)
8South Africa
9New Zealand
11Northern Ireland


The graph below shows where these job seekers originate, and where they direct their searches.

Labour movement in the Commonwealth

With the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games on the horizon, we’ll be looking out for how the movement of a global workforce affects the Australian labour market. To learn more about labour mobility worldwide, including an in-depth look at movement to and from Australia, download the full report from the Indeed Hiring Lab.

Download the free report