Book Chapter

Openness to migrate internationally for a job: evidence from LinkedIn data in Europe

Perrotta, D., Johnson, S. C., Theile, T., Grow, A., de Valk, H., Zagheni, E.
In: Budak, C., Cha, M., Quercia, D. (Eds.): Proceedings of the Sixteenth International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media (ICWSM-22): Atlanta, Georgia and online, June 6th - 9th, 2022; hybrid conference, 759–769
Proceedings of the International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media 16
Palo Alto, CA, AAAI Press (2022)
Open Access


Understanding the factors that explain why people move – or stay – and where they go, is a central goal of migration research. This article improves our understanding of migration aspirations of professionals in Europe by leveraging a previously untapped data source: aggregate-level information on LinkedIn users open to work-related international relocation, accessed through the LinkedIn Recruiter platform. We collected data at regular intervals from Oct. 2020 to Sept. 2021. First, we offer descriptive statistics of proxies for migration aspirations (or lack thereof) for millions of Linkedin users in Europe. Then we approach our questions using a standardization technique, based on gravity models of migration, in order to account for a number of biases in the data, including uneven use of LinkedIn across countries. We found that, in absolute terms, countries in Northern and Western Europe are the most attractive ones when considering LinkedIn users open to work-related relocation (about 60%), followed by Southern Europe (about 40%) and Eastern Europe (30%). We also observed substantial heterogeneity in directionality of aspirations: for example, roughly 20% of LinkedIn users would relocate from Western to Northern Europe, while less than 10% would relocate from Northern to Western Europe. After accounting for differences in population density, geographic and linguistic distances, as well as internet and LinkedIn penetration, we observed that, in relative terms, Southern Europe appears to be a highly desired destination for professionals, indicating that there is potential for changing patterns in actual flows, should more opportunities for professionals arise in Southern Europe.

Keywords: Europe
The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.