In this election cycle, immigration is a leading topic of conversation. Both parties have called for reforms to immigration policy, and the candidates have vastly different proposals in this area. In addition to capturing the attention of the public generally, these reforms are of particular interest to employers across the country.

In many sectors, employers rely on international talent to mitigate shortages in hard to fill roles. New academic research reveals, for example, that foreign-born workers currently account for a large share of specialists in fields related to science, engineering, technology and math (STEM). For all STEM workers with a bachelor’s degree, 20% are foreign born. For those with a PhD, the same figure is 59%.

Recent research from the National Academy of Sciences shows that immigration to the US in recent decades has been good for the economy overall and has not significantly affected wages or employment levels of native-born Americans.

Indeed’s own research has also found that candidates from outside the US are particularly interested in high-skill jobs. A July 2016 report from the Indeed Hiring Lab, The State of Opportunity, highlights “opportunity jobs” — jobs with high and rising pay. These jobs make up only 16% of the labor market, and 92% of them are concentrated in just five broad, high-skill employment categories: healthcare practitioners and technical, computer and mathematical, and architecture and engineering, management, and business and financial operations.

The report details the characteristics that these opportunity jobs share: they are less at risk for automation than other jobs, more likely to require four-year degrees, more likely to require skill sets that are applicable across a wide range of industries, and finally, they are more prone to talent shortages.

International candidates are more likely to be interested in opportunity jobs

Among six countries with strong job-seeker interest in U.S. job postings generally, candidates from the Netherlands are most likely to seek out opportunity jobs in the U.S., followed by candidates from France and Germany.

Graph showing that international candidates are more likely to be interested in opportunity jobs.
This graph shows the percentage of clicks to US opportunity postings as a share of all clicks to US postings, proving that international candidates are more likely to be interested in opportunity jobs within the United States. In the graph, the following countries are listed with the coordinating percentages: US: 27%, Ireland: 37%, UK: 39%, Australia: 44%, Germany: 46%, France: 46%, Netherlands: 47%.

[See full list of the top 15 countries searching for jobs in the U.S.]

Although the vast majority of job search in the US is from candidates based here, candidates in these other countries are more likely to be interested in high paying, high growth jobs than US candidates are.

In general, the opportunity jobs market is a job seeker’s market: there are talent shortages in 71% of all opportunity job categories, meaning that although these jobs with high and rising pay account for a small share of employment as a whole, there still aren’t enough people interested in or qualified to fill them. For employers, thinking of their talent pool as a global one is crucial to filling these essential roles.