Improving a BBC visualisation on labour migration

BBC has just published a great visualisation “Global migrants: Which are the most wanted professions?” which shows which professions are in high demand in which countries. All you need to do is to choose a profession from the drop-down menu or just click on a profeesion in the list – and here you go. You instantly see in which countries your skills are in demand.


If you click on the name of a specific country, you will see more details on migration to that particular country. So far so good.

Apart from that, you can see the national average salary in that country expressed in US$ Purchasing Power Parity (PPP). That’s where I started to feel an important layer of information is missing. Why not provide readers with a comparison of average wages across the countries? That would supply the infographic with an additional layer and allow deeper insights. As Alberto Cairo puts it in his book “The visual art”, an infographic should be functional as a hammer, multi-layered as an onion and beautiful as a formula. I tried to apply these principles to the BBC visualisation.

So I went to the OECD website and found the data on annual average wages which by the way the BBC also used. The data on the OECD website is not available as a comparison table across all countries, so I had to download data sets for separate countries and bring them together in this Google spreadsheet. Basically, it would even be enough to supply that table with a filter and let readers find out for themselves which countries in the list have the greatest wages on average. It would be even better to supply each country in the interactive visualisation with a line chart showing the development of wages like this:

Line chart: average wages per country

Line chart: average wages per country

Also, you could include a simple bar chart demonstrating the same ranking across countries in a particular year. I guess that would make the visualisation even more useful and let users explore the issue from different perspectives.

Bar chart: Average wages per country 2011

Bar chart: Average wages per country 2011

Another way to make this visualisation more in-depth and explorative would be to show labour migration around the world and perhaps add a timeline demonstrating major improvements in the labour migration law. What do you think?

More on visualisation:
How to evaluate infographics
Visualisation tools

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