Europe offers great job opportunities and diverse career landscapes to those who desire to work abroad and have done their homework. The best six jobs for Americans in Europe are in the tech industry, education, and healthcare. If you are a bilingual American and want to work in Europe, then your chances of nabbing a job there just went up.
Europe currently has over 1.6 million Americans that call Europe home. Europe is the center of a Western culture within a highly developed economy.
The immense diversity of languages, countries, and cultures along with amazing historical beauty make Europe quite a desirable place to live and work. Europe has also been the inception of some of the most influential art and cultural movements.
Who wouldn’t want to work in Paris, the most visited city in the world? Or near Windsor Castle, the world’s largest, occupied castle which is erected in the English county of Berkshire?
Perhaps the Swiss Alps are just the most beautiful sight you’ve ever seen and you wouldn’t mind living and working near them?
There are many jobs in Europe that pay quite well, in spite of the struggling economy in many European countries. It’s important to remember that competition is fierce, so you need to stand out to have the best job opportunities there.
Another great way to get noticed there is to apply for a job where there are many shortages. As an American, the language barrier can be both an asset and a liability when looking for a job in Europe.
If you speak only in your native tongue of English, there are enough job opportunities to get by, but if you really want to embrace the culture you live in there as well as get your most favorable job option, learning the local language is a step in the right direction.
The most popular job destinations in Europe include France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, and the UK. It is within these countries you are most likely to find work and the best pay scales.
Job seekers in Europe can basically be divided into two categories: Those who are planning new, permanent lives in Europe and those who go there to work temporarily, either because of wanting the cultural experience or those who go to school there.
Some things to keep in mind
- Each country’s visa policy varies when considering a work permit or residential visa. Workers from the US typically face stricter visa policies than those who reside in Europe to begin with.
- Europe is generally one of the most expensive places in the world to live. Much of your paycheck will go toward rent, travel expenses, and daily living expenses.
- Some employers will give an allowance as part of the benefits to foreign workers to assist in those extra costs. Housing is generally more expensive in the larger cities, while individual and studio apartments tend to be more affordable.
- Temp jobs in Europe tend to last one to two years. If you desire a more permanent career there, look for work in multi-national companies or larger organizations, such as Google. Google and other companies who have international locations are powerhouses who want the best skills and talent out there. These companies have more influence when it comes to getting permanent work or residential visas.
- You need to have an edge to gain the attention of a European employer. They’ll want to justify why they should hire you instead of a local. Learn the local language, get an internship, or volunteer in the country that interests you. You’ll want to get to know the culture, as well as the visa and work permit requirements, and more.
- In order to be competitive with locals, show that your skills exceed those of your competitors. For many job opportunities, simply being a master of the English language will do. Many multinational companies consider that to be a step in the door.
- Research, research, research! Buy a book or study online about living and working in your country of interest. Each country has different rules about foreigners seeking jobs in their country. Better to learn them ahead of time, than finding out too late. Some European countries have very bureaucratic law or requirements about required education and work experience.
Now that we’ve given a few pointers, let’s find out what the best job opportunities are for Americans in Europe.
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (IT)
Because of unparalleled growth in the IT sector, the information technology sector in Europe faces a shortage. It is estimated that the shortage will worsen and Europe will be in need of more than 800,000 skilled IT workers by the year 2020.
The digital sector is constantly changing and new trends such as cloud computing open great opportunities but lack the number of skilled professionals to do the jobs.
1. Software Development Engineers develop information systems by designing, developing, and installing software solutions. As the digital field changes, this is fast becoming one of the most in-demand jobs worldwide, and in particular in Europe.
The median salary for a software developer in Europe is $56,000 a year. Switzerland is one of the highest paying countries at over $90,000 a year.
2. IT Project Management is part general management and part technology operations. IT Project Managers plan, organize and integrate cross-functional information technology projects that are significant in scope and impact.
This is a growing field as technology continue to expand and new projects are implemented. Project managers coordinate the work of other professionals in the IT department and administrative staff.
The end goal is to have a new software system, office practice, or some other project that will grow the company. They see the project through from the beginning to the end.
The average yearly salary of a project manager in Europe is approximately $65,000 a year.
We’re not going to sugar coat it. Europe is in the midst of a teacher shortage, which is at near crisis level. There are a few reasons, but among the top is low pay and long work hours. The average workweek for schools in England is at 48.2 hours.
Many teachers are also nearing retirement age and struggle to stay committed due to burn out. It may sound daunting, but for someone young who is looking for a unique cultural experience and wants to make a difference in the lives of their student, Europe might sound like a desirable option.
Because there is such a shortage of teachers, they are in high demand and English-speaking teachers are even more sought after. Europe failed to meet its recruitment goals for the fifth year in a row.
3. English teachers are in high demand as well as those who teach maths, physics, computing, and more. More teachers are leaving the profession than joining and the number continues to increase.
There is a wide expanse of salary for teachers in Europe. At the low end of the spectrum is Hungary and Poland, who pay their teachers poorly at less than $10,000 a year.
Teachers in Switzerland enjoy better salaries at over $68,000 a year. Many other countries lie somewhere in the middle.
Due to advancements in healthcare, people are living longer, increasing the demand for social and medical services in Europe. Many specialties in the healthcare arena need qualified, educated, and experienced professionals.
Much of Europe’s healthcare is universal healthcare, publically funded through taxation.
4. Physicians in Europe average $75,000 a year for GP’s and $110,000 a year for specialists. Their pay scales are considerably lower than their US counterparts, but their overhead is much less considering that in most situations, the government pays for most of their overhead expenses.
5. Nurses and Midwives are the driving force behind European Healthcare. They play a key role in successful healthcare services. However, there is a serious shortage of both, thought to be because people are living longer and needing more in terms of long-term healthcare.
Salaries for nurses in Europe average approximately $37,000 a year.
6. Entrepreneurism is in high regard in European society. They want entrepreneurs who will create new ideas into European economies, either by starting businesses or working freelance in various professions.
Many of Europe’s countries offer programs to those who demonstrate stellar professional skills and have enough funds to get started. France even has a “Skills and Talents” permit, a program for immigrants who can make considerable cultural, artistic, or economic contributions to the country.
Germany and the UK are the most entrepreneur-friendly countries for Americans who want to settle down and start a business there.
Entrepreneur salaries are hard to pin down due to so many variables, but over $100,000 a year for a successful enterprise is a good bet.
Whether you are already settled in Europe or you are an American thinking of going abroad to work in Europe, there are numerous things to consider. There is no doubt that Americans who work in Europe gain unique, cultural perspectives and experiences to last a lifetime.
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I am curious. I am literally finishing my Capstone Project for my TESOL certification. I have a bachelors and a masters degree (in Special Education). I am HIGHLY looking to move to Europe. I have traveled throughout Europe and have native Hungarian relatives in Hungary and other locations. There is one company that I talked to someone about that does charge YOU, but they take care of accommodations, finding a location to teach English, take care of Visa paperwork and so on. The woman I emailed said that it was worth the price to not worry about the hassle. I would be willing to teach anywhere in Europe, but would prefer (as many would) Spain, even Portugal. If anyone has advice for me please let me know. Thanks all.
Personally, I’ve never paid. It depends on what services they offer. If they offer to get your VISA and find you a job, it might be worth it. Check their reputation online. If you can’t find anything, that’s a red flag. Of course negative reports are also a red flag.
For me, I’ve always had the companies that I work for arrange my VISA, accommodation, etc for me, or at least help in the process. I’d look for individual jobs online like DavesESLCafe, or even country/city specific forums.
Spain and Portugal will be harder to get into due to demand and laws that people actually follow. The further East you go, the more relaxed things are, or at least that’s how it was when I was teaching there.
I am currently in the process with planning to move to Spain. I have been researching all the different ways to make this possible. The information you provided is extremely beneficial. I will be moving there with my two daughters, one who is 18 yrs old and the other 16(their idea by the way). Although, I do not believe our move there will be permanent, one never knows!! If you have anymore information on what can help us with our move, PLEASE let me know. We’re planning on visiting the nearest Spain Embassy to get more information.
WOW…that is cool…what are you going to be doing there? Spain is my dream place.