Germany is most attractive country to work among European employees

by Ray Clancy on February 21, 2017

Germany is the most attractive country in the world to work, followed by the UK, France and Switzerland, according to a survey of employees in Europe.

People in Italy, Poland and Spain are most likely to seek a job overseas with 88%, 86% and 85% respectively likely to consider job opportunities abroad with Germany, the most popular destination, the Workforce Europe 2017 report from human resources firm ADP shows.

As the largest economy in Europe, Germany is seen as the most attractive country for career opportunities overall with 21% of European employees saying that they would consider relocating to Germany with this number rising to 35% among the Spanish, 33% in Poland, 31% in Italy and 29% in the Netherlands.

Those in the UK and France are the least likely to consider a move, with almost half of workers saying this doesn’t interest them and the research found that language is clearly an influencing factor, with many workers prioritising countries with a common tongue.

The research also found that the decision by the UK to leave the European Union has had an impact, pushing the UK into second place behind Germany despite opportunities in the UK being comparable, most notably because of the language.

Employees who are most keen to work abroad, namely those from Italy, Poland and Spain, are also those who say improving their language skills is important, suggesting a desire to seek international opportunities may be behind this.

Switzerland is popular amongst German, French and Italian workers while Austria is the most popular choice for Germans and Germany and France popular with the Swiss. Despite the language barrier, UK workers are most likely to consider opportunities in Spain, perhaps attracted by the more favourable climate.

But the UK may not be the dream destination many think with the research showing that it has the highest number of dissatisfied workers at 13%. While the largest number of satisfied workers are in the Netherlands with 76%.

Almost half, 47%, of Europe’s workforce says pay and remuneration is their biggest motivator, while 84% say they have a good work-life balance. But 17% say they experience excessive levels of stress. Polish workers have the lowest levels of work-life balance and experience the most stress.

There are also contrasts across industry sectors with IT and telecoms workers most likely to consider international opportunities at 87% and the report suggests that this could be due to a high demand for their transferable skills.

The research show that self-employment and freelancing are increasingly popular career options across Europe with new technology and more flexible working practices giving people the freedom to choose and 68% say they would could consider self-employment.

Dutch and Spanish employees are the most likely to consider freelancing or self-employment, with a third of workers actively thinking about it. In contrast, German and French employees are the least tempted and it is more popular among people aged under 34 and among men.

The advantages of the independent lifestyle are highlighted by the views of those currently self-employed who report higher levels of job satisfaction at 75% compared to 70%. Those in self-employment also said that they are motivated by the ability to work where and when they want, while 30% emphasise it gives them a good work-life balance.

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