A nucleus of modern civilization, Western Europe has long been one of the most influential regions in the world. From the Renaissance to the Enlightenment to both World Wars, what happens in Western Europe certainly does not stay in Western Europe. If you are looking for jobs abroad in a region that is highly connected, of immense historical fascination, and home to some of the most fruitful employment opportunities in the world, look no further than Western Europe.
Though geographically fairly small, Western Europe is home to a great diversity of languages, countries, and cultures. From the Italian Alps to the streets of London, there is much to be explored in Western Europe.
Western Europe is typically thought of as the area west of Germany on the European continent. It is a region that was able to grow independently of Soviet influence during the latter half of the twentieth century, meaning that its economy today is significantly more developed than Eastern Europe’s. Depending on the specific boundaries you draw, there are around 20 countries commonly thought of as “Western European.”
Some of the most popular destinations for jobs abroad include France, Spain, Italy, and the United Kingdom. Smaller European countries, such as the Netherlands and Switzerland are also very globally connected and offer good employment opportunities for international workers.
Within these countries, and many more, there are many unique cities where you can direct your search for work. It might be tempting to dive headfirst into big name cities, such as Paris or London, but give some serious thought to Western Europe’s smaller cities as well. Smaller cities can often offer a more authentic and culturally immersive experience when living and working abroad.
Wherever you look for jobs abroad in Europe, keep in mind that the language barrier will always affect what job opportunities you are eligible for. You can get by with in jobs abroad just knowing English, but if you really want to find a rewarding job in Western Europe and embrace the local culture, then learning the language is an important part of the process.
Jobs Abroad in Western Europe
Since Western Europe is one of the wealthiest regions in the world, you can find many jobs in Western Europe that pay quite well. However, it may be a competitive place to find jobs abroad, and good reason. A highly developed economy amidst an immense wealth of culture and natural beauty, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t want to work abroad in Western Europe.
Many of jobs in Western Europe that are available to international workers are temporary positions in the service sector. The hospitality and tourism industries especially look to recruit foreign workers to fill short-term positions. Being multilingual will greatly boost your prospects for jobs in Western Europe’s service industry.
Other jobs in Western Europe that are easily attainable for international workers include those in education and childcare. In our increasingly globalized world, English is becoming vital for all people to know as a second language, and as such you can find English teaching jobs all across Western Europe. There are also many placement programs which set individuals up with housing, through living with a European family, and work as an au pair, which can pay well and be a lot of fun.
These temporary jobs abroad in Europe tend to last up to one or two years. If you are trying to start a permanent career by working abroad in Western Europe then it would be a good idea to look for work in multinational companies or larger organizations. Employers with branches located around the world will have an easier time accommodating and hiring international workers, and will often have more power when it comes to obtaining a permanent work or residential visa too.
Salary & Affordability
Jobs abroad in Western Europe will typically pay foreign workers enough to get by (up to a few thousand Euros a month in education or hospitality). But, do not expect to save up much money while working abroad in Western Europe, because it is one of the most expensive places to live in the world. A significant cut of your paycheck will go toward rent, travel expenses, and everyday costs of living. The good news is that some employers will help compensate foreign workers for these additional costs (i.e. free room and board if you are au pairing) through generous compensation and benefits packages, so keep this in mind when looking for jobs abroad in Western Europe.
Accommodation & Visas
Generally you can expect housing to be more expensive in the larger, heavily populated cities of Western Europe, but by no means is this a golden rule (Zurich is fairly small but is also one of the most expensive cities in the world). Many expat workers opt to rent out a single room in a flat to save money, though individual or studio apartments are also affordable in many countries. Keep in mind factors such as location, price, and proximity to public transportation when looking for a place to live while working abroad in Western Europe.
The details of each country’s visa policy differs when it comes to attaining a work permit and/or residential visa. While workers coming from within the European Union can move about and work wherever they want because of free labor laws, workers coming from outside of Europe typically face a stricter visa process.
Benefits & Challenges
Rewarding Jobs. Whether planning to begin a permanent life as an expatriate or working in Western Europe temporarily before you return home and continue your career track, getting a job in Western Europe will be a highly rewarding experience in itself, and it will also look great to future employers.
Easy Travel. Western Europe is very efficiently connected by high speed trains and cheap flights are also offered across the continent. Take advantage of your diverse surrounds to explore as much of the continent as possible while working abroad in Europe!
Live History. Western Europe has been the backyard of powerful kings, emperors, and dictators for thousands of years. It has also been home to some of the most influential movements in art, thought, and culture that the world has seen. Seeking out a job in Western Europe will allow you to be surrounded by architectural beauty and rich cultural heritage daily, no matter which city you choose.