Jobs for Americans in Europe
Many Americans dream of working in Europe, but turning the dream into a reality is often harder than expected. Maybe you’ve experienced this? Have you applied to numerous jobs only to never got a response? Maybe you’ve dug a little deeper to understand how to get a work visa for Europe but can’t seem to find any information that is relevant for US citizens. The whole process can be frustrating and make you feel defeated.
The truth is that it’s not easy for US citizens to get hired in Europe. However, there is some good news—it’s not impossible. There are jobs in Europe for Americans, but you need to know where they are and more importantly what jobs are in demand.
Each country has its own unique labor markets so if you know where your skills are in high demand, you can focus your efforts and have a higher chance of getting a work visa. If you’re interested to find out what positions you have a better chance competing for, check out our list of the top jobs for US citizens in Europe!
Can I work in Europe as an American?
If you’ve tried applying to jobs in Europe but have never even got a call back, you’re not alone. It’s not because you lack the skills or experience it really comes down to two things:
1) before a company can hire an American or any foreign worker, they need to do a labor market
2) hiring a foreigner can be costly and be a long process.
A labor market test is a requirement for companies in Europe to prove that they cannot find a suitable candidate in the local market (in their country and sometimes in the whole European Union) before considering a foreign candidate.
When it comes to Europe some countries are easier to get hired in than others and this is mainly due to special visas for highly-skilled workers or labor shortages. Instead of sending out your resume to places where you’re unlikely to get hired, take a look at our list of the easiest countries in Europe to get a work visa.
One thing to consider is that with the new digital nomad visas that keep popping up, you can live in Europe if you already have a remote job. This is a much easier option for working in Europe since you don’t need to find a job abroad or need a company to sponsor your visa. Check out which countries you can move with these digital nomad visas for Europe.
Last, if you have your heart set on living in Europe but don’t qualify for a work or digital nomad visa, there are many other types of visas that will let you live and work in Europe. That could be as a freelancer, small business owner, entrepreneur and more! Check out all of your options in our visa guide to living in Europe. It covers the 18 easiest countries to move to in Europe based on viable visa options.
Top Jobs for US citizens in Europe
If you want to work in Europe there are a few key industries that are always in demand. These are the industries to focus on because as a US citizen you will have a better chance of getting hired. However, if you don’t see your skillset on this list that doesn’t mean you are unemployable in Europe, it just may be more challenging to find a company to sponsor your work visa.
For anyone who’s felt like getting a job in Europe was just a pipe dream, let’s make the impossible possible and get you hired with one of these tops jobs for Americans in Europe!
You probably already knew this, but jobs in the tech sector are always in demand. Most tech companies are dealing with labor shortages, especially when it comes to women in tech and WOC in tech. Right now companies are either filling up positions that were closed during the pandemic, or beefing up their tech capacity as more industries shift to digital environments—so it’s a great time to be looking for a tech role in Europe!
Tech is a broad term so what roles are most in demand? You can count on software developers and engineers to be high on the list but also growing sectors like cybersecurity, data science, cloud computing, UX design, and AI and IoT are hot fields to look into.
The demand for project managers around the world is growing. There was already high demand for PMs before the pandemic, however it has grown even more-so because companies are either recovering or reinventing themselves for the digital age. PMs make the list of top 10 job postings in the UK, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg.
What exactly does a project manager do? They are responsible for the planning, organizing, and managing the completion of a project. Hot industries to get into are tech and energy; however project managers are needed in all sectors including construction and manufacturing to name a few.
Competition is tough, so you have an advantage if you have master’s degrees or certifications like PMP or Prince2, real world experience working as a project manager, and fluency in the language of the country where you want to work in.
According to the European Commission there is a digital skills gap in Europe that they want to bridge. However until they can close the gap, this stat works in your favor as a US citizen because for now, many companies need to find foreign talent to fill certain roles, including digital marketing.
What exactly falls under the umbrella of digital marketing? Everything from social media managers to SEO specialists, email marketers, content managers, branding specialists, data analysts, community managers, and more! Tech companies are a great place to start looking; top tech hubs in Europe include Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Dublin, Frankfurt, London, Manchester, Munich, Paris, and Stuttgart.
The US isn’t the only country facing a teacher shortage, many countries in Europe are too. Experts predict that there will be shortfall of 25,000 teachers in Germany and 30,000 in Portugal by 2025. Even today, France has 4,000 vacant teaching posts that can’t be filled by the local workforce. Additionally, the labor shortage will grow even more since many teachers are set to retire soon. In Italy and Portugal, half of all teachers are 50 years old and above.
If you’re a teacher in the US who is looking to get out (we don’t blame you) there are jobs for Americans in Europe. Not all teaching jobs will be easy to come by. For example, teaching at a public school abroad may be challenging as most countries have local certifications and exams that you would need to pass and these can take years to obtain. Plus you may need to speak the local language.
However, English-speaking jobs at international schools are much easier to obtain. Browse the Tes site to find open roles at international schools in Europe (and around the world). In addition to international schools there are English teaching programs like Spain’s teaching assistant program as well as language academy roles.
Candidates who have extensive teaching experience, a Master’s degree, or a background in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) have a shot of finding work in Europe! And remember, the education industry doesn’t just cover teachers with classroom experience. There’s also a demand for curriculum developers, experts in early childhood education, special needs and inclusive education, and school administrators.
A major market for work in Europe is the tourism industry; after all, Europe is the world’s most popular tourism region, receiving 745 million international visitors every year—which is about two-thirds of total global travel! And that figure doesn’t even include Europeans traveling within Europe.
The tourism industry is diverse, so there are many jobs that can match your skill set and background. Aside from those who have a degree in hotel and restaurant management, there are plenty of openings for chefs, translators, reception and customer service, tour guides, public relations, service crews, and more!
Governmental and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)
The Bureau of International Organization Affairs (IO) has a list of organizations including the United Nations, NATO, Food and Agriculture Organization that can assign you to their offices in Europe and other parts of the world.
While there are some jobs that require a background in international relations, social work, or specializations relevant to the specific project, you can also find general job openings for project managers, coordinators, or even information technology. Check out job postings on the Federal Government Jobs website for US jobs overseas. Why not consider a foreign service assignment with the Department of State?
Finance & accounting
If you work in finance there are specific countries you need to target. Switzerland is the icon in this field, the Swiss are used to hiring foreign talent in finance and English is widely spoken. The UK is also has a robust financial and banking market, and one of the consequences of Brexit is a labor shortage across industries.
While Switzerland and the UK have historically been the go-to countries for financial professionals to find work abroad, the Netherlands is a fast-growing hub as well as Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Denmark.
Accounting professionals have a good chance of finding a job in Ireland—and you’ll get paid a pretty penny, too! Due to the shortage of professionals, accountants can earn €120,000 a year, along with bonuses and additional perks such as pensions, hybrid work, and annual increases in salary.
And, as icing on the cake, Ireland has one of the best work-life balances in Europe, with up to 42 weeks of maternity leave, 20 vacation days, and 10 public holidays. That’s more vacation time to see the rest of Europe while you work! Learn more about how to snag a work visa for Ireland if you’re an accountant or not.
According to an industry report, there is a major labor shortage in the healthcare sector in Europe. Similar to the education industry, more than half of current health care workers are expected to retire or leave early, creating over 11 million job openings!
Additionally, jobs are increasing due to demand driven by aging populations, increase in chronic conditions, and a higher awareness of wellness and health. The healthcare industry is a major employer in Europe and growing at a faster rate than other industries.
Therefore, if you have a medical, pharmaceutical, or healthcare background you’re in luck! There are jobs for US citizens in Europe that you can apply to. Many hospitals and wellness facilities are willing to sponsor your work visas, as long as you meet their criteria.
The best places to look are with global medical staffing agencies, foreign and multi-national pharmaceutical and biomedical companies, US military bases abroad, and intergovernmental organizations like the United Nations and NGOs such as Doctors Without Borders and CARE International.
There are also job openings in the medical research and technology sector for pharmacists, engineers, epidemiologists, and analysts who can push forward new products or breakthroughs. And if you’re a travel nurse, did you know that international travel nursing is a thing?!
European jobs for US citizens
While getting hired in Europe isn’t a cake walk there are some factors that are in your favor: growing industries that have thousands of new job openings for skilled workers, work visas for Europe that facilitate fast-tracking qualified candidates and labor shortages across the continent.
While you still have to put in the work on your job search—gathering requirements, and finding openings that suit your background—you now have a solid starting point. The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, and we hope this information can help you take the first concrete action to finding getting a job in Europe as an American!
If you need more help navigating a move abroad, join the next Move Abroad After 30 Masterclass. This 4-day LIVE Masterclass with help you understand how YOU can move abroad on your terms.