Europe's American dream: US most popular destination for Europeans seeking work abroad

Europe has an American dream. According to Intelligence Group research, Europeans seeking work abroad view the US as their preferred country of choice to work in. Find out who ranks in the top 10 in the rest of this article. 

Victoria Egba on August 10, 2023 Average reading time: 4 min
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Europe's American dream: US most popular destination for Europeans seeking work abroad

Working abroad is still an exciting phenomenon for some Europeans, and their reasons for desiring to work abroad differs. According to research by Intelligence Group, the opportunity to have a better standard of living, gain experience, get to know different cultures, and earn better salaries are the top pull factors. As a result, it attracts Europeans to work abroad. These are the top 10 countries destinations for them to work in.

#1: United States 

The United States is the most popular country for Europeans when it comes to talents working abroad for a short or long period. According to the Intelligence Group research, 28.6% of respondents in Europe expressed a strong desire to work/live in the United States.

The US advancement especially in the tech, among other industries is a good enough reason for those in white-collar jobs to desire relocation. 32.4% of talents in white-collar jobs share the desire to work abroad, compared to 25.4% in blue-collar jobs.  

#2: Germany 

Germany is an appealing destination for work for 23.8% of talents looking to work abroad. However, there has been a slight decline compared to the previous year, as in 2021, 24.6% expressed a desire to work in Germany. 

The country’s labour market is well-established and places a strong emphasis on workers’ rights, fair wages, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.  

The desire to work in Europe decreases over age across different age groups, with 24.1% of individuals in their 30s, 23.9% between 30 and 50 years old, and 23.0% above 50 years old showing a preference for working in Germany.  

#3: Spain 

Despite the possible language barrier, Europeans that want to work abroad are choosing Spain as the third most popular country to relocate to for job opportunities. Currently, 21.0% express a desire to relocate to Spain, which marks an increase compared to 2021 when the figure stood at 20.1%. 

Companies in Spain are known to offer more vacation days compared to other European countries and typically have a flexible work structure. They also provide better healthcare insurance, leave, childcare, and other employee benefits compared to most European countries. These perks are likely what attracts 21.9% of blue-collar workers that want to work abroad to desire going to Spain compared to 19.9% of white-collar job workers.  

#4: United Kingdom 

The UK has consistently acted as a magnet for talents from all corners of Europe, luring professionals from diverse fields due to its enticing job opportunities. An impressive 20.8% of Europeans wish to relocate to the UK in pursuit of career prospects. This desire has grown compared to previous years, as in 2021, 19.8% expressed a desire to work in the UK.

#5: France

France is a popular country for job opportunities and investment across the globe. In fact, in 2020, it was ranked as the most attractive country in Europe for foreign investors. This popularity is reflected in the fact that 14.7% of Europeans express a desire to work in France, highlighting the appeal of its abundant opportunities.

Although there has been a slight decrease compared to the previous year when 17.7% desired to work in France, the country’s allure remains strong.

#6: Canada

Europeans are increasingly drawn to Canada for work opportunities, as it ranks sixth on our list of desirable destinations, with 17.1% of Europeans considering relocating for employment. However, the trend towards seeking employment in Canada has notably slowed. Intelligence Group studies project that by 2021, 19.2% of people will want to work in Canada, up from the current 17.1%.

#7: Australia

Australia has historically attracted settlers from Britain and other European countries, and this trend continues to this day. Based on Intelligence Group research, 16.8% of Europeans express a desire to work in Australia, making it the 7th most popular country among Europeans that want to work abroad. However, in 2021, Australia was ranked as the 3rd most popular country for Europeans with 20.3% desiring to work there.  

#8: Italy

Italy is rich in both culture and diverse opportunities. The Intelligence Group data shows it ranks as the 8th most popular country for work relocation in Europe. Italy is home to various sectors, including fashion, automotive, design, finance, and manufacturing. Overall, 14.7% of the surveyed group desire to work in Italy, a slight increase when compared to 2021, where 13.7% wanted to work in Europe.  

It seems the country has more appeal among women (17.6%) compared to men (12.8%) which could be because of the alluring fashion industry in Italy.  

#9: Switzerland

Switzerland is an immensely attractive destination for immigration due to its exceptional quality of life, abundant work opportunities, advanced healthcare facilities, and breathtaking natural beauty. Currently, approximately 1.4 million EU citizens have chosen Switzerland as their home, constituting around 16% of the total population. It holds the impressive rank of being the 9th most sought-after country by Europeans who want to work abroad, with 12.6% expressing a strong desire to work there.  

Interestingly, this aspiration is more prevalent among individuals above 50 years of age, with 13.8% sharing this desire, compared to 11.6% among those in their 30s. The OECD reported Switzerland to have one of the highest employment rates for older employees, further enhancing its appeal as an ideal place to work and settle down.

#10: Austria

Austria is ranked as the second most liveable country in the world, and its capital, Vienna constantly ranks as one of the most liveable cities in Europe. Based on the research, 10.8% rank Austria as the 10th most popular country to Europeans to work internationally.  

However, when compared to the desire to work in other European countries, there appears to be a slight decline in overall preference. In 2021, the desire to work in Austria stood at 11.5%, indicating a marginal decrease. 

Top 10 countries for Europeans to work in

2022 Vs 2021 

Rank  2022  2021 
#1  United States  United States 
#2  Germany  Germany 
#3  Spain  Australia 
#4  United Kingdom  Spain 
#5  France  United Kingdom 
#6  Canada  Canada 
#7  Australia  France 
#8  Italy  Italy 
#9  Switzerland  Switzerland 
#10  Austria  Austria 

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