I am almost finished with my masters and have few job offers. I did a lot of research when I started applying for jobs and found out many things and realized many mistakes I did but also many opportunities which is open out there where I can work and earn and have fun,
European Union is huge and diverse and there are a lots of countries where you can move to after finishing your masters. Even though the VISA you have or get after finishing your masters is a job search visa , which is valid for 18 months (if you have graduated from Germany or else it varies from 6 months to 1 year) you can convert it to a work visa or blue card depending upon your salary and your employer. If your salary is more than 48,000 (for someone who has not graduated from a German university ) or 38,000 (For someone who has graduated from a German University) then after probation period you get a blue card for 2 years to work and stay in European Union. With this blue card you can work like a normal European citizen with no work restrictions every year. In one of the previous blog post I had mentioned the best countries around the world where you can immigrate and settle easily.
But in this blog post I will list out the top five countries to work and settle (if you want to) based on different criteria. The criteria based on which I compared these countries were Average Salary, Number Of Jobs, Language Requirements, Cost of Living, Taxes , Social Life/Environment, Other Expenditures, Facilities. Here are my top five countries according to me based on all the criteria I considered and evaluated.
1)Switzerland- For me Swiss comes out as the best place in Europe to work and live. Before I put forth my points why it is the best I must also remind that Switzerland has been rated consistently as one of the most livable and peaceful countries in the world.Now moving on , Switzerland has quite low taxes compared to German Standards. The tax here ranges from 12-18% which is quite quite low compared to other countries. The Swiss people are paid quite heavy with almost thrice the income than countries like Germany, France etc.But This is contrary to the cost of the living which is quite expensive. I will use the term Döner Index to compare the cost where Döner is a fast food from Turkey which you can find anywhere around the Europe while travelling. So one Döner here costs 9-12 Swiss Frances (Swiss Frances and Euros are almost same at present). So yes it is very expensive and also the items in supermarkets are quite pricey.Transportation is amazing and some of the best I have seen but again expensive but modes of transport are quite limited with mostly Train taking over the entire load so a car is must have for travelling in and out of Swiss. The number of jobs are not as high as some of the other countries specially Germany but still unemployment rate is quite low and industries like Pharmacies and Health Care are booming. Engineering jobs are mostly distributed in bigger cities like Bern, Zurich and Geneva with lots of software companies in Zurich. Switzerland as a country is quite International with three major spoken languages ( German, French and Italian) and also English is spoken by most of the people. Country is beautiful with lots of natural scenes and natural beauties surrounded by mountains and lakes and is considered one of the most beautiful countries in the world with very less pollution. I would rate Switzerland low on facilities though, since there is not much going on here and nothing much happening for fun ( even open airs or festivals or music shows are limited). I would say the quality of life is good but still some people might find it boring specially if they don't speak the predominant language of the province they are living it (there is German, French and Italian spoken areas). But overall it is just amazing and best place to live and stay/settle. Also, if you want to start a new company (GmbH in German) than it is much cheaper (around 5000 euros cheaper) in Swiss than in Germany due to low taxes in all the commodities and overall taxes are low anyway. If you are able to save money out of your huge salary then you can travel to other nearby countries and have so much fun as well. And there is a possibility to learn languages here with local people (although Swiss German is crazy different than the GERMAN German).
2)Germany- Living in Germany is as good as in Switzerland depending on your situation. Lots and lots of jobs with the boom of engineering startups and companies everywhere Germany is the place to be right now. Low crime rates similar to Switzerland and low cost of living ( except the rent which is drastic in bigger cities like Munich/Hamburg) makes Germany quite ideal. So the Döner index here is 2.5-4.5 euros. I have not paid more than 4.5 euros for a Döner in Germany.The salary is not much compared to Switzerland but because of low cost of living it is justified. So if you are earning around 2000 euros in Germany after taxes you will earn 5000-6000 in Swiss after taxes. Did I just mention taxes? Ok so the taxes in Germany is a mind boggling 42%.Yes you read it right. It's almost half of what you had earned with your sheer hard work. If you are married and have kids this tax reduces a bit but hell that's not convincing enough. Transportation is again amazing (but sometimes the DB Bahn guys go for strikes and your life turns to hell) but what I found the best part was the bus connections. The bus in Germany is super cheap and connecting all major and minor cities unlike Switzerland where you don't have such bus facilities (MeinFern/Flixbus, DeinBus, PostBus, MegaBus etc). The flights are amazing and if you live in Frankfurt then all the super cheap flights are nearby your city even though Frankfurt as a city sucks big time. All the major companies around the world definitely having their base in one of the German cities for sure. Not to mention the numerous German Engineering companies which originated from here have most of the job and tasks done in here (BMW, Audi, Bosch, Siemens and many other electrical appliances). Not only engineering but other fields have a lot of jobs as well specially the big cities. Germany as a country is quite good and there are lot of activities to do , lot of stuff going on all the time (depends on the city) and some cities are quite amazing and beautiful ( Munich , Köln, Berlin is amazing). In my opinion if you have a satisfactory job and good salary and lifestyle then stick to Germany. Again learning German is quite easy here and specially if you live in a smaller city since according to my experience most of the Germans are not that good with their English and constantly try to speak in German to others.
3) United Kingdom-
The UK comes third in the list because of it's one of the few advantages over other European countries. First is the language. English is the primary language used everywhere ( even though there are lots and lots of different accents) and rarely you will find any industry or job where you might have to speak arabic or something (unless if you are a translator). Again there are lots of jobs (but mostly people from European Union are entitled to them who can speak English since for Non-Eu people visa sponsorship is next to impossible) in almost every major field and also every major company from around the globe definitely have their base at UK (thanks also to its close proximity to USA and other Eastern European countries). Cost of living fluctuates heavily depending upon whether you live in big cities (London for example) or smaller cities and cheaper places (Liverpool for example). Still the rent and cost of living is quite high I think and the salary is not that great. Average salary ranges around 30,000 pounds ( only if you are working in a highly qualified profession like engineering,medicine etc) for a fresh graduate and sometimes even less. Transportation system is just amazing and bus network is one of the cheapest I have ever seen ( I could find tickets for 1 pounds many times). Taxes are generally lower than European standards with average tax ranging around 20% (for an average pay). Now coming to Döner index. The cost of a Döner ranges from 3 to 6 pounds depending on the city you are living. Which is quite a good price and considered cheap ( 6 pounds is expensive but this is only for very expensive cities like Oxford, London , Cambridge etc). Overall the quality of life is really good and lot of multiculturalism going on and even in highly paced life in cities like London you can have fun owing to lots of concerts , activities and recreational stuff. Not to mention the flights from London to other European Countries are generally cheap thanks to advent of low cost airlines like Raynair, Norwegian etc. If you are a graduate then you do get a limited time visa to search for visa and if you are from a STEM branch (Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine) then you have a good chance to secure a job. IF you live in a big city the chances of natural beauty and sight seeing is limited but living in a smaller city or town you can still enjoy some hobby hiking and diving activities. UK would have been at a much better position but the economical recession has hit it harder than the most and thus suffers a lot in this comparison.
The flying dutch is back and takes the fourth spot. Netherlands is quite amazing and infact comes behind Germany only because the number of jobs in Netherlands is much less compared to Germany but still the employment rate is quite high and amazing here. Even though Dutch is the official language , most of the poople can speak English and are as good as native speakers thanks to the changing culture there and the influence of Hollywood and English music industry. Again jobs are quite high specially in the field of science and engineering. Unemployment rate as of 2015 was at meager 7% and has one of the best universities for mechanical and electrical engineering ( Many students from Netherlands specially from Mechanical engineering after graduation work at top tier automotive companies in Germany directly). Dutch is a different language but easy to pick up if you speak German (Deutsche) and vice versa. Döner index is quite good and ranges from 3 to 4 euros (sometimes more but still cheaper). After graduation students get a visa for 6 months which is not so long but usually enough to get a job and it is always useful if you speak the local language. English is used primarily used in most of the international companies and many companies have set their bases in Netherlands ( but still not as much as in German or UK). The average salary in Netherlands is around 30000 euros per year for a masters graduate and more depending upon the career and company as well.The taxation is huge at 42% for average salary but still the cost of living is not expensive as it can get in Germany.The country as a whole is just amazing with loads of activities and stuff to do and many popular tourists destination (Amsterdam as usual being the favorite). Some of the companies originated from Netherlands include Philips, Landfighter, Numico, DSM, KLM, Nuon etc.
Sweden comes fifth. Sweden astoundingly has huge number of jobs specially in the field of electronics/electrical and telecommunication engineering. In fact the number of job openings is so large now that the Swedish companies are becoming lenient and trying to incorporate English as the language of communication to attract more prospective employees. Big companies like ABB, Ericsson , IKEA, H&M, car giant Volvo, Scania, Gambro are some of the big companies born here and have loads of job openings. But the biggest problem is Swedish as the language of communication in companies. But now its changing which is a good sign but still loads of jobs require Swedish language proficiency. But for living and staying in Sweden , the language is not that important thanks to the influence of English language in the country. The next generation of Swedish nationals after 1990s are quite good in English and someone can reach the proficiency of native English speakers. This is due to the fact that most of the movies (Hollywood) being telecast-ed in TV are not dubbed (unlike in countries like Germany and Switzerland) and thus kids are learning English like they were born in the native countries it's spoken at. So no worries in that matter. Taxes are quite high in Sweden but still much lower than Germany and stands at 32% approximately. Döner index is similar to Germany and prices are around 3.5 to 5 euros depending on the city . Sweden as a country is beautiful but the climates are pretty average with heavy snowfall during winter and cold temperatures for around 7-8 months. But there are lots of festivals (they have snow festival in February) and quality of life is quite good (Sweden is also rated very good in the list of best countries to live). After graduation the work visa for job search is 6 months for non-Eu and usually if you have pursued Electronics/Communication Engineering then there is a good chance that your employer will apply for work permit for you. The salary in Sweden in average is quite good but don't expect salaries as high as Switzerland or Germany. The average salary in Sweden is around 25000 to 30000 SEK( Swiss Krona) per month which translates to 3000 euros per month before taxes. Which is quite good and enough for a country like Sweden.
I would probably rate Sweden and Netherlands to be quite similar in ranking and maybe whip in Austria at number 5th position since it's just an amazing country quite similar to Germany in many ways except tax which is quite low compared to Germany. Austria has amazing landscapes and loads of mountains and beautiful cities and again lots of jobs (but much less compared to Germany but still many German companies are in Austria thanks to it's close proximity) and good quality of life.
Comment here what do you think about this article and your suggestions and which Country according to you in Europe is the best to live and work in for.