What is it like to work abroad?

Reasons to work abroad

Every year, an average of 180,000 Germans emigrate for a wide variety of reasons. Most of the time, however, the main reason for this is your own job or that of your partner.

In the globalized world, national borders are becoming less and less important, for companies as well as for employees and job seekers. In terms of careers, longer stays abroad have almost become a must these days - especially if you want to move towards management levels in the longer term. A high willingness to be mobile, good foreign language skills and intercultural experience give applicants significant competitive advantages these days.

Reasons for working abroad

Turning your back on the domestic job market - be it for a few years or forever - that is the dream of many people, whether they are still studying, in training, already working or still looking. A large-scale, international survey by the online job portal StepStone showed that seven out of ten German skilled workers are flirting with emigration. And indeed, the trend in recent years is increasingly pointing in this direction: more and more employees are turning their dreams into reality.

There are enough reasons for such a decision: First of all, of course, there may be specific job offers that lure you to a certain country. Or it is better working conditions, more attractive areas of responsibility, higher salaries or lower costs of living and taxes that motivate you to apply abroad. Perhaps you are also simply looking for a new challenge and want a change from everyday working life.

The German labor market does not offer rosy prospects for everyone, e.g. due to impending or existing unemployment, a poor financial situation or a high tax burden. For some professions, Germany has become particularly unattractive and the workforce has been and is being outsourced or saved.

This means that in Germany, even highly qualified people can find it difficult to find a job. In many other countries there is a shortage of such specialists and managers and the chances of finding a suitably paid job are far greater than at home. Highly qualified specialists in particular are therefore quite open to the international job market.

Incidentally, German workers enjoy a good reputation in many parts of the world: Attributes ascribed to Germans such as hard work, punctuality, discipline and orderliness may sound rather boring to your ears, but are attractive to employers. And an apprenticeship or a degree “Made in Germany” is also highly regarded abroad. This is particularly the case in the manual trades.

Surveys repeatedly show that many Germans perceive the traditional hierarchies in their country to be very rigid. In some countries, such as Canada or Australia, on the other hand, there are flatter hierarchies that make the working atmosphere more pleasant. At the same time, they enable better opportunities for more responsibility in the job. The opportunities and requirements for setting up a business or self-employment are also better in some countries than in Germany.

Many Germans are driven abroad by the desire to accelerate their careers with an international job and to develop an attractive profile. Either they plan to strictly pursue their careers abroad or they rely on being particularly attractive for the German job market when they return. It is well known that HR professionals value applicants who have international experience and additional intercultural qualifications. These include, for example, sound foreign language skills, communication skills, open-mindedness, experience in dealing with people from another cultural area and international contacts. Anyone who has worked abroad as a minority for a while also changes their own perspective on Germany and thinks more globally. This is also an advantage for domestic companies.

It is not uncommon for personal reasons that make a significant contribution to the desire to emigrate: e.g. a long-distance relationship with which they could finally move in together or better job and educational opportunities for the children or the partner. Not to be forgotten, of course, are the charms of the country, the region or the city itself: a certain climate, a charming landscape, special leisure and cultural opportunities, etc. - many people who want to emigrate see this as an enormous increase in their quality of life.