A glance at the workforce in Europe

  • people walking to work
Published 4 months ago

Prosperous economies, abundant career prospects, and great cultural diversity make Europe one of the best places in the world for work. In fact, the continent has been attracting foreign professionals from all around the world for many years. The Workforce View in Europe 2018 analyses current mobility trends and challenges faced by the European workforce. If you're looking to work in Europe, here's an insight into this report published by ADP.

Most attractive countries for European professionals

Frankfurt, Germany

While many professionals turn to North America, especially to Canada and the USA, for better career prospects, Germany remains the top destination for work in Europe according to 23% of respondents. It also seems like Brexit has little effect on the UK labour market as evidenced by its 5% rise in attractiveness compared to last year. In fact, investments in major cities in the UK have been on the rise for the past year.

It's also worth noting that some countries's attractiveness depends on different nationalities. For example, the UK looks more welcoming to the Spanish, while the French, Swiss, and British prefer North America. Germans, for their part, prefer neighbouring countries like Austria and Switzerland, probably due to their cultural and linguistic similarities, not to mention the quality of living. Also, while Germany attracts Italians and Poles in large numbers, Belgium remains a top destination for the Dutch.

Current trends

business trip

For many years, Europeans have been considered as adventurous, especially when it comes to working. However, the report shows a reversed trend with only 6% of respondents planning to work abroad in the two coming years. At the same time, 27% of respondents consider working abroad soon.

Italian professionals are the most likely to seek new professional opportunities elsewhere in Europe followed by the French, while the Swiss are less interested in moving. In the Netherlands, only 3% of respondents consider working abroad, and this is without any doubt due to their favourable working conditions in Switzerland along with a range of benefits.

On the other hand, industry, sales, communication, and marketing are the sectors with the highest turnover (18%) in Europe. If you have the required qualifications and skills and are looking to work in Europe, you could try your luck in any of these fields.


happy employees

A stable economy and dynamic labour market contribute to making Europe a safe and promising place to work. Therefore, only 13% of European employees are planning to quit their job in the coming year. The Dutch seem to be the most loyal employees with 37% of them planning to pursue their career with the same employer until they retire. Italians, Germans, and the French would be the least loyal employees.

Across the continent, 79% of respondents seem optimistic regarding their career in their home country due to economic growth and low unemployment rates, which explains a slower professional mobility rate.


young Arab woman

Moving overseas has never been an easy decision to make, regardless of your country of origin or your new destination. The culture shock is one of the most critical factors to take into account when considering your move. As evidenced by the survey, one on five respondents is reluctant to move due to cultural and linguistic barriers. In fact, moving abroad for work implies not only adapting to new cultures and lifestyles but also learning new languages, which is now one of the essential criteria to join the global workforce.

Discrimination is another barrier to European mobility even though employers are legally required to ensure the equal treatment of their employees. In general, discrimination based on religious beliefs, national origins, gender, age, and sexual orientation is higher in Italy (42%) than in France, Spain, and the UK (37%). On the other hand, discrimination is at its lowest in the Netherlands (21%).

Employees' wellbeing

stressed employee

Stress, being unfortuntately a part of the professional life, can have serious consequences both for employers and employees, leading to low motivation and productivity, and high absenteeism. Over the past year, there was a 5% rise in the stress level in Europe, with one in five employees suffering from stress. Moreover, 30% of respondents said they are so stressed that they are considering looking for a new job elsewhere soon.

Today, Poland is the European country with the highest stress level (27%) followed by France and the UK. Italian professionals are the most likely to quit their job due to stress. The Netherlands, for its part, has the lowest stress rate with one in ten employees suffering from stress on a daily basis. In fact, according to the latest Better Life Index published by the OECD, the Netherlands provides the best work-life balance in the world.

At the same time, 14% of respondents believe that their employers do not care about their mental health and this has a significant impact on their motivation, commitment, and productivity. Only 6% of respondents believe that their employers are making efforts to improve their mental well-being at work. Once again, Dutch employees are the most satisfied, with efforts made by their employer to ensure their psychological well-being, unlike Poles.


young freelancer

Self-employment is an interesting option for those looking to escape all these challenges, but also for a better living. Following a sharp rise during the past few years, self-employment in Europe has now slowed down by 8% compared to 2017. Italians are the most likely to choose self-employment, followed by the British. In the Netherlands, on the other hand, only 10% of employees are considering self-employment in the coming years.