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Germany tops list of non-English-speaking job destinations

April 24, 2024

Germany ranks as the most popular non-English-speaking country in the world as a destination for foreign workers, a study has shown. Berlin was among the most favored destinations.

A welder at a German company
The nature of the job offer was the most significant factor luring workers from abroadImage: Klaus-Dietmar Gabbert/dpa/picture alliance

Germany clinched the top spot among non-English-speaking countries in a ranking of the most popular countries in which to work published on Wednesday.

The market study "Decoding Global Talent" found Germany in fifth place, with primarily English-speaking nations making up all four most favored destinations.

What the figures showed about popular countries to work

The new international leader this year is Australia — ahead of the United States and Canada, which was the top-rated country in a 2020 ranking. Germany lost its fourth place in that study to the United Kingdom, but it remains the most popular non-English-speaking country.

Germany was seen as a particularly attractive destination country for those surveyed in Bosnia and Herzegovina (32%), Turkey (30%), and in Pakistan and Hungary (both 26%).

According to the study, conducted last December, around a quarter of people worldwide (23%) were actively looking for a job outside their home country.

The proportion of people open to going abroad for a job stands at 63%, slightly down from 66% in 2020 and far below 78% in 2018.  

Among those surveyed in Germany, the willingness to leave the country for a job was significantly lower.

Less than half would want to work abroad, and only just under 7% were actively looking for a job somewhere else.

The most popular destinations for German respondents were the country's Alpine neighbors of Switzerland and Austria, followed by the United States and Spain.

People's reasons for not wanting to move included an emotional connection to the country, security concerns, the language barrier, and a lack of knowledge about emigrating. 

What draws people to Germany?

The global study also showed that, in most cases, the specific job was the main lure rather than any particular advantage associated with a country. This also applies to Germany. For almost three-quarters of those surveyed who had moved to the country, job quality was the reason. 

Next came security (49%), monetary considerations (48%), potential to innovate (36%), and the German health care system (34%).

How much immigration does Germany need?

Among job seekers, 77% expected their future employers to give them significant help with the immigration process and applying for a visa and work permit. Such assistance could help address worker shortages, the authors noted.

"It is a huge opportunity that so many people want to move to Germany for a good job. Politics and business should work together even more closely in order to jointly promote more flexible and faster integration into the labor market," said Stepstone Group labor market expert Tobias Zimmermann, a co-author of the study.

What cities were most attractive?

On the scale of the most popular cities in the world, London was able to hang on to its first place in the ranking, followed by Amsterdam, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and New York.

Berlin came in 6th place and, for the first time, Frankfurt am Main appeared in the list as another attractive German city at number 40, followed by Munich in 41st place.

The study was published on Wednesday by the management consultancy firm Boston Consulting Group, the Stepstone recruitment platform, and recruitment agency umbrella group The Network. A total of 150,735 people took part in 188 countries, including 14,000 people in Germany. 

Edited by: Sean M. Sinico

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Richard Connor Reporting on stories from around the world, with a particular focus on Europe — especially Germany.