The coronavirus crisis has decimated the UK’s labour market, with the country suffering the worst jobs outlook in the whole of Europe. More employers are planning to let go of staff than hire them in the first three months of 2021, and only 49% expect their hiring to return to pre-pandemic levels in the next year. British businesses are also suffering from the effects of Brexit, with many planning to move operations overseas because of complications resulting from the new arrangements.
All of this appears to be filtering down to workers and their decisions going forward, especially those at the beginning of their careers. Indeed, Brexit and the Covid-19 situation combined has prompted 1 in 3 young Brits to consider leaving the country for work. In particular, those coming out of university may wonder if starting their career here is the best option right now. And with a number of neighbouring nations seemingly in a better position than the UK, looking for jobs in other European countries might be the way forward. That’s why we’ve looked at three of the best for graduates to consider below.
Talking of Brexit, the flow of businesses moving to the Netherlands as a result remained high in 2020, with Amsterdam becoming one of Europe’s most popular business hubs. The Dutch capital is set to become the continent’s number one corporate listing venue in 2021, and has already overtaken London as Europe’s largest share trading centre. Moreover, the Netherlands as a whole has an unemployment rate of 3.6%, a much lower figure than the UK’s 5%. As such, the Western European nation is the first place British graduates should be considering moving to for work, especially as it had Europe’s third-highest pre-Covid graduate employment rate.
Arguably the best industry to work for in the Netherlands is the tech sector, with its startups providing the country’s number one job growth engine. Compared to all other industries, tech job openings were up by 4% in Q2 2020, compared to 2019. The country boasts a huge array of tech companies to work for, from industry giants like SAP, to smaller businesses such as LALALand and ChannelEngine. Another fertile ground for work is the healthcare sector, which added 108,000 jobs since 2017, and still had the second highest number of vacancies at the end of September 2020.
Malta has handled the economic fallout of the pandemic very well, offering the world’s largest support measures by percentage of GDP. The nation’s spending package totalled 22% of its economy, much higher than the likes of the US (14%), Australia (11.4%) and the UK (5%). This has resulted in only a marginal increase in unemployment there, though. The country is expected to enjoy employment growth of 0.5% in 2021 and 2.2% by 2022, in huge contrast to most other nations around the world. Consequently, Malta’s future prospects look excellent, and could be the perfect place for graduates to relocate. Indeed, the country was ranked the number one place for European graduates pre-Covid.
One of the best Maltese industries to work in is the financial sector, which accounts for over 12% of its GDP, and employs over 10,000 people. The country is internationally renowned for its blue chip banks, investment houses and fund managers, and its financial sector looks set to withstand the pandemic. Meanwhile the tech sector contributes almost 9% of Malta’s GDP, and actually saw a rise in demand during the first six months of the coronavirus crisis. Some of the top Malta tech startups include Solfy, Quidax and EBO.ai.
Another European country that has dealt with the coronavirus better than most is Sweden. Although its economy did contract 8.6% in the first three months of the crisis, this was significantly lower than the EU average (11.9%), and major countries like Spain (18.5%), France (13.8%) and Italy (12.4%). And while unemployment has risen during the pandemic, there are signs that the job market is once again on the up. For example, 36,000 people who registered with the country’s national employment agency started a new job in August 2020 — almost 9,000 more than in August 2019 — and around 29,000 of those were previously unemployed. As a result, Sweden represents a economically stable option right now, which is why graduates should consider the Scandinavian state when looking for jobs after university.
The country’s main source of employment is its industrial sector, which employs 17.7% of its workforce and accounts for over a fifth of its GDP. Among the big name companies are Volvo, Ericsson and H&M, with opportunities in a range of different roles within the sector. Another major industry in Sweden is the service sector, which employs over a third of the country’s workers.