After his March 2011 layoff, Jeff, 53, a processing engineer from Seattle, searched for employment throughout the U.S. without success. The economic downturn and subtle trends of age discrimination combined to reduce Jeff’s prospects to fast food restaurants and selling books door-to-door.
At the edge of a cliff, Jeff had a brainstorm. He turned his sights towards the overseas job market. Living in Europe had been a lifelong dream and the recent layoff presented a good time to pursue job opportunities abroad. Through online research Jeff found lucrative job possibilities for engineers in Europe. He withdrew his savings and booked a flight to London.
“The possibilities are abundant,” Jeff said excitedly in a recent phone conversation. “I don’t get the dubious looks I used to get when an employer noticed my age. They seem to be more interested in my skills and experience.”
The move paid off for Jeff. He is now employed full time as an engineer with an established company in London. He is making £57,500 or $70,000 in U.S. dollars annually. This is an increase of $12,000 over his salary in the U.S. The cost of living in London is comparable to the U.S. as well For example, the average person will spend about £40 on groceries in a week; this equates to $50 in U.S. currency.
The overseas job market is an unexplored frontier. Traveling around the world has become expedient and affordable. Communication worldwide is now user-friendly. The global acceptance of cultural differences has made moving to a new territory more inviting.
Other occupations that afford easy transfer to the international stage are teaching, photography, construction, writing and agricultural related positions. Application instructions for legitimate overseas jobs found online are usually thorough. It is important to follow guidelines as requested and adhere to the standards in the area. Do not be inhibited by the language in the area if it is different from your native tongue. Most employers who advertise globally do not demand that applicants speak the language of the area. Unless specified, it should not be assumed that you must be fluent in the language of the country.
When contemplating a job in a foreign country, it is helpful to visit the area first to become familiar with the customs and lifestyle. The new job will not occupy all of your time and it is important to be comfortable during your time away from work. A visit to your prospective new home will give you an opportunity to observe the climate, the cuisine, shopping and customs.
For most people in the U.S., the job market in a foreign country is still uncharted territory. However, with dwindling employment opportunities and a trend toward changing careers, researching the overseas job market can have a surprisingly beneficial outcome.