Top Countries To Get A Job In After Studying There

Which are the best countries for graduate employability? And how hard is it for someone who’s studied abroad in that country to take advantage of it? We investigate.

Jump to finding a job after studying inUKUS, Germany, France, Australia, China, Canada

A recent report by higher education data experts QS found that the single biggest factor that students consider when choosing a university is their chance of landing a good job when they complete their course. With increasing numbers of students opting to study abroad, and many intending to work abroad in the same country when they graduate, a crucial consideration is the strength of the employment market for degree-holders.

In the 2015 Times Higher Education employability rankings, which measures graduate prospects for each major university around the world, the top 50 places were dominated by universities in just a handful of countries. The US and UK took most of the top spots, and the only other countries to have a significant presence in the table were France, Germany, Australia, China and Canada.

But universities that boast good links to industry and a strong reputation with local employers is only part of the equation for international students. There are many other considerations too, such as visa restrictions or finding accommodation. Even for students who study in their home country, finding a job after college is no small feat. There are important questions such as how the cost of living compares with the average salary in an industry to go along  with consideration of the state of the graduate job market.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the top countries for graduate employability, with the key information you need if you’re thinking about staying on to work abroad there after your degree. 

Study and work abroad in the UK

Visas

New rules mean that it’s getting tougher for international graduates hoping to work in the UK to stay on after university. You’ll normally need an employer to sponsor you and pay a salary of over £20,800 per year. You can find out more about this and other types of working visa in the UK here.

The job market

Graduate work prospects have started to improve recently across the UK and the overall employment rate for graduates after 6 months has now reached around 70%. But the country still has a very competitive job market, which is in part due to the amount of graduates who apply for a limited number of skilled jobs. 

Cost of living

The UK can be a very expensive place to live, particularly in London, where rents are extremely high. Those on graduate salaries in the capital should anticipate living in a houseshare with other young professionals.

The student view

Andrew Orton, who studied History at the University of Durham, says even with a First-Class Honours degree, it wasn’t easy to find work. “My experience was that for the jobs I really wanted, I was struggling to get interviews. There was plenty of other work for graduates with a good degree, but it seemed to be in things like marketing or IT. It took me around seven months to find a job, though I probably could have got work much faster if I had been more flexible with my career path.”

If you want to take a closer look at living and working in the UK after studying there we cover the options in more detail here:

How To Live And Work In The UK After Studying There

Study and work abroad in the US

Visas

It can be difficult to stay on and work in the US after you study there. There is no working holiday visa programme (like the type UK citizens can use in Australia and New Zealand) and, crucially, you’ll need to have a job offer in place before even applying for a visa.

The job market

Unemployment rates in the US are currently low, and the graduate employment rate is the best it’s been in years. Average salaries are also up. But that isn’t to say good work is always easy to find; many grads still report spending months searching for their first position.

Cost of living

Costs in the US, particularly for accommodation, vary wildly, depending on where you go. You can easily pay over $3,000 per month for an apartment in New York, whereas a similar apartment in Houston may cost a third of that, for example.

The student view

Fiona Pasha, a law graduate in Texas, says she found work quite easily, and is now able to work remotely while she travels the country. “I found a great job as soon as I passed the Bar, but I was lucky to have a specialised skill,” she says. “For graduates from more general subjects, I think it can be tougher to get well paid work.”

If you want to take a closer look at living and working in the US after studying there we cover the options in more detail here:

How To Live And Work In The US After Studying There

Study and work abroad in Germany

Visas

For EU nationals, Germany is a great choice as there are no restrictions and all EU citizens have the right to work there. For those outside of Europe, it can be much tougher, as you can usually only work in Germany if the position cannot be filled by a worker from the EU, or if you are highly skilled or highly qualified in a particular field.

The job market

Germany has a healthy job market for well-educated young people, although your prospects increase significantly if you can speak German fluently. Graduates who are seeking English-speaking jobs may find positions are in very high demand. Unemployment is generally low in Germany, but university leavers may have better luck in western Germany, as unemployment rates are higher in the east.

Cost of living

Germany can be surprisingly cheap to live in, though less so in Munich and the west of the country. Housing can be very reasonable, though in trendy Berlin, rents are rising quickly.

The student view

Helen Jones, 22, is a recent graduate from the Freie Universität, Berlin. She says: “Berlin was a great place to study and I love it here. It’s so much cheaper than London (where I’m from) and the nightlife is amazing. My German is quite good but I’m not fluent yet, so many people here speak to me in English. I’m mostly looking for English-speaking positions in social media and marketing. I haven’t found a job yet, but have only been searching a few months and have already had a few interviews.”

Study and work abroad in France

Visas

Like in Germany, EU nationals are usually able to work in France without a visa. Those from outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland will need a company to sponsor their visa application. Applicants usually need to show they can make a ‘significant contribution’ to the French economy, based on their skills or education.

The job market

The graduate job market is saturated and can be tough to break into without fluency in French. However, Paris is becoming a major haven for start-up companies from around the world, which could offer the opportunity to get in on the ground floor and see your career blossom as the company grows.

Cost of living

Prices in France are roughly equatable to other countries in western Europe, such as Germany, Belgium or the UK. Costs are higher in large cities such as Paris, Lyon and Marseille.

The student view
Harry Cole, from Exeter, UK, studied French in Paris. He says: “Paris is the most amazing place to be a student. Fees are low, the unis are great and the culture and food is amazing. Sadly I had to return to the UK as the job prospects in my chosen field of media weren’t that great, even in Paris.”

Study and work abroad in Australia

Visas

International grads can work in Australia for a year as a working holiday (apply online at immi.gov.au), though there is usually a fee for the visa, and you’ll have to prove you have sufficient funds in your bank account to sustain yourself. Long-term job sponsorship is available where no-one Australian can be found to fill a position.

The job market

The youth unemployment rate is double the national average and competition for good jobs is intense. Recent figures found that just 68% of grads from the class of 2014 had full-time work within four months of graduating – the lowest since records began in 1982. However, some skills are in demand, and those studying medicine, nursing, veterinary science or mining engineering should easily find work.

Cost of living

In general, you might expect to pay more for most things than in the UK or the US, for example. A one-bed apartment in a major city could set you back over US$1500 per month. Wages are normally good though, especially for graduates.

The student view

Andrew Jackson, a journalism graduate of the University of Sydney who is originally from the US, says: “Since graduating I’ve been travelling around the country, working in bars, which pays surprisingly well. Soon I want to get going with my dream career, which is travel writing, but I’m not sure if I’ll carry on living here to pursue that, move home or maybe to somewhere like Burma or Thailand.”

Study and work abroad in China

Visas

Graduates will need an amusingly named ‘work permit for aliens’ to work in China, as well as an official invitation, and an employer who is accredited to employ foreigners. You’ll also need to pay application fees, which may total over US$150 dollars.

The job market

For English speakers, job opportunities will mostly be in cities such Beijing and Shanghai – the business and industrial hubs of the country. Many multi-national companies have their Asian headquarters in one of these east coast locations – as well as in Hong Kong and other locations such as Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Tianjin.

In Hong Kong, jobs are widely accessible to English speakers. The job market is competitive, with locals and international graduates all applying for positions. English speakers with some work experience stand a good chance of getting a job in media, accountancy or banking and finance.

Cost of living

Living in China is generally much cheaper than the West, though rent prices can be expensive in large cities and in particular, Hong Kong.

The student view

Daniel Cheung, a final-year student at Hong Kong Baptist University, says: “Hong Kong is like a gateway to many different parts of the world, and a melting pot of cultures. It’s a fascinating place to study and I’m hoping to stay here and work in finance when I graduate.”

Study and work abroad in Canada

Visas

Working visas are available to adults aged under 35, with the International Experience Canada programme. Apply online at cic.gc.ca/experience (there is usually a fee). You will also have to show you have more than C$2,500 in your bank account.

The job market

Unemployment in Canada currently stands at just under 7%. Bilingual people (with English and French) are always in demand. The economy in Canada currently has an uncertain outlook, and it is currently an employer’s market, with unemployment likely to rise over the next year or so.

Cost of living

In Canadian cities, the cost of living is quite reasonable compared to other western countries – the UK is around 25% more expensive, for example. The currency isn’t as strong as it once was, so some cities, such as Vancouver, may seem expensive compared to much of North America. Average salaries are reasonably high, so a good quality of life is achievable.

The student view

Scott Gough, from Manchester, UK, studied in Canada and now works at Ubisoft in Toronto. He says: “I couldn’t have been more pleased about my decision to study in Canada. I didn’t have getting a job in mind when I enrolled here, but actually I found work quite easily when I left university, and am enjoying having a job in an area I’m interested in.”

    7 Responses

    1. I would like to study in Australia but needs a sponsor of which I can as well pay back. Thanks in anticipation.

    2. I’d love to study in Canada…
      I don’t know around your website,please show me an analytic and well detailed article on how I can study and work in Canada as an undergraduate(international) student…thank you!!!

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