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How to get an engineering job in Europe: countries, professions, documents

Moving and starting a career, especially in a new country, can be exciting and a bit overwhelming. If you're thinking of working as an engineer in Europe, there's a lot to consider: visa rules, job hunting websites, and understanding different European cultures. We've put together this article to help you out.

Last time updated
22.06.24

Europe stands as a coveted destination for expatriates, drawn to its rich cultural tapestry, historical allure, and elevated quality of life. Today, an increasing number of individuals are setting their sights on the Old Continent for employment, driven either by economic challenges in their home countries or the promise of higher salaries. Whether embarking on this journey right out of school, armed with a diploma, or seeking new horizons with years of professional experience, making the move to Europe marks a pivotal moment in one's life.

Decide where you want to live and work in Europe

Before embarking on the job hunt, the crucial first step is deciding where you want to live and work. If you haven't earned your diploma yet, consider exploring locations where you'd like to both study and eventually build your career.

Education and employment are closely intertwined, as obtaining a degree in a specific country often facilitates easier access to its job market. For instance, if you pursue studies in France, finding employment in the same country is likely to be more straightforward compared to navigating job markets in unfamiliar territories like Sweden or Finland, where you lack contacts, cultural familiarity, and language proficiency.

Decision deadline?

It's essential to assess your desired work location early on, but it's not an absolute prerequisite. With a diploma or work experience in hand, you can still venture into new horizons. Regardless of your situation, various factors come into play some personal and subjective, such as your affinity for a particular country's culture, language preferences, or climatic inclinations. On the objective front, factors like a country's quality of life and salary levels for your profession are crucial considerations.

Countries with the highest salaries for engineers in EU in 2024

Switzerland takes the lead as the highest-paying country for engineers worldwide, with salaries exceeding 100,000 euros annually. Following closely is Luxembourg, offering an equally impressive figure surpassing 90,000 euros. Denmark and Belgium secure the next spots with average salaries comfortably exceeding 80,000 euros.

While subjective considerations on the matter of where you want to land in Europe to work as engineer require personal reflection, we recommend reading our articles that can further aid in the decision-making process. Further we will review each of the top countires in detail from a perspective of working there as an engineer.

Best cities to live and work in Europe
Best places to live in Europe
Countries with the highest salaries

Learn the required languages and get a degree (BE and BTech)

Once you've decided the destination, the next steps involve obtaining an engineering degree if you don't already have one and learning the necessary languages.

Is English enough?

First and foremost is English, a prerequisite for most positions in the majority of countries. However, it's not the sole language requirement. While many roles can be accessed with proficient English, several positions demand fluency in the local language. Therefore, it's crucial to take the initiative and start learning the language of your future destination if you aim to work there.

Language
Job
Europe
Highest paying and accsessible country
Languages spoken in Luxembourg

What degree is required to be an engineer?

To embark on an engineering career, one typically begins with a strong foundation in mathematics, physics, and chemistry during high school, often participating in science-related extracurricular activities.

This is followed by enrolling in one of the streams of the bachelor's degree program, where the first year covers general engineering concepts before specializing:
Bachelor of Engineering (BE)
Traditionally more theory-based, often emphasizes a deeper understanding of engineering theoretical knowledge
Bachelor of Technology (BTech)
Inclined towards practical and technical aspects of engineering and allows to enter the industry directly after graduation

Practical experience is gained through internships or co-op programs. After graduation, some may opt for advanced degrees like a Master's or Ph.D. for further specialization or research opportunities. In certain fields, becoming a licensed engineer requires passing exams like the FE and PE, and it's important to continuously update skills and knowledge.

What specialisations are available for engineers?

Engineering is like the backbone of our modern society, a field brimming with creativity and problem-solving. Here are some key types of engineering professions popular in Europe and around the wrold.

Civil engineering
Imagine being the mastermind behind the next Golden Gate Bridge or Burj Khalifa. Civil engineers design and oversee the construction of buildings, bridges, roads, and other infrastructure. They turn the dreams of architects into tangible structures, ensuring they are safe, functional, and sustainable.
Mechanical engineering
Ever wondered who designs the cars we drive or the air conditioners that cool our homes? Mechanics apply principles of physics and materials science to design, analyze, manufacture, and maintain mechanical systems.
Electrical engineering
In a world powered by electricity, these engineers deal with the study, design, and application of equipment, devices, and systems that use electricity, electronics, and electromagnetism. Think of them every time you charge your phone or switch on your TV.
Chemical engineering
Chemical engineers develop and design chemical manufacturing processes. They transform raw materials into useful products like medicines, plastics, and cosmetics, essentially turning the stuff of the earth into gold (metaphorically).
Software engineering
They are the wizards behind the curtain of our screens. They design, develop, test, and maintain software systems – from the apps on your phone to complex computer systems. They make sure you can swipe right, send that important email, and defeat the final boss in your favorite video game.
Biomedical engineering
These professionals combine engineering principles with medical and biological sciences to design and create equipment, devices, computer systems, and software used in healthcare. From artificial organs to advanced prosthetic limbs.
Environmental engineering
Use the principles of engineering, soil science, biology, and chemistry to develop solutions to environmental problems. They are involved in efforts to improve recycling, waste disposal, public health, and water and air pollution control.
Aerospace engineering
The sky is not the limit for them – it's just the beginning! Aerospace engineers design and build aircraft, spacecraft, satellites, and missiles. They are the reason we can fly to different countries and explore outer space.
Show all

Research job opportunities

Once you've fulfilled all the necessary requirements, diplomas, proficiency in English and the local languages of your desired country, it's time to embark on your job search.

The internet serves as the optimal platform for researching the job market. Numerous European job portals host thousands of job listings across the continent. On these portals, you can filter job offers based on your preferred sector, location, educational level, or required work experience.

Where to look for engineering jobs?

Several portals cater to a European audience, while others focus on individual countries. Start by exploring opportunities on the European Union's job portal, then expand your search to platforms offering pan-European listings such as eurojobs.com, eurojobsites.com, experteer.com, indeed.com, or page.com. Finally, delve into the local job portals of the specific country you're interested in!

Coming to work as engineer from India?

Indian nationals are known to be very good in software and IT fields, so there are a lot of jobs in Europe for Indian engineers. If you’re an Indian engineer and you are interested in Luxembourg, you can check out our special article about How to obtain a visa to Luxembourg for Indian nationals.

Obtain necessary work and entry documents for Europe

Once you've secured a job and have the contract in hand, you can initiate the paperwork to obtain a visa or residence permit. While a few countries may allow you to start this process before securing employment, such opportunities are rare and typically come with restrictions.

Work contract first

In most cases, having a signed employment contract is a prerequisite for obtaining a visa.

If you are a European national, you need not worry about these issues, as you have the right to live and work in any European country. However, if you are not, you'll need to navigate multiple procedures to acquire the necessary documents.

Employment
Documents
Luxembourg
Read our dedicated article on visa
Work visa in Luxembourg

Top-10 countries to work as engineer in Europe

Imagine being part of the legacy that brought the world the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, the high-speed railways of France, or the renewable energy innovations in Germany. This continent, steeped in a rich engineering heritage, presents a mosaic of opportunities. We will take a look at the best countires for engineer jobs in 2024 and their specifics.

Switzerland
Luxembourg
Denmark
Belgium
Germany
Netherlands
Iceland
Austria
Ireland
Finland
faq

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can I apply for jobs before moving to Europe?

Do all European countries have the same visa requirements for engineers?

Are engineering jobs in Europe open to non-European Union citizens?

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We took photos from these sources: ThisisEngineering RAEng on Unsplash, data from Economic Research Institute, Pixabay

Authors: Luz
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