Many people I speak to are at the stage of expanding into Europe and considering where to find their first employees. Some considerations are unique to their business, for example:

“Where are the clients we are trying to service?”

“Where are the partners we want to be near?”

But for others, the same common factors apply each time:

  1. Where is the statutory cost of employment lowest?
  2. Where am I most likely to have a good talent pool to recruit from?
  3. What are average salaries like?
  4. How bureaucratic is the employment legislation? (how easily can I part company with an employee if it doesn’t work out?!)
  5. Are the language skills my business needs readily available?
  6. How easy is my employees’ business travel?

Of these, any could have most bearing on the decision made by a particular business.

If you need someone because they have great French language skills, you might start your search in France even if it has employment laws which are less favourable to the employer. But generally speaking, all these factors are potentially being considered by those expanding into Europe and it is, therefore, hard to rank which countries are overall the best destination.

So, in this article, I am working backwards.

I have looked at which countries are actually the most popular with our, predominantly US-based, technology or consulting sector clients to have employees. From there, I look at some of the features of those countries which make them appealing.

In no particular order, Europe’s three most popular countries among our clients are (….drumroll please…):

  • The United Kingdom
  • The Netherlands
  • Germany

Employing in the UK

The United Kingdom has the obvious advantage to our US clients that we, more or less, speak the same language. This gives a level of comfort as well as a legitimate expectation to be able to find and understand the information needed to do business.

Infrastructure in the UK is also solid, with good travel links to the rest of the world and reliable telecommunications, and there is a well-educated workforce to employ.

Although uncapped, the percentage of gross salary levied on employers in social costs is lower than much of mainland Europe and the taxation and employment legislation is unambiguous and easy to understand relative to other countries.

Employing in The Netherlands

The Dutch also speak English!

On many business trips to the Netherlands, the standard of English spoken has never ceased to impress me. Again, this is seen as an advantage for our US-based clients.

As a relatively small country with good transport systems, doing business within the Netherlands is easy as nowhere is very far away. The other desirable business locations of The United Kingdom and Germany are also close by. Although a “vacation allowance” may be a new thing to some of our clients, the capped social costs are a definite advantage.

Employing in Germany

Some may think that Germany being a country with strict rules might make it unattractive as a place for foreign companies to want to have employees. But our experience is that having very clear, unambiguous regulations makes it easier to stay compliant.

In Germany, things tend to be black and white, compliant or not, and business leaders appreciate knowing where they stand. Germany also has Europe’s strongest economy and its highest GDP. With a highly skilled workforce and developed transport infrastructure, it clearly ticks a lot of boxes.

So there are the top three most popular destinations for PEO Worldwide’s clients to land their European employees. But there are plenty of other great European countries to consider, each with their own pros and cons. The PEO Worldwide team will be happy to talk through your business-specific requirements and lend our experience to guide you in selecting your next overseas target.