A good career, a good life: These countries have the best job opportunities

best countries for job opportunities
In Paris, one of the best countries for job opportunities, life is more about thriving, less about surviving. Source: AFP

You may have a cousin, aunt or friend who seems to just have it all: moved to a better country, got a great job and living their best lives.

Envious? Don’t be. Emotions will get you nowhere. But taking steps to move to the best countries for job opportunities will help you in many ways.

These are places where fresh graduates can find stable jobs that pay them enough to enjoy life’s pleasures after work and on weekends.

Sharpen your talents, make full use of the degree you worked so hard to get, and explore a different country — all without having to miss out on life.

Yes, jobs like these do exist — especially in the best countries for job opportunities.

But first, you need to know there’s a cost to everything. While creating a better career and life in glamorous cities sounds great, they’re not for everyone.

It’s a big investment that’ll take considerable time and effort from you. How worthwhile this endeavour will be depends on you too.

If you want to leave everything behind with the right reasons to move to the best countries for job opportunities, then read on.

If you’re doing it for the wrong reasons, it’s better to stop, think and find alternatives.

But how do you know which reasons are right and which are wrong?

best countries for job opportunities

A great place to make the most of the “5 to 9.” Source: AFP

Why you should or should not move to the best countries for job opportunities

Seeking salaries that compensate you well for your skills and attaining a better standard of living and financial stability are examples of good reasons to move to one of the best countries for job opportunities.

If you can’t get healthcare, education and infrastructure in the country you’re currently in, then it is also another reason to move.

In short, if your goal is to build a brighter future for yourself, then you should, by all means, move

However, if you want to move to run away from a problem that you should address, or you made a mistake in your current job, then pause and reassess.

You should not relocate to another country just to avoid something negative. Even more so if the life and career you want can be achieved in your home country.

While income potential may be higher, rent, healthcare, and education expenses may be significantly higher compared to your home country.

Paying for all of this will take a lot of sacrifices. It won’t be easy if you don’t have the right motivations to start with.

What makes a country one of the best countries for job opportunities?

When you pick one of the best countries for job opportunities, you’re choosing a country with a strong job market. This means it’ll not only be easier for you to find jobs, but to find jobs open to non-citizens and well-paying ones at that.

These countries are also great to live in. While life in cities is a bit better than at any time in the past 15 years, some countries are more liveable than the rest.

This can be pretty subjective but there are some factors that we can all agree are important:

  • Stability — minimal political chaos
  • Healthcare — where you can access a doctor or nurse when you’re sick
  • Culture — such as communities with proud identities
  • Environment — green spaces and a commitment to sustainability
  • Education — highly educated locals
  • Infrastructure — well-designed homes, offices and public spaces

Whether you’re a fresh looking to kickstart your career or a seasoned professional seeking new horizons, the countries below can help you find personal and financial growth — and even have loads of fun along the way.

5 best countries for job opportunities in 2023

best countries for job opportunities

South Korea is not only one of the best countries for job opportunities, but you will also be able to enjoy delicious food and live a good life here. Source: AFP

1. South Korea

South Korea has transformed itself from a poor farming nation into a global entertainment hub and one of the best countries for job opportunities — all within the span of one generation.

This tells us many things, chief among which is energy. There is an obvious zeal for life and for success within South Koreans — proof of which can be seen in how they built brands like Samsung and Hyundai from nothing into permanent fixtures in homes all over.

And as hard as they are working, this is a country where people are committed to play hard. Seoul on any work night is filled with workers having barbeques, drinking soju and laughing out loud in hip bars and restaurants.

Sounds like your vibe? Consider teaching teaching English as a foreign language or working with a multinational.

The IT and manufacturing sectors actively employ foreign talent. South Korea’s robust economy, driven by global giants such as Samsung, Hyundai, and LG, presents numerous job prospects for international graduates.

The only downside about working in South Korea is you have to be prepared to work long hours as the country has the longest working hours of any developed nation. 

Despite the lack of a work-life balance, the country has so much to offer.

In Seoul alone, you can hike along a fortress wall first built in 1396, nibble as you stroll the century-old Gwangjang Market and its stalls serving noodles, pancakes and rice dishes, and check out the works of a pioneering contemporary Korean painter in a quiet residential area.

The cost of living in South Korea can vary depending on the city, with Seoul being the most expensive, costing around ₩1,600,000 (US$1,206.35) a month.

However, salaries in South Korea often compensate for this, with the average salary for graduates around ₩1,711,500 (US$1,290.39).

This allows international students-turned-professionals to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle, which includes excellent healthcare and efficient public transportation.

best countries for job opportunities

The Volkswagen brand employs some 200,000 people worldwide to be a part of their company making it one of the best countries for job opportunities. Source: AFP

2. Germany 

Excellent work-life balance, affordable healthcare, education, and high living standards — that’s Germany.

Being one of the top-ranking global economies in terms of GDP and a major player in the export industry, Germany offers many job opportunities for individuals seeking employment abroad.

Germany’s robust economy is driven by its thriving manufacturing, engineering, and technology sectors.

In a country that’s always innovating and always researching, STEM graduates will find the ideal country to become highly skilled world-class professionals here.

According to Glassdoor, the average salary for an engineer in Germany is around US$65,000 per year, while an IT specialist can earn around US$60,000 per year.

This, coupled with a 27-hour work week and the relatively low cost of living — around 934 euros (US$993.34) to cover rent, food, transportation, medical insurance, etc. — makes Germany one of the best European countries to live in.

best countries for job opportunities

France is one of the best countries for job opportunities for international graduates. Source: AFP

3. France 

France is a popular destination for international students seeking the best countries for job opportunities.

The country boasts a diverse economy with strengths in aerospace, technology, healthcare, and finance industries.

Thanks to strong labour laws here, your workweek is only 35 hours — giving you enough time to recharge before giving your all at multinational corporations such as Hermes, L’Oreal, Murex, Thales, Orange, and Microsoft.

Like Germany, there’s a strong focus on innovation and entrepreneurship in France. 

If your degree and passion are in artificial intelligence, renewable energy, and sustainable development, you’ll be able to find roles in these meaningful sectors that come with competitive salaries of around 49,800 euros (US$53,084.81) per year. 

This is a figure that’ll go far as France offers a high quality of life with excellent healthcare, education, and public services. As they are subsidised by the government, you’ll only have to fork out a small amount on your own.

As for the good life, expect it to be free or very affordable here. You don’t need much to walk along the beautiful river Seine, enjoy local wines and people watch some of the most stylish Europeans.

best countries for job opportunities

According to US News & World Report, Canada ranks in third place globally for the best quality of life. Source: AFP

4. Canada 

Canada has become a highly sought-after destination for international students looking to secure well-paying jobs while enjoying a high standard of living. 

In the world’s 14th largest economy, industries such as technology, finance, healthcare, and natural resources thrive — and are reportedly in shortage of workers that the country is happy to recruit from abroad. 

Based on Statistics Canada, there has been a consistent rise in the average weekly earnings in the country too, along with the presence of competitive pay and chances for career progression.

Canada is an excellent place to work, boasting a high average salary of around US$54,630 per year and a relatively affordable cost of living starting as low as CA$15,000 (US$11,120.18) per year.

Canadian cities consistently rank high in global quality of life indices too.

Cities like Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal are known for their cultural diversity, robust job markets, and wide range of leisure activities.

best countries for job opportunities

The UAE is home to the Burj Khalifa, which is currently the tallest building in the world. Source: AFP

5. UAE

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has emerged as a hotspot for international students seeking lucrative job opportunities that offer substantial salaries and a high standard of living. 

Being the economic hub of the Middle East, the UAE is an attractive choice for professionals working in consulting, financial services, construction, and engineering sectors.

The country’s strategic location as a global business hub has attracted multinational corporations, creating a wealth of job prospects for graduates.

Regardless of the industry, full-time employees who have completed one year of employment in the country are eligible for 30 days of paid annual leave.

However, that isn’t even the best part. Those working in the UAE do not have to pay income tax. 

When it comes to salaries, the country consistently ranks among the top countries in the Gulf region. The Mercer Cost of Living Survey positions Dubai and Abu Dhabi, two major UAE cities, as some of the highest-paying cities globally.