For migrants moving to a country in Europe, while English is important, mastering the official local language is also critical for successfully entering the labor market and experiencing social integration. This is according to the newly published OECD Skills Outlook 2023: Skills for a Resilient Green and Digital Transition.
The following chart looks at the percentage of job vacancies written in the official language/s of a selection of European countries and the percentage of posts published in English in 2022. This is based on the theory that ads written in a language implicitly require some knowledge of that language, even if the requirement is not made explicit in the posting.
While English is a useful skill for boosting the chances of finding a job in several countries (including those where English is not the official language), this data shows that having knowledge of the local official language is arguably more important. In fact, 82 percent of job postings in the EU are written in the official local language of the country in which they are published, versus around 14 percent of job postings that are written in English.
In some countries job seekers would be particularly limited without the local language. For example, in France, almost 98 percent of vacancies were written in French, while only 1.66 percent of descriptions are in English. In Germany, approximately 96 percent of postings are in German compared to just 3.38 percent that use English.
It is important to note here that while this data highlights how the local official language is generally a prerequisite, in many cases, knowledge of English is still required as a second language. This is supported by another study noted by the OECD report, which found that knowledge of English was the sixth most-required skill listed explicitly in online job vacancies in European countries in 2021, following the capacity to adapt to change, work in teams; use a computer; teamwork principles; and use Microsoft office.