When it comes to the differences between working in the United States and Europe, there are some pretty clear distinctions. From work/life balance to overall corporate culture, the two regions have unique approaches that can make a world of difference for employers and employees.
For example, it has been well documented how Americans work significantly longer hours than their EU counterparts, with 60-hour working weeks fairly common. As we discussed in this previous article, vacation days, break times, employment contracts, sick pay, pensions, and salaries are all very different on each side of the Atlantic. In fact, a quick Google search will reveal many articles about how different working life is in the EU and the US.
But what about the similarities? Are both continents really that different? Let's find some common ground.
Sustainability is one area where the EU and US have strived for a unified front. They have both taken steps to get on board with protecting our planet and its resources by embracing sustainable business practices in the workplace.
Companies are now striving to reduce their carbon footprints and increase their use of renewable energy sources, meaning better air quality and energy conservation in areas where businesses operate.
Additionally, European and American workplaces are investing time and money into smarter manufacturing processes that make turning recyclable materials into valuable products easier than ever.
And, of course, additive manufacturing has played a big part in these changes as companies that invest in additive manufacturing technology can benefit from lower energy costs, fewer materials waste and shorter production cycles.
Finally, employees are more selective over which companies they work for and want their employer to match their values. As such, companies with robust sustainability targets are more attractive to staff who value those ethics.
Overall, sustainability is becoming an important part of how we do business, whether you're in Europe or the US—and that's a good thing for us all.
One of the most significant and lasting effects of the Covid pandemic has been the permanent move towards a full or hybrid remote working model in many companies in the EU and US.
Employees value the flexibility and freedom that comes with working remotely from anywhere in the world.
Businesses are also seeing the benefit of remote working, with cost savings on office space and other overhead costs, and increased employee productivity when given more control over their schedule and environment.
It's difficult to obtain accurate statistics, but anecdotal evidence shows that remote working is a huge part of the economy on both continents. And the indications are that it's a trend that will continue to grow even further over the coming years.
This may be a little contentious as, although the basic process is the same in the US and EU, there are some subtle differences in the recruitment process to keep in mind.
For example, timescales in the EU will usually be much longer than in the US. In the US, most employment is on an "at-will" basis, with little notice required from either party to terminate employment. However, three and six months notice periods are common in many EU countries.
Interestingly, research from Glassdoor shows the actual interview process taking less time in the States, with an average of just over 23 days. Whereas in the EU, average interview times can vary from 28.5 days in Germany to nearly 40 days in France.
However, candidate motivations are comparable with companies across Europe and the US increasingly emphasising soft skills such as communication, problem-solving, collaboration, and creativity.
Diversity and Inclusion
The benefits of a diverse and inclusive workforce are absolutely undeniable. No matter the size of your team, embracing diversity in all its forms builds an open, vibrant, and engaging workplace. A range of perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences can expand the horizons of problem-solving while paving the way for new and innovative ideas to emerge.
When people feel included and embraced, they are more likely to be productive members of the team who bring their best selves forward. Divergent thinking is essential to collective success; a diverse team opens up so many opportunities for creative approaches to complex problems.
While Europe has historically led the way over the US regarding diversity and equality legislation, both regions now recognise the importance of building diverse and inclusive workforces.
In addition, many large US companies such as Google and Microsoft are investing in diversity strategies, training and initiatives to ensure they create an inclusive culture where people from all backgrounds feel safe and accepted.
In Europe, the European Commission has invested heavily in programmes promoting workplace diversity and inclusion. And more recently, there's been a focus on equality for non-traditional genders and sexualities.
Last but not least, we come to networking opportunities. The good news is that the US and EU have a lot of similarities when it comes to networking. Both places provide plenty of opportunities for personal and professional development through conferences, seminars, workshops and other events where people can meet potential employers, customers and collaborators.
The additive manufacturing industry plays heavily in this world, with Formnext in Europe and TCT in the States being the two main events in the annual calendar. Both of those events show how closely aligned both continents are in terms of additive manufacturing technology and ambition.
Overall, there are many similarities between the EU and US working cultures. But, as with any comparison of two cultures, it's important to remember that there will always be differences. It is up to the individual or business to determine which elements they can bring together to create a successful working environment that works for everyone.
Kensington Additive has many years of experience recruiting professionals for the 3D printing industry in Europe and the US. Please contact us with any questions you may have about opportunities on both continents.