I’m not sure about industrial designers but there’s a lack of skilled workers in Germany (mostly technical professions such as engineers, though). If you have good references you won’t have huge problems finding a job, I guess. Best is to know someone who wants to hire you as that helps a lot – I know it’s the same vice versa.
It’s a plus to speak english (of course) and you’ll probably get some help in forums for Americans overseas (don’t know any but I know of Germans that emigrated) that are here already. There’s a website for “creatives on the web
” (in German) where companies (mostly from the design/media business) post job offers and where you can post your profile and look for jobs etc. Also, StepStone
might be of help when looking for work in Europe.
As far as the web business goes it also depends where you go. In Germany there’s a big and high quality market. Education in design is very good (Bauhaus
style is coming from here) and just as good are the graduates in average. I think most middle class households have internet and there’s no sign of underdevelopment here in my eyes.
I've been pondering about a point myself: All of my clients/employers are spread across Germany and the world and all communication goes by phone, IM, or email, so it actually doesn’t matter where I am as long as I have access to the internet. Usually domestic laws prohibit any commercial engagement (work) in a country if your’re not explicitly allowed to. However, since my location doesn’t matter anyway and I have partners in different countries anyway I wouldn’t even potentially take anyone’s job.
Anyway, I don’t know the legal situation in such a case but it could be an advantage to have steady remote work while you’re moving and applying for a 9 to 5 job in a foreign country. Application procedures are to send a CV (with mugshot!), go to the interview and talk about your experience and ideas in terms of salary etc., and eventually get hired or not.
However, my experience was that in the States employers are generally more relaxed about education or degrees and rather look how good you actually work than in Germany where it seems to be somewhat of importance. But I think in the creative business actual references are the most convincing arguments. Eventually, if you’re good employers don’t care for degrees.
You’ll find some VISA info in the embassies of the respective country where you wanna go and some more personal experiences in forums, or maybe the Association of Americans Resident Overseas
is a good starting point?