Working in France

The prospect of working in France can be highly appealing to expats, as it claims the third largest economy in the Eurozone and sixth largest economy in the world, so there are opportunities for talented individuals.

Expats are often attracted by the perks of the French working world, which include a 35-hour work week, plenty of holiday time and early retirement. That said, finding a job in France is notoriously difficult for foreigners, and most expats who manage to find one do so through intra-company transfers or opportunities within large multinational organisations. 

Job market in France

Expats may be disappointed to discover that most of the jobs available in France aren't in the storied South of France or even bustling, romantic Paris; the top hiring regions are actually Auvergne, Bretagne, Limousin and Pays de la Loire. Expats willing to move to these less attractive destinations will find many opportunities, even though the Ile-de-France region (the area surrounding Paris) claims the continent’s wealthiest and largest regional economy. 

France is home to 31 of the Global Fortune 500 companies, with Paris claiming more of these companies than can be found in New York and Hong Kong. That said, salaries in France are on the lower end of the spectrum compared to other areas of the world that attract expats, like the Middle East and Asia.

Finding a job in France

Expats looking for employment in France will benefit greatly by speaking French, the official language of the business world, as fluency is a requirement for most positions. Expats should note that education levels are given priority over experience and accomplishments, and that the French generally prefer to do business with friends. Many people find employment through networking and alumni organisations, so fostering connections is a crucial part of the job hunt.

The most prominent industry sectors in France are hospitality, telecommunications, aerospace and defence, ship building (naval and specialist ships), pharmaceuticals, construction and civil engineering, chemicals, automobile production and banking.

Expats looking to work in France will need a valid work permit.