- Download our Moving to Paris Guide (PDF)
Despite France's position as one of the foremost economies in Europe, finding a job in Paris isn't easy. The majority of expats in Paris relocate as a result of an intercity transfer through their company. While it's possible to find a job through one's own efforts, it's beneficial to do some networking and make use of personal contacts in Paris.
Job market in Paris
Paris is one of the most visited destinations in the world and, as a result, skills in the tourism industry are well-respected and in high demand. Expats with experience in the hospitality and service industries will encounter no shortage of job opportunities.
Paris is also the corporate centre of France and is home to the headquarters of many top international firms. Expats wishing to move to Paris are advised to search for international organisations from their home country that may be interested in employing foreign nationals in France.
The average working day in France is from 9am to 6pm, but this can vary between industries. Those in the tourism industry work different hours and may even be subject to shift work. Expats working on a contract can expect a fair amount of leave and two extra cheques a year. Expats can expect approximately 25 percent of their income to be deducted for tax purposes.
Finding a job in Paris
Getting a job can be difficult for expats wishing to work in Paris. A degree of fluency in French is vital to fill even the most basic entry-level position in most companies. That being said, there are a number of jobs expats can do until they have a better grasp of the French language. English language teachers and au pairs can make enough money to live off until their French becomes sufficient for them to enter the mainstream working environment.
Most people find employment through networking and alumni organisations, as well as through classified listings on the internet. Sending a CV is usually the first step in applying for a job in France, followed by an interview. The French expect persistence, so it can be useful for an expat to follow up an application with a number of calls enquiring as to when an interview will be arranged.
Work culture in Paris
Expats will find that the work culture in Paris is formal and hierarchical. Locals usually also place great value on physical appearances. While Parisians tend to see deadlines and meeting times as being flexible, expats should nonetheless try to be punctual.
The high level of bureaucracy in France can also have an impact on the work culture in Paris. French businesspeople enjoy spirited debates and can at times come across as hot headed. However, they usually see value in arguments that are based on sound logic. Parisians will also generally appreciate any efforts made by expats to speak the local language.
"As a teacher, I found my current job by researching schools and submitting my resume before they were advertising on job boards. The hustle is real. I know many teachers who hold multiple jobs, or work with speaking agencies (online or in-person) as their in-between while searching for more permanent work." Read more about Canadian expat Dorian's experiences in Paris.
Are you an expat living in Paris?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Paris. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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