Work in France

Καταχώρηση 2018/12/13

It's the world's most popular tourist destination, but if you'd like to see France from a new perspective consider working in the country. Author: Emma Knowles, Editor

Being the largest country in Europe, you'll never be lost for things to see and do in France. There's plenty to explore, from the world-famous landmarks of Paris and sandy beaches and blue waters of the French Riviera, to the spectacular ski slopes of the Alps and Pyrenees.

It's essential that you learn the language before you make the move, and short-term contracts are more readily available than permanent positions. However, you'll enjoy a high standard of living once you're there, benefitting from a robust healthcare system and a generous holiday allowance.

Jobs in France

France is a global leader in a variety of industries. The country's iron and steel and perfume and cosmetics industries are its fastest-growing.

Many multinational companies are based in France, including:

  • Airbus
  • AXA Group
  • Citroën
  • Danone
  • L'Oréal
  • Michelin
  • Ubisoft.

Tourism is a vital part of the economy, meaning you'll easily find seasonal jobs at campsites or ski resorts, and there are also opportunities to teach English as a foreign language.



  • Aircraft
  • Automobiles
  • Electronics
  • Food processing
  • Textiles

Skills shortages

Despite having the second largest economy in the European Union (EU) and the fifth largest worldwide, unemployment is currently an issue in France - nearly one in ten are out of work.

This is due to a mismatch of companies' needs and the skills available in the workforce to fulfil these needs. In particular, the IT, health and engineering sectors are suffering are shortage of qualified workers to fill vital vacancies, while agricultural, manufacturing and mining workers are in surplus.

In 2017, nearly half a million foreign workers were employed by French companies to fill vacancies left empty by underqualified French workers. If you've got the skills employers are looking for, and the qualifications to back them up, finding a job in France shouldn't be difficult.

How to get a job in France

You apply for jobs in France by email, online application forms or, more commonly, by posting your CV and cover letter to the company. Be prepared to produce these in both English and French, even if you're applying for an English-speaking role, as many companies will expect this of you.

A French CV should be no more than one side of A4 for a junior position, highlighting your language proficiency, work experience in reverse chronological order and educational achievements. There should be no unexplained gaps in your education or work history.

Your cover letter should be succinct, drawing on your most relevant experience to explain why you're a suitable candidate for the position. Don't attach your transcripts to your cover letter - French employers will ask to see these in person if your application is successful.

Beyond this first stage the application process is rigorous. Companies can hold up to four interviews, and you should be clued up on the company, as well as French business jargon before you arrive. The French value punctuality and smart business dress, and you should be prepared for a formal interview setting.

French employers look favourably on speculative applications and networking, so if you're struggling to find advertised work, take a proactive approach and contact the companies you'd like to work for directly.

Summer jobs

Particularly in the tourist hotspot cities of Paris, Montpellier and Nice, there are plenty of opportunities in the hospitality and tourism sector in the summer months. Alternatively, you could work on a campsite through companies such as Canvas Holidays or Eurocamp, or join the farming and wine industry and work as a grape picker. Ski chalets offer temporary positions in the winter months.

As a foreign worker you'll be paid at least the French minimum wage (SMIC), which is €9.76 per hour as of 2017.

Visit One World 365 to search for seasonal jobs in France.

Alternatively, you could volunteer. The European Voluntary Service (EVS) is funded by the European Commission and aimed at people aged 17 to 30. It offers young people the chance to volunteer for up to 12 months in a number of European and non-European countries, of which France is one.

You can find other voluntary placements through:

Teaching jobs

There is a high demand for English teachers in France, as the country looks to keep ties with the English-speaking jobs market. You'll find teaching positions in private and state schools, language colleges, town halls, universities or within a company, teaching business English to its employees.

You can find out more about placements through the British Council or CIEP. Although you'll be teaching English, both schemes stipulate the need for a good standard of French, which you can demonstrate through a language test if required. You'll also need to have completed at least two years of a Bachelors degree or equivalent.

For more information, see:


Completing an internship is a great way to experience life in another country while furthering your career. In France, an internship is known as a 'stage' and lasts for a maximum of six months.

If your internship is longer than two months in length, you'll be entitled to receive a minimum stipend.

You must be enrolled and studying at university to embark on an internship in France. By law, before the internship begins you're required to sign a 'Convention de Stage', a three-way agreement between you, your university and employer, which specifies your start and end dates, working hours and responsibilities during the internship.

Aim to apply for an internship as early as five months in advance, in the same way you would a job - submitting a CV and cover letter electronically or by post. You can search for opportunities via:

French visas

If you're an EU/EEA citizen, Swiss or Croatian national, you won't need a visa or permit to work in France. You're also no longer required to register as a resident once you arrive, as long as you possess a valid EU passport and are:

  • employed
  • self-employed
  • a student
  • family member of EU citizen
  • unemployed, but with sufficient funds for your stay.

If you need to register your residence, you can do so at your local town hall in France.

Non-EU/EEA citizens will need to a permit to work in France. Your employer looks after this procedure, so you'll need a confirmation of employment before the process can begin. Once you've found a job, apply for a long stay visa through the French embassy or consulate in your home country. You'll need to apply for a residence permit within three months of your arrival in France, which is valid for up to five years and must be renewed two months before it expires.

This visa information is still valid following the UK's decision to leave the EU and will be updated if changes occur.

Language requirements

Even if you're working in a job where you're required to speak English, such as teaching English as a foreign language, you'll need a good grasp of French to integrate with your community and get by while you're living in France.

The official French proficiency certificates, DELF and DALF, are awarded by the French Ministry of Education and you may be required to take them to prove your ability to a required standard (A1 at best, C1 at most basic). You can find out more about both tests at CIEP: DELF-DALF.

How to explain your qualifications to employers

UK qualifications are directly comparable to those in France, so you shouldn't have a problem explaining them to your employers. You or your employer can find out more about how qualifications are recognised by visiting Enic-Naric.

What's it like to work in France?

In France, a 35-hour working week is the legal standard, introduced with the aims of raising standards of living. Anything more than this is classed as overtime. In addition to this, you'll be entitled to time off in the form of five weeks' paid leave in a 12-month period and 11 public holidays.

The workplace typically operates in a strong hierarchal structure. Positions and their corresponding power are made very clear - it's likely you'll have very little personal contact with your boss, and you can expect to be working in a formal environment.

As of 2018, employee's taxes are drawn in a pay as you earn (PAYE) system, across five income tax bands. You're required to start paying tax once your salary reaches €9,807, at a rate of 14%, up to the top band of 45% on salaries over €153,783.



France - Niveau National


Bref aperçu du marché du travail


La population française a atteint 67,2 millions d'habitants au 1er janvier 2018, soit une croissance de 233.000 personnes (+0,3%) sur un an, néanmoins marquée par une baisse des naissances pour la troisième année consécutive. La progression de la population, à un rythme moins soutenu que les années précédentes (+0,5% entre 2008 et 2013 et +0,4% entre 2014 et 2016), est majoritairement portée par le solde naturel (différence entre le nombre de naissances et de décès), +164.000 personnes, même si ce nombre est "historiquement bas". 

En 2018, en France, 71,9 % des personnes âgées de 15 à 64 ans étaient actives au sens du Bureau international du travail (BIT). Ce taux a augmenté de 0,4 point en 2018, atteignant son plus haut niveau depuis 1975. 

En 2018, 27,1 millions de personnes occupent un emploi. Parmi les salariés, 84,7 % ont un emploi à durée indéterminée. 18,5 % des personnes ayant un emploi, travaillaient à temps partiel, soit un recul de 0,3 point sur un an.

Avec 2,7 millions de chômeurs au sens du BIT, le taux de chômage s’établit à 8,8 % au 4ème trimestre 2018. La baisse amorcée en 2016 se poursuit, mais de façon plus modérée : – 0,3 point en 2018, après – 0,7 point en 2017. Elle est plus marquée pour les jeunes et les moins qualifiés. Le chômage de longue durée concerne 3,8 % des actifs en 2018, en recul de 0,4 point sur un an. Plus fréquent chez les jeunes actifs, le chômage est plus durable pour leurs aînés.

Les intentions de recrutement des employeurs ont progressé de 18,7% en 2018, après une hausse soutenue en 2017 (+8,2 %), et ont représenté 2,35 millions d’embauches potentielles. Ce sont ainsi 370 000 projets de recrutement supplémentaires qui sont comptabilisés en cette année. Cette forte évolution s’explique par la nette progression du nombre d’établissements prévoyant d’embaucher : 25,9% des établissements ont déclaré avoir l’intention d’embaucher en 2018 contre 22,4 % en 2017, soit 3,5 points de plus. Plus de la moitié des recrutements (63,9%) sont envisagés en contrats durables (CDI ou CDD de six mois ou plus). Cette proportion est en nette progression par rapport à 2017 (+6,4 points). 

Les intentions d’embauche progressent dans tous les secteurs et sont particulièrement dynamiques dans la construction et l’industrie. Avec plus de 893 600 projets d’embauche, soit 100 400 projets de plus qu’en 2017 (+12,7%), le secteur des services aux particuliers représente 38,1% des intentions d’embauche en 2018 et demeure le premier recruteur.

Les intentions de recrutement dans le secteur des services aux entreprises poursuivent leur progression à un rythme soutenu de 22,5%, portées par le dynamisme du secteur du transport et entreposage (+32,4% par rapport à 2017) et celui des services scientifiques, techniques, administratifs et de soutien (+20,6%). Comme en 2017, la plus forte progression des intentions d’embauche est enregistrée dans le secteur de la construction, avec 141 900 projets, soit une hausse de 37,0% (contre +22,5% en 2017).

La deuxième plus forte hausse concerne l’industrie. Les besoins en main-d’oeuvre y sont en hausse de 27,4%. Les secteurs de la fabrication de matériel de transport (+49,7%) et de la métallurgie et des produits métalliques (+46,1%) sont particulièrement dynamiques.

Les intentions d’embauche progressent de 22,0% dans le commerce (soit près de 53 000 projets supplémentaires), avec une hausse particulièrement importante dans le commerce et la réparation automobile (+30,8% par rapport à 2017). Enfin, dans l’agriculture, les intentions d’embauche sont en hausse de 13,4%.



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