Jobs in France

If you are planning to immigrate across the channel to France then you are more than likely going to need to find work to pay for your new life. France was once thought to be one of the strongest economies in Europe but unfortunately thanks to the Euro crisis it has been proven to be in a vulnerable position. The coming years are uncertain for France. While not in as worse a state as Spain, the unresolved crisis is threatening to damage the French job market. Currently unemployment is standing at 10%.

The difficulties

If emigrating from the UK you won’t have much trouble entering France due to both countries being members of the European Union.

However, you are at an immediate disadvantage if you are looking for work and currently reside outside of the country due to the language barrier. Just like moving to another country that speaks a foreign language it is highly recommended that you put in the effort to learn. Unlike in many nations, France is more difficult for an English speaker to fit in as the local population prefer to speak French, and regard those who don’t learn it as lazy. In effect, without learning French then it is highly likely that you won’t succeed in landing a job.

If you have learnt the language up to a basic level then you should be prepared to write your application letters by hand. In France your handwriting is very important as many employers use graphology to determine an applicant’s character. If you do get to the interview stage then be prepared for some very personal questions. The French like to learn as much about you as possible. Due to it being very difficult to dismiss someone, a potential employer likes to be certain that you are indeed the best person for the job. The most common jobs found in France are similar to those found in the UK. There are more tourist based jobs in the South of the country and service jobs are most common in the towns and cities.

Pay and conditions

Average wages in France are similar to those found in the UK. France abides by the EU ruling on maximum working hours. Conditions also depend on the job. Workers in France have the right to paid time off in the following cases: Marriage (15 days off), Maternity leave (up to six weeks) there are also 11 national holidays.

Workers also have the right to 5 weeks of paid holiday.

Top tips for finding work

Learn the language!

Be prepared to work in worse jobs than you’re used to. Competition is fierce.

Make sure your C.V is hand written

Have money in reserve, it may take a long time to find work.

Consider working from home, it might be far easier than learning the language.

Finding work

The best way to find work in France is to look in local newspapers and use the internet. Employment agencies are often used but most jobs are granted mainly due to relationships and contacts. Nepotism is alive and kicking in France. Often vacant positions are not advertised publicly, but filled by people who have contacts within the company.

It’s a good idea to take advantage of every possible contact that you have, from friends, colleagues and classmates. Even the most casual acquaintances can sometimes point you towards a potential job lead. Persistence and confidence are vital ingredients to a successful job search.

The French administration has a large network of agencies for employment. The most important are:

Pôle emploi

The national agency for employment. It has a large number of offices across the country. They offer manual and unskilled jobs – you can see adverts online at the website here  (in French only).


The French national agency for employment of professionals and executives (Agence pour l’Emploi de Cadres) –

Links to French job sites