WORKING IN FRANCE
By Rhiannon Williamson of
With unemployment high in France - currently in the region of 10.1% - those moving to France and hoping to secure suitable employment upon arrival have to face certain facts about the realities of working in France and earning a decent income from the local economy.
It is far from impossible to find a job in France but to go forearmed with the facts about the employment market is to go forewarned about the difficulties many expatriates have when moving to France to establish a brand new life for themselves.
First things first it’s important to understand that in economic terms France is in the midst of a difficult transitional period as the government seeks to embrace modern market mechanisms whilst retaining its fundamentally socialist values.
In simple and practical terms this means that on the positive side there has been a reduction in income tax rates designed to boost employment and the on the negative side for employees, the changes are resulting in an uncomfortable move away from short working weeks, extensive workers rights and associated very high labour costs.
British workers already established in the French workplace are adapting well to the changes for example, as they reflect far more the standard British working practices - and expatriate employees are welcome into the French workplace by managers keen to attract more flexible employees with international exposure. However, as local unemployment remains high, employers are likely to be encouraged to recruit locally unless there exists a skills shortage.
That said, if you originally herald from another EU member state you should not be ‘prejudiced’ against when applying for employment in France if you possess the required skills for the job as you no longer need a French resident’s permit to get work in France and you can live and work in the country unrestricted.
The main general criteria for working in France in any sector is speaking and understanding the French language. The government of France are highly protective of the language and as a direct result anyone without a solid grasp of French who seeks to obtain any kind of formal position will be unlikely to succeed in their quest for employment.
The next hurdle overseas workers can sometimes face is the translation and acceptance of their formal qualifications. If you’re considering moving to France and finding work in a particular professional sphere, ensure you check out whether your qualifications will be accepted or whether you will have to take further examinations or courses locally in France before you can apply for a position you desire.
In terms of finding a job in France you can send off speculative resumes and covering letters to employers, you can examine local and trade press for openings or you can approach government or private recruitment agencies to assist you. Consider surfing the Agence National Pour l’Emploi site for example, or just searching online for jobs in France in your preferred geographic location and/or preferred profession.
Final tips for expatriates considering working in France: -
- Business etiquette in France remains fairly formal with a strict hierarchical management structure.
- Professional experience is highly valued in the workplace.
- Finding professional employment in many parts of rural France is impossible for non-natives.
- Many expatriates working in France are actually self-employed.
- A lot of expatriates find work in the tourism sector which is one of the main industries fuelling France’s GDP.
- All workers in France have to pay social security contributions.
- Don’t realistically consider moving to France to live and work if you cannot speak French!
If living in France is your dream, make sure you’re very realistic about the amount of income you will need to sustain yourself and the lifestyle you aspire to. Then do the necessary research to find out about your personal employment prospects in France and the amount of income you can expect to earn.
If you do your due diligence and ground work there is no reason whatsoever why you cannot go to France, find a job and live a happy and comfortable life.
About the Author
Rhiannon Williamson is a publisher with specialist knowledge covering literally every single aspect of moving & living abroad.
From offshore investment and offshore banking to international living and buying property abroad.
Check out her site http://www.shelteroffshore.com/ to find out how you can escape from the rat race, relocate overseas, and profit from your move!