Workers in France enjoy a high standard of living, a healthy work/life balance and promising career prospects - and so could you if you're prepared to make the move and learn the language

Known as one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, France is home to the City of Lights (Paris), the sandy beaches and blue waters of the French Riviera, the spectacular ski slopes of the Alps and Pyrenees and famous landmarks such as Sainte-Chapelle, Cathédrale Notre-Dame and Mont Saint-Michel.

The third largest country in Europe has a population of 67 million and those of a working age benefit from one of the highest minimum wages in Europe, 25 annual leave days a year, low cost commutes (many employers cover this cost or contribute to it) and can look forward to a relatively early retirement age of 62.

Jobs in France

Major contributors to the French economy include:

  • agriculture
  • banking and insurance
  • information technology
  • energy
  • food processing
  • manufacturing
  • transport.

The country is also renowned for its luxury goods, fashion and cosmetics industries.

Many large and multinational companies are based in France, including:

  • Airbus
  • AXA
  • Chanel
  • Citroën
  • Danone
  • L'Oréal
  • LVMH
  • Michelin
  • Peugeot
  • Renault
  • Total
  • Ubisoft.

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

Popular graduate jobs

  • Aircraft
  • Automobiles
  • Electronics
  • Food processing
  • Textiles

Search for jobs in France at:

Skills shortages

Despite having the third largest economy in Europe, unemployment is an issue in France. Currently 7.3% of the population are out of work.

If you're a foreign worker who can speak French and possess strong commercial, numeracy and technical skills, the chances of you finding a job in the country are good. This is due, in part, to a number of skills shortages in areas such as:

  • construction
  • engineering
  • healthcare
  • IT
  • research and development
  • science.

How to get a job in France

You apply for jobs in France by email, online application forms or 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 expect this.

A French CV should be no more than one side of A4 for a junior position. It should highlight 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 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 organisation, as well as French business jargon, before you arrive. The French value punctuality and smart business dress, so you should be prepared for a formal interview setting.

French employers also 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

There are plenty of opportunities in the hospitality and tourism sector in the summer months. This is particularly the case within cities such as Paris, Montpellier and Nice, where jobs can be found in hotels, bars, cafés, and restaurants.

Another option is to work on a campsite through a travel company such as Canvas Holidays or Eurocamp, with these opportunities available nationwide.

Consider other seasonal employment, such as working as a grape picker in the thriving farming and wine industry, or temporary positions in Alps ski resorts during the busy winter months.

As a foreign worker, you'll be paid at least the French statutory minimum wage (SMIC), which is €11.65 (£10.02) per hour (Jan 2024).

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

You can also find voluntary placements through:

Teaching jobs

There's a high demand for English teachers in France, as the country looks to keep ties with the English-speaking jobs market.

To apply to the British Council English Language Assistants (ELA) programme you need to be a native English speaker, with a good standard of French (B1 - equivalent to A-level) and have completed two years of your degree. You don't need a TEFL qualification to participate in the scheme.

To find and secure other positions teaching English in France you'll likely need a TEFL qualification. Opportunities exist in private and state schools, language colleges, town halls, universities or within a company, teaching business English to employees.


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Make a living teaching English in France, with our four-week TEFL course.


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, but it is also renewable for an additional six months.

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 the 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 - by submitting a CV and cover letter electronically or by post. You can search for opportunities via:

French visas

If you're a European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) citizen, or a 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
  • a family member of an 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, including those from the UK, will need 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 - for UK citizens this would be the French Embassy in London.

You'll need to apply for a residence permit within three months of your arrival in France. This will then be valid for up to five years and must be renewed three months before it expires.

If you obtain a Masters degree in France, you'll get a non-renewable additional permit for one year while working at least 60% of the normal working week. If by that time you acquire a job with at least 50% more than the minimum wage then you may change your status from student to employee and work full time.

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 still need a good grasp of French to integrate with your community and get by while 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. 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 can find out more about how qualifications are recognised by visiting ENIC-NARIC.

What it's like to work in France

A 35-hour working week is standard in France. In addition, you'll be entitled to time off in the form of 25 days' (five weeks) paid leave in a 12-month period, as well as 11 public holidays. In 2017, a 'right to disconnect' law was introduced that ensured a company larger than 50 employees was forbidden to send work emails/messages after working hours.

The workplace typically adopts 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.

Taxes for official residents are drawn in a pay as you earn (PAYE) system, across five income tax bands.

Find out more

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