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
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:
- AXA Group
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.
Popular graduate jobs
- Food processing
Search for jobs in France from home, at:
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.
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:
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:
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.
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:
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:
- 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.
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.
Find out more
- Discover what it's like to study in France.