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The labor market in France

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Find, in this article, an overview of the French labor market and some tips to guide you during your job search.

Every year, many foreign professionals looking for new opportunities turn towards France. Indeed, France seems to be a dreamland for many thanks to its great opening to the rest of Europe and the world, as well as for its rich economic, historical, cultural, academic, artistic heritage. However, landing a job there may not be as easy as it seems, especially due to the recent global economic crisis. Therefore, it will be particularly difficult for people who do not have a higher education diploma.

Employment

Unemployment rate in 2014 stood at 10% and it seems that the country is maintaining the same tendency. However, some leading sectors, such as finance, engineering, construction, information and communication technology, technical and plumbing are currently facing a cruel lack of manpower. 

As regards wages, it is regulated by the minimum salary which is known as the Salaire Minimum interprofessionnel de Croissance (SMIC). Hence, the minimum salary recommends 9.53 Euros per for a total working week of 35 hours. 

Note that the legal working week in France generally comprises 35 hours, but some sectors may require a 40 hours, or even 48 hours working week. 

Promising fields

As indicated in the article Find a job in France, the following are the five most promising sectors in terms of employment despite the gloomy labor market due to recession:

  • teaching and training
  • industry
  • information, digital and communication technology
  • trade
  • health care
  • personal services.

Resume and cover letter

It can be quite difficult for expatriates to find a job from abroad. However, you can start by sending spontaneous job application (resume and cover letter) to companies which might interest you in France, even if those companies do not require your qualifications and skills for the time being. 

In general, employers appreciate receiving a one to two pages resume, without spelling errors, in a neat French and with five main sections, namely:

  • your civil status
  • your academic training (from the latest to the oldest)
  • your professional experience (from the latest to the oldest)
  • your skills
  • your interests.

As regards your cover letter, it should detail your professional skills and experience as mentioned in your resume. It will also serve to emphasize your motivation to work for the company. Note that your work experience outside France will be a real asset to prove that you are the right candidate for the job offered. So avoid writing boring cover letter, but without falling into fantasy. 

You may also seek the help of expat associations. Indeed, many expatriates who have already been there before you have set up groups so as to help newcomers in tackling relating procedures and find a job. Networking will also be a serious advantage if you have contacts on the spot.

Note that France regularly hosts job fairs and other similar events. So make sure to visit one of these during your trip. You may have the opportunity to meet employers and produce your job applications to companies' human resource officers. Good luck!

 Useful links:

Expat.com – Work in France Forum 
Pôle Emploi – Advice www.pole-emploi.fr
Diplomatie.gouv – Finding a job abroad (advice) www.diplomatie.gouv.fr
The European Job Mobility Portal – EURES ec.europa.eu

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Member since 01 June 2008
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1 Comment
candacecrisostomo
candacecrisostomo
2 years ago

This is a good read. All the links however go to the same page - http://www.pole-emploi.fr/accueil/ . There is no difference in links although they are written different. Did they change? Is there another way to access the useful links mentioned?

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See also

If you are looking forward to live and work in Bordeaux, it is best to be aware of the local labor market's criteria. Find an overview in this article.
Located in the Pas-de-Calais region, Lille is very welcoming towards expatriates. It provides various career prospects for highly skilled profiles.
Lyon is a major economic and trade exchange platform which is rather welcoming towards expatriates who are looking forward to work there.
If you have chosen to settle in the South of France, you will probably choose Marseille. The city provides various career prospects to expats.
Nice is very welcoming towards expatriates who wish to settle and work in the South east of France. Indeed, it provides various opportunities.

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