Working in France

Working in France by Léo Parpais

This article was written by Global Graduates, published on 12th May 2010 and has been read 13678 times.

Surface area: 643,801 km.
Population: 66.7 million.
Largest cities: Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille, Nice, Nantes and Strasbourg.
Unemployment rate: 10.5% (Apr '15).
Minimum wage: €1,457.52 per month (Jan '15).

Average costs

  • 50 m² apartment: €700 - 1200 per month 
  • Loaf of bread: €0.75 
  • Cinema: €8 
  • Meal in a local restaurant: €15

Where are the jobs?

  • Engineering 
  • Design 
  • Manual work 
  • Property sales 
  • Customer services 
  • Catering 
  • Sales 
  • IT 
  • Secretarial

Major French companies

  • Carrefour- retailer with job and internship opportunities in marketing, finance, risk management, etc. 
  • Sodexo Alliance - food and facilities management services. 
  • La Poste - the French postal service. 
  • France Telecom - one of the world's leading telecommunications operators. 
  • PSA - Peugeot-Citroën car manufacturer. 
  • EDF - leading energy player active in all major electricity businesses. 
  • Vivendi Universal - world leader in communications and entertainment. 
  • SNCF- French National Railway enterprise.

Tips and advice

  1. In France, you are expected to have studied towards a professional goal (i.e your degree leads you to gain a certificate to get a specific job). It's not as flexible as in the UK, so make sure your work experience is highly relevant to the sector you're interested in. 
  2. You are expected to have a high level of French language skills
  3. Recruiters hesitate to give permanent contracts so you're most likely to be offered a CDD (contrat à durée determinée) or CTT (contrat de travail temporaire) 
  4. Send your CV in with a photo and without references. 
  5. We tend to use verbs to express our job activities, the French use nouns (I liaised with = liaison avec) Most students/graduates are having to work as interns or stagiaires.

Useful French websites


For more information and tailored help, visit

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