±A - Join Our Community

Learn from the experiences of other expats and make new friends in our disccussion forums and Facebook groups

±A - Cigna

±A - Read Our Guide

The Expat Focus Guide to Moving Abroad contains everything you need to know when planning an international relocation available now, completely free

±A - Compare Quotes and Save

Insurance, FX and international movers

±A - Listen to the Podcast

The Expat Focus podcast features interviews with expats living abroad and service providers meeting their needs subscribe today!

±A - Expert Financial

From our tax, investment and FX partners

±A - ExpatFocus Partners

Expat Focus Partners

Become a Partner. Click Here.

Finding Employment

France - Finding Employment

As with much of Europe, and even the world, unemployment rates in France are currently amongst the highest they have ever been. In fact, according to recent reports, there are over 3.5 million people unemployed in the country; that’s 10.5% of the overall population.

Of those in employment, around 80% work within the services sector, whilst approximately 18% work in the industrial sector, and 2% are employed with agriculture.

All EU, EEA, and Swiss nationals have the same right to employment as French citizens do and will not need a work permit to have a job, be self-employed, or set up their own business. However, due to the current employment market, with jobs being relatively scarce, it is perhaps not surprising that you will find it much easier to find employment if you can speak French.

Those from outside the EU will usually only be considered for a position if there are no suitable French or EU applicants. Non-EU/EAA nationals will also require a work permit and a residency permit to work in France. You will, however, need to secure a job before you can apply for your permit as you need a contract of work from your new employer before you can apply for it.

There are a whole host of large multinational companies based within France, who will consider applications from international graduates. Companies such as AXA, EDF, L’Oréal, Orange and Renault, all have large head-offices in the country. If you’re considering a move to France, it might also be worth looking for a job in your home country with a company that has offices in France and offers transfer opportunities.

However, it’s important to remember that, to find employment in France, you will need a suitable command of French – even if the role you are applying for requires your mother tongue; you will still need some French language abilities. If your French isn’t too good, it’s worth considering a TEFL job or similar that will allow you to brush up your French skills whilst you work!

There are a number of ways to find job vacancies in France, including advertisements in the local media and also recruitment companies. Whatever sort of role you are looking for, there are a whole host of recruitment agencies and job sites that can be used to find work, these include:

Indeed France

International Au Pair Association


Speaking Agency is a site specialising in English speaking jobs.

Any EU, EEA, or Swiss nationals can also use the European Job Mobility Portal (EURES) to search for jobs. The site also allows you to upload your CV so potential employers can find you.

In addition to private-sector recruitment agencies and job sites, the French National Employment Agency (Pôle Emploi) operates both online and through regional offices all over France. The agency lists a wide range of job vacancies including manual, unskilled, and casual positions.

Speculative applications (candidatures spontanées) are viewed favourably in France – those with the foresight to approach a company asking for potential work are considered to be ambitious and proactive. So it’s certainly worth contacting any companies within your sector for whom you’d like to work.

When you are invited for an interview, bear in mind that interviews in France are very formal and so you should always dress and act accordingly. Bear in mind that it’s not unusual for interviewers to ask questions about your personal life and future plans; so don’t be surprised if this is the case!

Once you have successfully found a role, your new employer will usually ask for proof of your identity and proof of your right to work. You will also generally need to open a French bank account, particularly if your earnings amount to over 1500 Euros per month.

Anyone working on a French employment contract is required to pay approximately 10% of their wage in Social Security contributions. If you qualify this will automatically be deducted from your wage and goes to cover health care, pensions, and unemployment benefits. All French residents, who are physically present in France for a minimum of 183 days a year will be liable to pay income tax, however much they earn. Any tax contributions made in other EU countries will receive tax credit on any income tax paid in another country.

Read more about this country

Expat Health Insurance Partners

Bupa Global

At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.


Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.