The Job Market in France

If you are interested in moving overseas and are interested in a new life, then find out how it is like to work in France...


  • Average working hours: 35 to 48 hours

  • Holidays: Up to 37 days a year

  • Job market in figures: The majority of the workforce is employed in the services sector. 27% work in the industry and 5% in the agriculture. About 44% of the workforce are women. Unemployment figures fluctuate between 9 and 11%. Around 700,000 EU and 800,000 non-EU immigrants are working in France.

  • Tax rates: From 14% to 30%, depending on the level of income.

  • Union membership: France has a much lower trade union membership nowadays, but strikes hitting the public sector or transport are still very common.

  • Working practices: Generally quite professional and formal. It is important to be punctual, polite and well organised

Types of Contracts

Full-time permanent contact - CDI (Contrat à durée indéterminée)

This type of French jobs is a stable employment, because this contract has not a fixed term of employment and it is quite complicated to make people redundant. However, there is normally a 3-months trial period at the start of the employment.

Full-time fixed term contact / CDD (Contrat à durée déterminée)

Contrary to the French permanent contract, this one has a specified duration of employment term. There is no minimum period of work for this contract and it can only be renewed for the same period as the initial contract. The maximum period of work under a CDD contract (running total or not) is for a maximum duration of 18 months. Then, the employment will end or be transferred to a CDI contract.

Temporary work contract (Contrat de travail temporaire/ intérim)

The conditions are almost the same as for a CDD, and the main difference is that this type of contract involves a third part: an employment agency. This is also a short-term contract but since 2006, these agencies can offer CDD or CDI contracts.

Part-time contract (Contrat de travail à temps partiel)

This contract applies when working less than 80% of the legal working hours, and a minimum of 60 hours per month are required.

Intermittent employment (travail intermittent)

Mainly used for seasonal French jobs.
The UK citizens working in France pay taxes to the French government. When returning, they can receive credit from the UK government to get 'discounts' on their income tax. To ensure that no UK pension rights are lost, it is better to check your UK tax and National Insurance position with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

Finding a Job

If you want to find a summer jobs in France or a real French employment, you will find the following information very useful:

  • Recognition of diplomas: For regulated professions, the recognition of the diploma is necessary and you may need to have you qualifications certified by your professional association, depending on the profession. For specific professions as some in the health sector or law, the diploma must be recognised by an official body in France.

  • Where to find a job: Governmental agencies for work exist in France and are very useful to find a job. The most important ones are:
    Pole Emploi: It is the former ANPE, replaced since december 2008 by the Pole Emploi. It's a public national institution, which centralises job advertisements and job applications and tries to help jobseekers in their searches. APEC: It is a specific French national agency for the employment of executives. Otherwise, the Internet is a useful tool to find a job in France. Websites such as Monster, Keljob, Regionsjob and are often used.

  • CVs: They are quite similar to those used in the United Kingdom, but they include the marital status in the personal details. If possible, a one-page CV is better and should be in French (if not precised). Speculative applications are also common, and more and more, you can use online application forms.

  • Covering letters: A letter of application in French has to accompany the CV and should also be in French. Before, the letters had to be handwritten. Now, this trend disappears gradually.

  • Interviews: The interviews in France tend to be similar to those in the United Kingdom, but they are often more formal. Small French companies usually do a single interview, while larger ones may use many different methods (psychological tests, assessment centres, etc...).

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