How to get a job in France

Posted by Josh on 7th Mar 2023 in the blog in the french culture category

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Thinking about getting a job in France? If so, you're probably wondering what documents you'll need, what procedures you'll need to go through, and where to look for work.

Assuming you're coming from overseas, there are certain things you'll need to bear in mind about immigration rules and French work culture. But the process isn't quite as complicated as you might expect, and if you're successful, you have a good chance of nabbing a high-paying job in one of the best countries in the world for working professionals.

France has an excellent record on its labour laws. The statutory working week is 35 hours, and workers are required to spend at least eleven consecutive hours away from the workplace between shifts. Any extra work is paid overtime. On top of the minimum five week's holiday a year, there are eleven public holidays - and you can get extra annual leave by taking your holidays outside of the summer period. The minimum maternity leave is 8 weeks, and as of 2021 the minimum paternity leave is 28 days.

Hundreds of thousands of immigrants take up work in France each year, and it's easy to see why. According to the World Bank, France's GDP per capita is $44,000, putting it ahead of Japan ($40,000), Italy ($36,000) and South Korea ($35,000). France also has the 5th highest minimum hourly wage in the world ($13.33), higher than that of the U.K., Ireland, the Netherlands and Canada.

How to find a job

You don't need to be in France to start looking for a job there. This is especially true now thanks to the internet, and the emergence of job boards like The Local, as well as EURES for EU citizens.

As of the start of 2023
, there are estimated to be around 300,000 vacancies, and workers from abroad are taking an increasingly greater share of the job market, with fields such as STEM, IT and health particularly looking to recruit.

There are also opportunities for people who want to move to France to improve their spoken French while working, such as 'Woofing', or working as an au pair.

Do you need a Visa?

If you're looking to move to France for work from another E.U. or E.E.A. country or Switzerland, the good news is that you won't need a Visa or work permit to secure a job in France, nor will you need a job lined up before you move there.

If you are not from one of these countries, however, you will need to acquire a short-stay or long-stay visa, depending on the length of your contract. A short stay visa is valid for a maximum of 180 days, so unless your contract is a short fixed term, you will need to acquire a long stay visa.

Your employer will sort this out for you once they have offered you the job, but it's on you to disclose your status as a foreign citizen.

French work culture

One of the abiding stereotypes about the French is that they have a rather...lax work culture.

This may be true in some industries and workplaces, but this is the same anywhere in the world. The stereotype may stem from the fact that it's not unusual to enjoy a long lunch break (often a couple of hours), sometimes with a glass of wine. But that doesn't in any way diminish their penchant for hard work and dedication.

As an employee in France, you will be expected to work hard and to perform your duties to the best of your abilities.

The dress code is usually formal - suits and dresses, for example - though with exceptions at some companies. Your job interview will likely be quite formal too - even if it's over Zoom - so be prepared for that!

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