Expat jobs in France: best sector opportunities

France is a popular location for expats, both retirees and workers. While those looking to retire to the country tend to gravitate to either the sunny climes of the south coast or the pretty rural countryside, for British workers, the cities and their surrounding areas offer the best opportunities.
There are a lot of things to think about before moving to France, such as choosing where to live and what kind of property to go for, finding the right school, arranging suitable healthcare and getting to grips with the taxation system. But top of the list is finding a job as an expat.
While many British expats will move to France with a job offer securely in place, this may not be the case for partners or other family members also relocating, who need to look for work. Or maybe it’s a case of finding out whether a move for work would be viable, by seeing what kinds of jobs are available and what sectors are currently in demand.

Key industries

The French employment agency Pole Emploi recently released a list of the top sectors looking for workers in 2017. The list is fairly varied, with a lot of demand centred around the tourism industry, particularly in the restaurant business, due to the high visitor numbers that visit the country every year.
Wine production and the agricultural industry are both high on the list, with France being the leading producer of agricultural goods in Europe, which takes into account its world-renowned wines. The agricultural industry is huge and it employs around 3% of the active population in France.
Other occupations that make the list for demand in 2017 include creative arts (such as dance and music) and care work. There is also a need for tree surgeons and maintenance technicians, where specialist skills are required.
However, there are still plenty of opportunities to be found outside of this list, particularly in multinational companies that have an office in France. France has the sixth largest economy in the world, so it is attractive for workers from many different countries, although it is still coming back from the global economic crisis. It can be difficult to find a high-level job as an expat, which is why so many workers will move on an inter-company transfer. Some industries are still struggling to recover, including construction and vehicle engineering.

Other options and advice

France is home to 31 of the Global Fortune 500 companies. Sectors that traditionally do well in the country include hospitality, telecommunications, aerospace and defence, ship building, pharmaceuticals, construction and civil engineering, chemicals, automobile production and banking. These sectors may provide good opportunities for those with the right skills. Management skills are generally in demand, as well as public sector experience.
France is also a good place to start a business, with new rules that came into force in January 2015 making it easier for freelancers and micro-enterprises (small businesses turning over less than a set amount per year).
It is much easier to land a job in France by having some knowledge of the French language. While it might be possible to get by in an international office speaking English, it will make negotiations and networking simpler by learning key phrases.
Make sure that everything is covered before relocating France for work, with our Moving to France checklist, which covers the essential items, paperwork and admin required.