France is one of the most desirable places to work in the world. Its minimum wage is among the highest in Europe, and the culture encourages work-life balance through flexible hours. Ambitious, growth-oriented companies look to France to diversify and strengthen their workforces.

Looking for international companies is the best way you can get a job in France if you don’t speak French. Look for customer-facing positions instead, as many companies will be looking for English-speaking employees. Finally, look into jobs in tourism or hospitality.

You’re looking for work in France and applying for positions there. However, you are unsure whether your French literacy is nil or insufficient for a corporate setting. This guide will help you learn all you need to know about finding work in France as a non-French speaker.

How Do You Get A Job In France If You Don’t Speak French?

With the creation of numerous job opportunities in France, your chances of finding work without knowing French are excellent. Furthermore, the country has a low unemployment rate, which experts predict will continue to fall in the coming years.

Work And Residence Permits For France

Before you can work in France, you must first obtain a visa and a work permit. You do not need a work permit or a visa to work in France if you are an E.U. citizen.

If you are a non-EU citizen planning to work in France, you must apply for a short-stay or long-stay visa. To be eligible for either long or short-term visas, you must first find work in France.

You must submit your visa application form, passport, national identification document, work permit application, and a letter detailing your recruitment during the application process.

You can work in France for a maximum of three months with a short-stay visa. To be eligible for a long-stay visa, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You will be working in France for 3 to 12 months.
  • You are an intra-company transferee.
  • You will spend one or more years working for a company in France.
  • You intend to conduct research or teach at universities.

Best Areas To Work Without French

There are numerous multinational corporations and digital agencies in France that do not base their job requirements on French skills. Some industries do not operate in French, and these are opportunities for you. Among these industries are:

  • Tourism
  • Bartending
  • Writing and journalism
  • Housekeeping
  • Childcare
  • Technology and Gaming
  • Agriculture: grape harvesting
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There are other ways to enter the French corporate world if you do not speak French. They are as follows:

Job Transfer

Consider working for a company in your home country that has a presence in France. This transfer could be a long-term strategy to work for the company before relocating.

Self-Employment

You can relocate to France and start a business, but you must first demonstrate the company’s economic viability. If you are a non-EU citizen and meet the requirements for conducting business in France, you must apply for a visa.

Skills

The French labor market is currently experiencing a shortage of qualified personnel, which you can take advantage of as a skilled foreigner. Some of the occupations where skills are lacking include:

  • Plant operator
  • Engineer
  • Builders
  • Butchers
  • Carpenters
  • Programmers
  • Social workers
  • Agricultural workers

When starting a new job in France, getting a permanent job contract is uncommon. You’ll start with a temporary contract for a few months, then upgrade later.

How Do You Get A Job In Paris If You Don’t Speak French?

Being unable to communicate in French should not prevent you from finding work in Paris. The city has a variety of job opportunities that do not require French proficiency.

It also has businesses that actively seek English speakers to fill specific positions. These jobs and businesses are appropriate for people who are new to the language.

As a result, you will encounter many Americans and other English speakers who are successfully employed in Paris.

Translate your resume to French or use French equivalents of job titles when drafting your application to help recruiters understand how your experience compares to that of France.

To avoid embarrassing yourself during interviews, be clear about your French fluency in your application. If you are a regulated professional, you must obtain a French equivalency certificate from the CIEP.

In some cases, you may need to take additional courses to upgrade your qualification. Your academic credentials may not always meet the French equivalency, rendering you ineligible for certain jobs.

Although job opportunities for non-French speakers are limited, the following places can help you find one.

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Building Or Expanding Your Network Is Critical To Finding Work As A Foreigner In France

Connect with professionals on networking sites such as Viadeo and LinkedIn, or join Facebook and meetup groups to find your next job.

There are expat Facebook groups for professionals in various cities. You can find job postings and expand your network by joining these groups. They include Americans in France and Expat Life in France.

Consider Looking For Opportunities In French Multinational Corporations

These include:

  • English-speaking positions are more prevalent in multinational corporations in France’s major cities. Transport, tourism, agriculture, energy, and technology are the major industrial sectors. You can get a job in these industries if you have the right skills.
  • The 40 most important French companies (CAC 40). Among their job postings are those that do not require fluency in French. If you consider yourself a native English speaker or live in an English-speaking country, you do not need to demonstrate your English proficiency to these companies.
  • Other French companies are not well-known on a global scale. Your local Chamber of Commerce can provide you with information about the presence of such businesses in your area. They will provide you with information on the economy, local businesses, and job opportunities.
  • Diplomatic missions and consulates. Most English-speaking countries, including the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, have outposts in France that require English skills for communication.

Consider International Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) In France

There are about twelve NGOs with headquarters in major French cities, and they are constantly looking for English-speaking professionals from all over the world.

Universities Are In Constant Need Of International Professionals

In addition to teachers, these institutions require personnel to manage international relations and provide orientation to international students and researchers.

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Some examples of common English-speaking jobs in France are:

Real State Agents

Following economic issues and high housing costs in the U.K., there is an influx of British residents moving to France. Real estate firms are looking for English speakers to work as agents in their offices.

Hospitality Workers

France is well-known for its tourism, and the majority of visitors are English speakers. As a result, most hotels, lodgings, bars, and hostels employ English speakers.

I.T. Personnel

English is an important part of the I.T. culture. You can apply for jobs as a foreign English speaker with I.T. experience in companies looking for I.T. professionals. I.T. firms, such as Lacoste and Dailymotion, are always on the lookout for foreign nationals with exceptional I.T. skills and good English skills.

Freelancers

Many French companies require English writers, while others require translation and editing skills.

Babysitters

Most French families believe that their children should begin learning English by hiring an English-speaking babysitter.

English Teachers

The majority of people in the country speak French, and there is a strong desire to learn English. Because France wants to maintain ties with the English-speaking job market, the demand for English teachers is increasing. Few people are qualified to teach English in France, but competition is fiercer in major cities such as Paris. These job postings can be found on the websites of language colleges, universities, and private and public schools.

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Social Media Marketers

Businesses rely on English-speaking employees to promote their products and services on social media.

People’s preferences and skills may not be suited to the jobs listed above. In this case, you can look into other job opportunities such as:

Self-Employment In France

If you wish to start a business, there are companies that will help you do so if you have the Professional Liberal Visa. This visa comes with a multi-year permit and does not require self-employment sponsorship.

Seasonal Jobs In France

As a non-French-speaking foreigner, you can apply for seasonal job opportunities in France. During the summer, job opportunities in the hospitality and tourism sectors abound in major cities such as Nice, Paris, and Montpellier.

Another option is to apply for work on campgrounds through travel agencies. Other seasonal jobs include picking grapes for the wine industry and working in a ski resort in the winter.

Remote Work

Most employers in France offer remote work opportunities. Remote work can also be found on websites such as Remoteok, Jobs in Paris, Talent Hubstaff, and OECD.

Can You Live In France Without Speaking French?

Many people who relocate to France do not speak French at the time of their relocation. While some people learn the language over time, others, such as finance workers and bankers, can live in France for many years without learning the language because they conduct business in English.

As a non-French speaker in a country where French is the national language, it can be difficult to explain yourself and your needs. You’ll most likely encounter limited interactions and misinterpretations, but here are some pointers to help you get by.

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Communicate In English

English is the most famous and commonly used language among foreign nationals and tourists visiting Europe. Approximately 39% of French nationals can converse in English, though not fluently. For them to understand what you mean, you must speak slowly and word by word.

Learn The Basics

The greetings, food names, medication, and prices of various items are the most difficult aspects of not being able to speak French. Doctors and pharmacists at local pharmacies use French terms, and not knowing what you’re buying can be dangerous.

Understanding common French phrases are essential for completing simple transactions and purchases.

Choose Your Neighborhood

France has many international-friendly neighborhoods that are accessible to non-French speakers. Whether you intend to stay in France for a short or long time, this is an excellent area for a newcomer.

The people who live in these neighborhoods speak English as their primary language, and the locals understand that they speak influential French or English. If you make a choice to live in areas with a high concentration of locals, you will have difficulty expressing yourself.

Hire A Translator

The inability of foreigners to express themselves in French is the driving force behind the country’s numerous translation agencies. When you hire one, they will assist you with your bank transactions and other English to French necessary services.

Learning French is unavoidable if you are a student in France. You’ll need things specific to the country’s education system for enrollment, study materials, and assignments.

Pros Of Working In France

Let’s look at four key advantages of entering the French market.

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Considerable Consumer Access

Companies expanding into France can capitalize on one of the country’s most appealing selling points: its large consumer population. The French economy has impressive statistics:

  • The French economy is the third largest in Europe
  • The buying force is populated by 67.3 million domestic consumers
  • French residents have buying power, with consumer expenditures rising each year
  • The unemployment rate is low and steady, ensuring large-scale cash flow

It’s also worth noting that companies expanding into France have access to the larger European Union market. However, the increased resident pool isn’t the only advantage of E.U. trade:

  • The Euro is a strong, stable currency recognized throughout the world market
  • Ongoing E.U. reforms continue to improve economic strength and stability
  • E.U. citizens are diverse, and brands can market to numerous consumer profiles

As a result, businesses that expand into France will encounter a large, wealthy potential client base, increasing the likelihood of profits and widespread brand exposure.

Transportation Infrastructure

It is easily accessible thanks to France’s public transportation system. Domestic and international travel are both well-developed and dependable, giving both residents and foreigners significant power to travel and ship goods when needed.

Both French employees and businesses can benefit from this E.U. country’s highly developed travel and transportation infrastructure. France boasts several impressive transit metrics:

France’s transportation systems not only transport people across the country and abroad; they also allow businesses to easily ship, import, and export goods.

Furthermore, France’s public transportation network improves the country’s economic health, yielding three significant outcomes:

  1. Ample job opportunities for transit workers help to stimulate France’s economy
  2. Residents have substantial access to a wide geographic range to seek work
  3. French citizens can use public transit to seek brick-and-mortar marketplaces

High-Quality Social Services

Employees benefit from increased financial stability when they have access to social safety nets and public services. The French government prioritizes equal, nationwide availability of high-quality social infrastructure, and its spending on social services is the highest in the world.

Numerous public and government-funded services are available to French citizens, including:

  • Health insurance, maternity and paternity leave pay, pension contributions, unemployment protections and benefits, and family allowances are all part of the social security system (financial support for families with children)
  • Job training opportunities
  • The free public education system for children ages 3 to 18
  • Subsidized, low-cost higher education
  • Free online and brick-and-mortar libraries
  • Sliding scale costs for nurseries

Large-scale public benefits are advantageous to French employers. Because French workers do not have to worry about healthcare costs, childcare costs, or educational access, their wage concerns do not have to account for an expensive cost of living.

A Diverse, Skilled Workforce

Employers looking to hire in France can benefit from the country’s diverse population and highly skilled workforce.

French law forbids public censuses from distinguishing citizens based on race, effectively preventing the government from compiling racial data. However, private survey organizations estimate that more than 10% of the French population is a racial or ethnic minority. In 2010, 27% of newborns in urban areas had at least one foreign-born parent.

Employers can benefit from inclusive hiring because:

  • Employees from various backgrounds bring different ideas and perspectives to the table.
  • Diverse workplaces promote tolerance and positive working relationships.
  • Employees from a variety of backgrounds can assist businesses in selling to a diverse market.

If your company starts hiring in France, you’ll probably notice that French employees generally have high skill levels and qualifications. France invests in its workforce training infrastructure on a regular basis, most recently allocating €15 billion to job creation and skill acquisition systems. However, in the absence of ongoing investments, French workers are well-positioned for success because they have access to the following:

  • During childhood, there should be free and robust public education systems.
  • Government services of high quality, including job training opportunities
  • Low-cost higher education that can provide comprehensive industry knowledge

France is proud of its diverse, skilled workforce, and it is constantly working to improve initiatives and systems that prepare French citizens for domestic and global job markets.

Cons Of Working In France

While doing business in France has many advantages, it also has some disadvantages. Let’s look at four potential roadblocks for companies looking to expand into France.

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Language Barriers

France is not primarily an English-speaking country, and multilingualism is not widespread. If businesses and employers in the country do not speak French, they must consider a few specific factors that contribute to language barriers:

  • The official language of the E.U. is English, but the French have a strong sense of language pride, speaking French in both personal and professional settings.
  • In France, at least 75 regional languages are spoken, and French dialects can vary significantly depending on an employee’s home region.
  • Only about 37% of the French population speaks English, putting English-speaking countries at a disadvantage if they are unable to translate or otherwise facilitate multilingualism in their operations.

Companies that do not currently employ any French-speaking employees should devise a strategy for overcoming potential language incompatibilities before hiring in France.

High Labor Costs

Hiring in France can be costly for a variety of reasons, including:

The Workforce Is Highly Skilled

The more qualified a worker is, the more valuable they are to the operations of a company. Because the country’s education and job training initiatives are so effective, this reality may result in higher base wages for French workers.

Taxes Are High

While widespread benefits reduce employees’ financial stress, taxation pays for these extensive safeguards. When calculating employee wages, employers must account for high individual taxes.

Employee Benefits

Employers must provide a variety of employment benefits to their French employees, which can be costly. Maternity and paternity leave, vacation pay, sick leave, and death insurance are a few examples.

French employees are entitled to extensive public services and mandatory benefits, which can make hiring workers in France prohibitively expensive.

High Business Tax Rates

Businesses contribute significantly to the country’s tax base as well, paying a relatively high corporate income tax rate of 28.4% in comparison to the rest of the world economy. In comparison, the corporate tax rates in the following countries are:

  • 21% in the U.S.
  • 19% in the U.K.
  • 25% in China
  • 20% in Russia
  • 26.47% of Canada
  • 35% in Argentina
  • 9% in Hungary

Other taxes that French businesses must pay in addition to corporate taxes include:

  • Property taxes
  • Payroll taxes
  • Consumption taxes for goods and services

These high taxes can add up, potentially reducing a company’s bottom line. If you want to expand to a country with relatively low corporate tax requirements, France might not be the best choice.

Foreign Businesses Face Complicated Establishment Laws

French business entity formation laws can be complicated, and companies looking to expand in the country should be aware of two nuances:

  • To operate a business in France, an entrepreneur or company must open a bank account, and corporate banks require minimum capital investments.
  • Establishment and employment are highly regulated, resulting in a significant amount of red tape.

Furthermore, France has specific regulations in place for niche industries such as hairstyling, modeling, and medicine. Before they can begin the establishment process, employers should be prepared to fully understand how compensation works in France and submit extensive licenses and qualifications.

However, the complexity of entity formation does not have to be a deterrent. If a company wants to hire workers in France, it can work with an employer of record, a third-party company that will hire international workers on their behalf.

Final Words

This final section brings us to the end of this article. We hope our article helps you with all you have to know about finding work in France without knowing above-par French!