The 'rich list' of the best-paying professions has been compiled by L'Observatoire des inégalités (the inequality observatory) using data from the Labour Ministry and statistics body INSEE.
The ranking breaks down salaries by profession for both self-employed and salaried workers. The data is from 2019, so does not take into account the effects of lockdown on business sectors.
The salaries quoted are net salaries, after the French taxman has taken his (fairly hefty) slice of your monthly wage, and take the top 10 percent of earners within the profession.
For salaried employees, these are the best remunerated professions:
- Transport, logistics and aviation – the top 10 percent of earners take home an average of €6,958 a month
- Salaried doctors (ie hospital doctors as opposed to GPs who are self employed) – €6,408
- Banking and insurance – €6,089
- Engineers and tech employees – €5,924
- Finance executives – €5,855
- Commercial executives – €5,736
- Researchers – €5,461
- Communications professionals – €5,073
- Construction executives and managers – €4,977
- Computer engineers – €4,739
At the top of the list is transport and aviation, a category which includes airline pilots – the best-paid of whom net around €7,000 a month.
Several of the categories listed had a wide range of salaries, particularly the IT sector which showed high pay at the top, but also low salaries for those just starting out.
The report also looked separately at fonctionnaires (civil servants) who also show a wide diversity of salary.
The average earning among the top 10 percent of earners is €3,260 a month. In the top 1 percent of the profession, the average salary rises to €6,410 with the best paid being senior staff in embassies and consulates abroad, who take €13,800 a month.
But if you really want to be making money in France, you need to look at the self-employed workers including the professions libérales – which includes lawyers and doctors.
Among these the highest earners are;
- Lawyers and accountants – the top 10 percent of earners take home an average of €18,940
- Doctors and dentists – €17,740
- Pharmaceutical professionals – €13,430
- Finance and insurance – €13,410
- Vets – €10,350
- Management consultants – €9,420
- Wholesalers – €8,270
- Architects and engineers – €8,110
- Real estate agents – €7,930
- Communications – €7,800
But while being self-employed is clearly where the real money is, as an employee in France you will enjoy a range of benefits including generous holiday allowance, subsidised healthcare, plenty of days off on public holidays and (for some) extra benefits like restaurant vouchers and subsidised travel.