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Working in France: What you can expect to earn?

If you want to work in France, it's helpful to know what you can expect to earn - here's a look at the industry-standard salaries on offer in a range of different jobs.

Working in France: What you can expect to earn?
Marie-Chantal Baumstarck, a middle-school English teacher at du Roy d'Espagne, in Marseille, southern France, on the eve of the 2014 school year. (Photo by BORIS HORVAT / AFP)

If you want to work in France one of the key questions is how much can you expect to earn? France is not generally known as a high-wage country, although on the other hand the cost-of-living in some areas is also quite low.

READ ALSO How much money do you need to live in France?

French daily newspaper Le Parisien has put together a ‘salary simulator’ where you can check the industry standard for your profession, covering a wide range of different types of jobs.

With the obvious caveat that a lot depends on your experience, whether your qualifications are recognised in France and whether (if applicable) you speak French, you can check out the simulator HERE

Below are five examples of standard rates of pay (annual, before tax) using the salary simulator, for jobs popular with foreigners in France;

Tech

France has been making a big effort to attract tech workers in recent years. It has even launched the ‘French Tech Visa’ – a type of ‘passeport talent’ (you can read more about this residency permit HERE) that allows you to work in France for up to four years if you have been offered a job at an eligible French company.

French President Emmanuel Macron also launched the “Choose France” campaign to attract foreign investment in French tech, as well as to make France a more appealing place to work for technology workers. The website Welcome to France (written in English) is also geared toward attracting foreign talent and start-ups, and offers links to tech-specific job boards for English-speakers looking to work in France.

To give an example of this, we picked the average salary expectations for a “Data Scientist or ML Developer”

With 0 to 2 years experience in the field: Between €40,000 and €45,00
With 2 to 5 years experience: Between €45,000 and €60,000
With 5 to 10 years experience: Between €60,000 and €70,000
With 10 to 15 years experience: Between €70,000 and more than €80,000
With 15 years experience or more: Between €70,000 and more than €80,000

Healthcare Assistant/ Worker

A shortage of healthcare workers means there are plenty of jobs in this sector – but many roles require French qualifications.

Foreigners looking to work in French healthcare might consider being a healthcare assistant or aide – more accessible professions which require less country-specific training.

For this field, we chose a ‘healthcare assistant’ at a care facility for the salary example:

0 to 2 years : Between €21,000 and €24,000
2 to 5 years : Between €24,000 and €28,000
5 to 10 years : Between €28,000 and €32,000
10 to 15 years: Between €32,000 and €36,000
15 years and more : Between €32,000 and €36,000

Marketing and Public Relations

As many French companies and businesses seek to increase their appeal to English-speaking audiences, your status as an anglophone could come in handy. The website Emploi Strategies is focused on jobs in marketing and PR, with many ob postings asking that candidates either be bilingual or speak some level of English in order to apply. 

We chose the role of “Product Manager” for the example within this field. 

0 to 2 years : Between €30,000 and €35,000
2 to 5 years : Between €35,000 and €45,000
5 to 10 years : Between €45,000 and €55,000
10 to 15 years: Between €45,000 and €55,000
15 years and more : Between €45,000 and €55,000

Tourism

This is a field that is accessible for English-speaking foreigners – France is the world’s most-visited tourist destination and the relaxation of Covid-related travel restrictions helped create a huge rebound in tourism in France, particularly on the part of American tourists, who made up around 12.7 percent of foreign tourists in 2022.

With an influx of English-speaking tourists, as well as a minimum level of English often being a stated requirement for those working in France’s tourism industry, being a native speaker could be in your favour.

We chose the example of an “Account Manager”:

0 to 2 years : Between €28,000 and €35,000.
2 to 5 years : Between €30,000 and €38,000
5 to 10 years : Between €35,000 and €45,000
10 to 15 years: More than €45,000
15 years and more : More than €45,000

Local variations

The data comes from PageGroup, a firm specialising in executive recruitment, who analysed the majority of salaries offered in the first half of 2022 – encompassing over 800 jobs in 24 sectors across France.

Some career fields might not be listed on the simulator, particularly those pertaining to public servants whose salaries are indexed.

French salaries will also depend on region – you can expect to earn more in the Greater Paris area than in other parts of the country. On average, salaries were between five to ten percent lower than Paris in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Pays de la Loire and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, 15 percent lower in Brittany and Occitania, and up to 20 percent lower in Centre-Val-de-Loire, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Normandy, the Grand Est and Hauts-de-France.

If you did not see your industry listed above, you can try the job simulator HERE.

Education

This is another common field for foreigners seeking to work in France. Education is one of the ten fields that the French government expects to be hiring the most in the next ten years.

Additionally, English-language instruction has become more of a priority for the French Education Ministry, particularly after launching its Emergency English learning plan for French public schools.

Teaching is not included on Le Parisien’s salary simulator as teachers are considered ‘fonctionnaires‘ (civil servants) in France, however the government does publish national pay scales for teachers. 

Keep in mind that if you are looking to teach English in France, you will need a TEFL certificate. If you are looking to work as a secondary school teacher generally, you must pass the “Capes” examination (Certificat d’Aptitude au Professorat de l’Enseignement du Second degré). 

You can see the table for teacher salaries based on seniority below – unlike the salaries listed above, these are displayed as after-tax. 

Education Minister Pap Ndiaye announced in August that starting in September 2023, first year educators will earn €2,000 (post-tax) per month, and that there will also be increases for teachers in the “middle of their career” by the same date.

As of September 2022, a first year teacher earned approximately €19,680 per year after taxes. For a teacher with four years of experience, this amount would be closer to €28,068 after taxes.

The table with salary levels by teacher seniority, as of January 2022, from the education ministry can be seen below:

Table by Education.gouv.fr

The education ministry also has its own salary simulator, that you can find HERE for more precise estimates based on your situation.

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FRANCE EXPLAINED

How do the French really feel about the English?

Deadly enemies, friendly rivals, sporting adversaries or the butt of jokes? While 'French-bashing' is an established trend among certain British communities, how do the French really feel about their cross-Channel neighbours?

How do the French really feel about the English?

As France prepare to take on England in the football World Cup, there has been plenty of mostly good-humoured banter on both sides, but in general this is a complicated relationship.

First let’s get one thing clear – while we are aware that English and British are not the same thing and that the UK is made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, French people tend to be pretty vague on the difference between les anglais and les britanniques. What we’re examining here is largely an English phenomenon, but media or politicians who at least nominally represent the whole of the UK will also be making an appearance. 

Listen to the team from The Local discuss the French-English relationship in the latest episode of Talking France – find it on Spotify, Apple or Google podcasts, download it HERE or listen on the link below.

Saturday’s World Cup football clash is making headlines on both sides of the Channel with French sports paper l’Equipe getting in early with the franglais headline ‘God save notre king’ – their king being, of course, star striker Kylian Mbappé.

Over on the other side of the Channel there were reports of English fans boycotting baguettes and croissants ahead of the big match, while the French commentator Julien Hoez found himself the subject of a UK newspaper article after making a flippant comment on Twitter about an (objectively revolting-looking, it must be said) fish-finger and cheese croissant on sale in England.

Hoez is far from the first Frenchman to be less than flattering about British food, with former president Jacques Chirac once remarking: “You can’t trust people who cook as badly as that. After Finland, it’s the country with the worst food.”

But away from banter about food and football, English ‘French-bashing’ can be more serious.

In the midst of an actual war in Europe, British MP (and, briefly, prime minister) Liz Truss remarked that “the jury is out” when asked whether French president Emmanuel Macron was a friend or foe of Britain.

Her remark is part of a long tradition of British politicians who have decided to make verbal attacks against France or the French, usually to try and distract from problems at home.

It goes way back to British portrayals of Napoleon Bonaparte (did you know that it was British cartoonists that created the myth that Napoleon was short? In face he was of average height for a man of his time) right through to tabloid headlines over Covid travel rules.

Interestingly, this is a trend that’s much less prevalent among French politicians and media, where tabloid headlines about the UK – where they exist at all – tend more towards teasing than vitriol.

Political commentator – and a Brit who has lived in France for 25 years – John Lichfield told us: “I think when British politicians engage in a bit of French-bashing they assume that their people will like it and their media will lap it up and therefore there is a sort of constituency for that type of French-bashing in England, not necessarily in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

“It’s not something that French politicians really go in for because there’s not much of a constituency for it, I don’t think there are many votes for Macron or anyone else in seeming to be anti-British.”

He added: “What’s interesting at the moment – with the England v France match – is that it focuses attention on where this ‘French-bashing’ is coming from – and it is an English thing, not a British thing. Most Scottish or Welsh people, certainly the ones that I know, don’t tend to be particularly anti-French.

“It comes from England and particularly from the English-based British media. There is of course a certain amount of teasing of Britain and British people in the French media, but nothing like as insistent and as vicious as you get from the other side of the Channel.

“I think it’s partly that we are an island and when we look out on the world France is what we see, so it’s the French that we pick on, whereas France is continental so when they look around they have lots of neighbours that they like to tease or to dislike – they don’t have the same obsession with England or with Britain as the English have with the French.”

But politicians and media and one thing, while ordinary people are another.

It’s rare for Brits living in France to report any verbal attacks or aggression from the French because of their nationality – although of course teasing and banter, particularly around sports events, are par for the course.

READ ALSO The French phrases you will need for France v England football banter

John said; “I always find that French people who don’t know Britain have a quite weird view of it – they think that we’re either all old people in bowler hats and pinstriped suits or we’re punks with purple hair and razor blades hanging off our ears who are smashing up pubs. They don’t seem to think that there’s much in between, so you do get a kind of cartoon view of Britain – as there is a cartoon view of France in England.

“In 25 years of living in France I’ve only once ever been attacked for being British – and that was by a farmer during an outbreak of foot and mouth disease that had come over from Britain, so he had an axe to grind. 

“But on several occasions I’ve had rude comments and signs made at me while driving through Britain in cars with French number plates

“I think there is still a lot of warmth towards Britain in France because of two world wars and that is not forgotten. We tend to have a rather cartoonish view of both word wars and not recognise the huge contribution made by the French towards their own defence in World War I and more of a contribution at the beginning of World War II than we ever give credit for as well, whereas I think a lot of French people – especially older French people – do remember what happened in 1944 and 1914-18.

“So there are many reasons why there are different attitudes going across the Channel – but really the British and French are very similar in many ways. I’ve said before that our two countries are like sisters who live next door to one another, constantly looking over the fence to see what the other is doing (the British more than the French it should be said) but there is this type of sisterly quarrelsome relationship in which both countries admire each other more than they would like to admit.” 

You can listen to the team from The Local discuss French-bashing and their experiences as Brits in France in the latest episode of Talking France – find it HERE.

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