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Moving from the UK to France — work

Moving to France can be very problematic if you don’t find a job quickly enough. In such a situation, you should get acquainted with the labour market, the demand for employees within your position and competences, and get acquainted with the potential requirements of future employers before moving.

What do I need to get started to find a job in France?

Knowledge of French is a practically necessary skill if we want to work in any position in France. While in larger cities such as Paris or Marseille there will be a lot of English-speaking positions available due to the high demand, in smaller cities it can be much more difficult. The French also have a rather unpleasant attitude towards people living in their country who do not know a word in their language. 

A citizen of the European Union and the European Free Trade Association can live and work in France without the need for an appropriate visa, and enjoy the same employment rights as French nationals, except for certain positions in the public administration. 

The situation between England and France after the UK left the European Union significantly changed the functioning of its citizens living and working in France. If they work there for less than 90 days since Brexit, they do not need a long-term visa, only a work permit. Over 90 days, however, they are treated as citizens of any country outside the European Union — they need to have the appropriate visas to work in France. 

Work areas with a labour shortage

Many workspaces in France have fewer employees than they require, so job vacancies enter the labour market virtually all the time. If you are skilled in one of these areas, you should have no problem finding a fast-paced job. 

In France, the following positions now need to be filled: 

  • STEM specialists (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) 
  • vets 
  • health service 
  • electricians 
  • carpenters 
  • surveyors 
  • ICT specialists (ICT) 
  • builders 

There are also many jobs in tourism, sales, care and many other jobs where there is a large flow of workers, e.g., in production.

Work culture in France

In France, there is a strict employee hierarchy, where each employee knows his place and should stick to it. Even tables at company meetings are arranged according to the position of a given employee in the company. There will also be very little opportunity to talk directly to someone in a higher position, due to the hard-working secretaries, whose job it is not to disturb the boss and keep as few people as possible to actually talk to him. 

And while it may seem a bit scary at first glance, you can quickly see that it is a very effective work culture where all negotiations are conducted calmly and formally, and each goal is long-term and carefully planned. In French companies, everything works like clockwork, so every employee who is part of this metaphorical watch must work in his best position. 

However, it should be remembered that a lot depends on the employer and his own rules established in the company, while also it is good to have an insight into the market and work culture in France as a whole.