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As an advanced and fully industrialized country, France is known for its highly skilled workforce and technologically advanced society. In addition, the country is a major financial hub in the European Union and provides single-market access to countries throughout the European Economic Area.
The labor force in France is primarily focused on financial services, technology, and other service professions. In 2019, 77.04% of the labor pool worked in service-related professions. 20.43% worked in industrial jobs, and only 2.53% worked in agriculture.
Larger, more wealthy cities in France tend to attract the most qualified individuals seeking employment. The region of Ile-de-France, which includes Paris, makes up 30% of the country’s GDP and hosts 18% of its population.
The Sophia Antipolis technology park in Paris has the highest concentration of technology engineers outside Silicon Valley. Major global technology players have established a presence in the park, including companies such as Accenture, Cisco, Intel, IBM, Air France, and Orange.
Key business sectors for France include the following:
- Technology and Innovation: France invests heavily in technology and research and development, with a strong system in place to protect intellectual patents. It also allows significant tax credits for those companies that invest heavily in research and development activities.
- Manufacturing: France is known for its industrial companies, including vehicle manufacturers Peugeot and Renault, and the world’s largest aircraft manufacturer (Airbus).
- Tourism: Tourism makes up a large part of the French economy, as people from all over the world come to visit its world-class museums, castles, and the Eiffel Tower. As a cultural powerhouse, it is also known for its legendary cuisine.
Other major business sectors in France include national and international finance.
France is not known as a country for setting up outsourcing operations. Its workers are highly skilled, trained, and educated, but the relatively high wages and personal tax rates are disadvantageous to corporations seeking to set up outsourced operations.
For French companies seeking to outsource functions that can be performed by other skilled individuals, areas such as business processing, customer service, and human resources are the most likely to be given to a BPO organization located outside of the country.
On average, only 39% of people in France speak English. Areas known to have a greater concentration of English visitors have a higher percentage of fluent English speakers. However, these individuals will tend to work in the hospitality industry.
Multinational enterprises will generally have employees who can converse in both English and French. In particular, senior management staff will need to have knowledge of both languages.
Salaries in France range from EUR 12,500 to EUR 221,000. The median salary is EUR 46,600 per year. Salaries vary based on the type of position held and the experience that the individual has.
For entrepreneurs seeking to set up a business in France, there are several cities that offer a wide range of benefits:
- Paris: France is seeking to revamp its reputation as being unfriendly to startups by revamping its regulatory and tax structure. Paris is known for the large number of various industries that it attracts, including aircraft, automobiles, electronics, and retail.
- Marseilles: Marseilles is the second-largest city in France and is known for its port that provides a means to export goods throughout Europe and Northern Africa. It has large industries in telecommunications, biomedicine, and data processing.
- Lyon: Lyon is the third-largest city in France. It is known as a UNESCO World Heritage site and is commonly referred to as the culinary capital of France. Common industries include virology, digital entertainment, and banking.
Other cities worth looking into include Nantes, Nice, and Bordeaux.
The current unemployment rate is at 8.1%, largely due to restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, turnover among industries is comparable to other well-developed industrialized nations.
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