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Company Formation France



Workforce in France

Updated on Wednesday 28th October 2020

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Workforce-in-FranceFrance is one of the most developed economies of the European Union which is a very important factor foreign investor take into account when choosing where to open a company. Other decisive reasons that influence their decisions are the taxation system, the legislation related to opening companies and the workforce. According to recent statistics, most foreign enterprisers consider the French labor force is highly productive.
Our French company formation agents can offer information on the employment legislation in this country.

The Labor Law in France

In order to hire employees, a French company is required to comply with various laws, among which the Labor Code is the most important as it defines the relations between an employer and its employees.
Companies in France are not biased when it comes to the ratio between nationals and foreigners working for them, as the number of expats living in this country is rather large. Moreover, these contribute to the French workforce with an important share.
The French Employment Law does not distinguish between hiring French nationals and foreign citizens, as long as the last category are legal residents of this country. This means that a foreign citizen must have a residence permit in order to legally live and work in France (this requirement applies to citizens of non-EU and non-EEA countries). EU citizens have the right to live and work in France without having to apply for such permits, however, they must register with the local police department in the city they live in within an established period of time from entering the country.
The French Labor Code provides for the following when it comes to hiring employees:
  1. all work relations must be based on an employment contract that can be for a definite or indefinite period of time;
  2. employers and employees can negotiate the terms of these contracts;
  3. the total number of work hours per week in France is 35, however, exceptions apply;
  4. companies are allowed to conduct background checks on their future employees’ qualifications and work experience;
  5. all workers are entitled to a minimum wage as established by law (the last modification to the monthly minimum wage was made in 2016).
It should be noted that recently, the French Labor Law has gone through substantial changes which mainly reflect collective employment agreements.
If you want to open a company in France and want to hire employees, you can discuss all legal matters of both procedures with our local specialists.

The composition of the French workforce

The labor force in France is takes into account persons who are employed by local companies, those who are unemployed, as well as those who are searching for jobs from the first time. There are also some exceptions, among which the following are not included:
  • - unpaid people who conduct an activity;
  • - family workers;
  • - students.
In France, it is legal to work starting with the age of 15, and the size of the work force is also influenced on the number of seasonal workers during specific periods of the year. Also, the French labor force is very diverse, as it is made of both highly skilled and non-skilled employees depending on the needs of local businesses.
If you have any questions about the possibility of hiring highly skilled personnel, our company formation agents in France can offer more information. Also, it should be noted that for company directors, specific requirements apply for those of private and public entities.

French regions with the highest density of workers

Just like in any other country, wealthy regions tend to attract large numbers of people in search of work. It is also the case of France, where the regions of Ile-de-France which encompasses Paris, Essonne, Val-de-Marne and Yvelines, to name just a few of its divisions, is the most appealing part of the country that attracts both French nationals and foreign citizens seeking employment.
Ile-de-France is home to more than 12 million citizens, representing a little over 18% of the entire population of the country and is also made of people with an age of 40 (54% of them). The region also accounts for 30% of France’s Gross Domestic Product and, at the same time, it is one of the important contributors to EU’s economy.
If you want to set up a business in this region, our company registration consultants in France are at your service.

How productive is the French workforce?

As a matter of fact, foreign investors aren’t wrong at all when choosing to open companies in France because of the workforce. Surveys show that the workforce in France is 20% more performant than other EU states’ labor forces. This is mainly due to the fact has a longer working week, however French employees have the possibility to work extra hours which leads to more flexibility at the workplace.
Other reports show that the French labor force is their level of expertise, as approximately 7% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product is injected in education and training of employees of French companies. The educational grid is free which provides for a qualified workforce for all levels of employment.
If you want to open a company in France and need assistance our local consultants can assist you with the company registration process.

How is the labor force distributed in France?

It is important to know that France welcomes both EU and non-EU nationals who want to work in French companies. Considering there are many foreign companies operating in France through branch offices and subsidiaries, foreign languages are highly appreciated by foreign investors.
When it comes to the distribution of the workforce, agriculture is one of the most productive industries in France and it employs a large portion of the workers. Other significant number of employees can be found in the IT and the engineering industries, but also in the pharmaceutical cluster.

The French workforce in numbers

The latest data on the number of employees in French companies were provided by the European Commission and Trading Economics.
According to the European Commission, in 2018, France had a total workforce made of 27,1 million people (all employed). Among these, 84.7% were full-time employees, while 18.5% were part-time workers. The highest unemployment rate was registered in the last quarter of 2018, when it reached 8.8%.
According to Trading Economics:
  • - at the level of January 2019, 71.9% of the working population was employed;
  • - in July 2019, a slight decrease was registered, as this number was 71.4%;
  • - in January 2020, the number of working people rose back to 71.9%;
  • - in July 2020, only 69.4% of the working population still had a job due to the pandemic.
If you need information on how to hire employees in France, do not hesitate to contact us. Our company registration agents in France can also assist you with the registration of the business with the Trade Register.


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Call us now at +33 9 73 22 01 51 to set up an appointment with our lawyers in Paris, France. Alternatively you can incorporate your company without traveling to France.

As a BridgeWest client, you will beneficiate from the joint expertize of local lawyers and international consultants. Together we will be able to offer you the specialized help you require for your business start-up in France.



Starting a company in France can be difficult since it involves such complex procedures. The team from CompanyFormationFrance is very qualified and benefits from extensive expertise in this area.
Mihai Cuc, Partner of
Enescu & Cuc Law Firm
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