With only modest economic expansion this year, high unemployment, and an inflexible labor market, job growth in France is difficult, to say the least. However, the country is experiencing talent shortages across many sectors, and those with the necessary skills have the best chance of gaining immediate employment in the City of Light.
By Mary Anne Thompson, founder and president, Goinglobal, Inc.
France’s employment levels are not forecast to rise significantly real soon, but job opportunities do exist in the country. According to a recent report by Hays, nearly 75 percent of surveyed employers plan on hiring staff this year, with engineering R&D, IT and banking sectors exhibiting the most employment growth.
Recruiters report significant difficulties finding qualified candidates for engineering, construction and sales management-level occupations. Managers also are needed in the B2B, distribution, industry (agribusiness, mechanical, electrical, metallurgy), health and social work, banking and insurance, and IT industries.
Recruiters lament a lack of experienced and knowledgeable candidates, particularly with specific technical, managerial and/or linguistic skills. For many companies, however, the problem isn’t a lack of qualified candidates, but rather attracting candidates to areas outside of the larger cities, especially candidates in relationships — it is often difficult for a candidate’s partner to find work in a new area.
Health and social work: Qualified management-level candidates are needed.
Public sector: The public sector is a major employer in France – one in five jobs is in the public sector. Most of these jobs are in the state and regional administrations, and health care. Nearly 60 percent of local and regional administrations report having difficulty recruiting workers. Most jobs in the French civil service are open to citizens of the European Union.
Information Technology: Recruiters report having difficulty hiring for a variety of management-level IT positions, including software developers, consultants, network administrators, programmers and salespersons. Recruiters seek candidates with the right combination of technical, language and sector knowledge and experience, particularly for sales positions.
Engineering: There is a shortage of qualified engineers for management-level positions such as research engineer, project engineer, sales engineer, and software and IT engineer. Companies seek candidates with the right combination of technical, managerial and linguistic skills.
Banking: Recruiters report a shortage of management-level candidates for positions such as accountant, credit risk manager, claims manager and consolidator, and support functions such as IT. In many cases, recruiters seek management candidates with both sector and technology experience.
Business and Marketing: Sales and commercial managers remain the most sought-after profiles, followed by financial administrators and R&D managers. In particular, management-level sales candidates are scarce, particularly sales engineers and technical salespersons. Recruiters cite difficulty finding candidates with both technical and sales skills, and bemoan a general lack of sector experience.
Slight economic and employment progress is being made in the City of Light, but there is still work to be done for employers to feel the confidence they need to hire more frequently and permanently. Jobseekers with the necessary skills and talents needed now have the best chance of finding employment in challenged France.