When you think of France, you probably think of great wine, maybe even cheese. At best, you may even think of the Eiffel Tower, but what few of us associate France with is financial prosperity. Yet, the median salary in the country is €2,157 (£1,180), which is over €1,000 more than the European Union average. This essentially means that if you’re inclined to relocate to this diverse country, you will most definitely be able to make a good living.
Here are the highest paid jobs in France to help you choose wisely.
10. Marketing manager
What they do: Marketing managers uniquely combine creativity, analytical thinking and leadership skills to develop strategies that will allow them to effectively promote their services or products. Essentially, they are responsible for creating, putting to effect and overseeing marketing strategies. They can be responsible for a single product, although they more commonly work with a wide range of services or products.
What they earn: Marketing managers in France can earn an average of €72,000 (£61,778). Bear in mind that working for a SME could mean a significantly lower salary, while bigger companies are usually more generous.
How to become one: To become a marketing manager, you’ll generally need a Bachelor’s degree in marketing, while an MBA with a marketing specialisation can open more doors to you. Marketing managers also need to be highly-focused, detail-oriented and extremely enthusiastic.
9. Police officer
What they do: There are two divisions of the French police: the Police Nationale, which is the civilian police force and is responsible from towns and rural areas, and the Gendarmerie Nationale, which is part of the armed forces and whose duties include preventing crime and enforcing law, as well as ensuring security in airports and ports.
What they earn: As is the case in most European countries, being a government employee pays well, and police officers can most definitely not argue with that as they earn an average of €74,000 (£63,500) a year.
How to become one: To become a police officer in France, you need to be a French national. Other requirements include good eyesight and an excellent physical condition. People interested in this profession need to also pass written exams, interviews and physical exams.
What they do: There are basically two areas in which lawyers in France practice law: one area includes assisting and representing clients in a court of law, and the other includes duties that can be also carried by professionals without a legal background, such as drawing up legal documents.
What they earn: Lawyers generally earn as much as police officers: €74,000 (£63,500) per year. However, they need to take significantly less risks, and with everything going on in France over the past few years, lawyers definitely lead less stressful lives than police officers do.
How to become one: You’ll need to spend a total of four years at university. The first three years will allow you to get a license, while the final year is essentially a Master’s which is essential to gain access to client representation, etc. Bear in mind that if you have a law degree from another country, you can get licensed once you pass the French Bar.
7. Financial adviser
What they do: Financial advisers basically provide financial advice to clients. They usually work closely with their clients to help them manage their money and they usually provide information and advice on insurances, retirement funds and savings. Due to their expertise, they can also give advice on investments, stocks, bonds, etc.
What they earn: Due to their expertise in the financial sector, financial advisers can earn an average of €75,000 (£64,400).
How to become one: You’ll need to gain a Bachelor’s degree in the financial sector. A master’s degree and a specialisation might improve your employment chances, so it’s definitely worth considering. Bear in mind that you’ll also need to be regulated in order to work in this profession.
6. Airplane pilot
What they do: Obviously, airplane pilots fly planes, so you’ll be responsible for transporting passengers or cargo. Flights can be short (inside the country) or they can be long-haul (transatlantic, etc). Contrary to popular belief, pilots do not get to enjoy travelling to destinations, as you’ll often have only a few hours in between your flights, while it’s essential to remain in good physical and mental form.
What they earn: As one of the most lucrative professions in France, pilots earn an average of €88,000 (£75,570).
How to become one: To become an airplane pilot, you’ll need to find a piloting school (there are many in France) and commit to their vigorous training.
5. Civil service officers
What they do: The civil service in France is divided into four divisions: the civil service of the State, the judiciary, the civil service of public hospitals and the civil service of local governments. Depending on which division of the civil service individuals work, their duties can range with the common thread being that they need to provide quality service to the public.
What they earn: The civil service in France is highly hierarchical and in order to become a top earner, one must patiently climb the ranks. Once you do, however, there’s high earning potential and civil service officers can make an average of €103,000 (£88,000) a year.
How to become one: Most positions in the civil service are open to European nationals and, depending on the rank of the position you’re interested in, you may or may not need a degree. You will, however, need to pass a very competitive exam.
4. Company director
What they do: A company director essentially manages a company. Responsibilities include overseeing day-to-day activities and policy development, as well as ensuring regulatory compliance. A company director is also required to manage different teams and ensure that decisions made will be profitable to the company.
What they earn: As company directors have many responsibilities, they get paid well. The average salary in France is approximately €115,000 (£98,700).
How to become one: To become a company director, you’ll generally need to start as an entry-level employee and work your way up. To accomplish that, you’ll need determination and commitment to your goal. Bear in mind that a Bachelor’s degree can help you get a job at one of the best companies in the country, while getting an MBA will go a long way to help push your career.
What they do: A broker essentially arranges and facilitates the transaction between a buyer and a seller, and receives a commission when the deal is executed. Brokers need to know the market inside-out, so they need to follow industry news and be able to anticipate trends.
What they earn: Although a relatively new profession, brokers have quickly made their way to the top and can earn an average of €115,000 (£98,700) a year.
How to become one: Brokers are generally expected to have a Bachelor’s degree in the finance sector. However, in order to become a licensed broker, you’ll also need to pass an exam, while the more industry-related qualifications and experience you possess, the better are your chances.
2. Medical Practitioner
What they do: The healthcare system in France is largely financed by the government and, as such, doctors essentially work for the government when they work in public hospitals, although there are opportunities in the public sector as well.
What they earn: Being the second-highest paid job in France, medical practitioners earn quite a lot. Experienced doctors can earn an average of €118,000 (£101,000) a year.
How to become one: To become a doctor in France, one must study between 9 to 11 years, depending on the specialty they wish to pursue. Studies are broken into three-year cycles, with the last one ranging from three to five years.
1. Member of a board of directors
What they do: An organisation’s board of directors is essentially responsible for implementing strategies that target growth and generate profit. Usually, this body represents a company’s shareholders and it’s responsible for ensuring that management is making the right decisions.
What they earn: Since the board of directors is on top of the food chain, they also earn the most lucrative salaries. In France, this translates into €250,000 (£214,000) on a yearly basis.
How to become one: Members of a board of directors are usually also shareholders, meaning that if you want to become one, you’ll need to work your way up a company’s ladder to claim this position. Having academic qualifications like a Master’s will definitely come in handy, but what truly matters is that you can prove your forward thinking throughout your career.
Living and working in France may mean lower salaries than it would back in the UK, but it also means sunnier weather, Paris and the French Riviera.
If these professions in France are not lucrative enough for you, you may want to check out the highest paid jobs in the world.
Salary information is based on data compiled and published by Hintigo (in French only). Euro – Pound sterling conversions are based on rates from 19 May 2017.
This article was originally published in June 2015.