July 14, 2023
min read

Average Salary in France

Eli McGarvie

If you're planning to work or live in France, it's important to understand the typical earnings in the country. This article breaks down the average salaries in France, and will also highlight any differences across various professions and locations. We also cover the minimum wage to give you a full picture of what you can expect to earn.

What is the average salary in France?

Avg. salary per year

39,300 EUR

Avg. salary per month

3,275 EUR

According to the French National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE), the average salary for 2024 is €2,587 net per month or €39,800 net per year. However, various factors, such as location, education level, experience, and industry, can influence this figure.

It’s also important to note that the range of average wages in France is quite broad, ranging from €1,915 to €7,230 per month. In France, the best-paid jobs include CEOs and CFOs in big companies, along with lawyers, bankers, surgeons, and orthodontists. These professions earn high salaries because they require a lot of skill and education, and they have important roles in their organisations or fields. But more about these influencing factors later.

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What is the minimum wage (SMIC) in France in 2024? 

When discussing salaries in France, it's essential to consider the national minimum wage, also known as "salaire minimum interprofessionnel de croissance" (SMIC). As of 2024, the minimum wage is €11.65 per hour or €1,766.92 gross per month for a full-time employee working 35 hours a week. This minimum wage is subject to adjustments and may differ across various sectors due to collective labour agreements, which sometimes set higher minimum wages for specific industries.

In France, every worker is guaranteed at least the minimum wage appropriate for their age. However, there are exceptions, such as young apprentices and student interns. For apprentices under 25, the wage depends on their age and level of experience. For instance, those employed by the same company for more than six months must be paid at least the full minimum wage. Student interns, on the other hand, are entitled to compensation that is often less than the minimum wage if their internship lasts at least two months. This compensation, while not equivalent to a full salary, is intended to support basic expenses like food and transportation.

It’s also worth noting that the minimum wage settings are part of a broader economic framework in France aimed at ensuring a decent standard of living for all workers, which reflects the country's commitment to social welfare and labour rights.

Salary for a comfortable life in France

In France in 2024, you'd typically need between €3,500 and €4,000 per month to live comfortably as an individual. This amount should cover your basic living expenses plus a little extra for leisure and savings. For families of three, around €6,000 to €7,000 per month is recommended to manage the higher costs of housing, food, and transportation comfortably.

Living costs vary significantly across different parts of France. Paris, for example, is much more expensive than other cities like Lyon or Toulouse, especially for housing and eating out. While salaries in Paris tend to be higher to offset these costs, it's important to consider whether the increased income will cover the higher living expenses in the capital. For those planning to move, it’s wise to evaluate the lifestyle you want against what different French cities can offer financially.

Average salary by French city

While the average salary in France may be lower than in some other European countries, one can still enjoy a good quality of life with careful financial planning and budgeting.

The below figures are according to data shared by WorldSalaries

City Average Annual Salary 2023
Paris 54,100 EUR
Marseille 53,600 EUR
Strasbourg 50,800 EUR
Toulouse 50,600 EUR
Lyon 50,600 EUR
Nice 50,000 EUR
Montpellier 49,000 EUR
Nantes 48,300 EUR
Bordeaux 44,500 EUR
Lille 44,200 EUR

In Paris, the average salary is 9.8% higher than the national average. This is due to the concentration of high-paying industries and multinational companies in the capital city. 

On the other hand, if you choose to settle down in Lyon or Bordeaux, you’ll find that the average salaries are lower. These cities have a lower cost of living compared to the larger ones, which can result in lower wages. However, it's important to note that the cost of living is also lower in these regions so that it may balance out in terms of overall quality of life.

When deciding where to settle down, consider the cost of living, job opportunities, and your personal preferences. Make sure to research the average salaries in your desired location and industry, and you’ll be able to make an informed decision and ensure you have a comfortable income.

Salary by Career Path

Highly skilled professionals in top managerial positions or in the finance, programming, and legal sectors can expect lucrative paychecks in France. These industries offer some of the highest salaries in the country and provide ample opportunities for career growth and progression. If you're an experienced manager or working in the fields of finance, programming, or law, you can look forward to a rewarding salary that reflects your expertise and responsibilities.

Dares provides information on the average monthly net salaries for some of the highest-paying industries. Here are some of the figures:

Sector Average Monthly Net Salary 2023
Legal and Accounting 3,300 EUR
IT 4,335 EUR
Commerce 2,421 EUR
Pharmaceutical 3,280 EUR
Banking 3,280 EUR
Insurance 3,280 EUR
Technical Design 3,041 EUR
Metallurgy 2,778 EUR
Culture and Communication 2,656 EUR
Real Estate 3,100 EUR
Engineering 3,170 EUR
Architecture 2,880 EUR

Here are some key points and salary ranges to consider by career path in France:

  • Top managerial positions: Senior managers and executives in major companies are among the highest earners, with salaries ranging from about €59,100 to €165,000 a year. Their role in shaping company strategies and managing significant resources justifies these high salaries.
  • Finance professionals: Jobs in finance like investment bankers, financial analysts, and managers pay well, sometimes up to €103,000 annually. These roles require a deep understanding of financial markets and skills in managing complex transactions.
  • Programmers and IT professionals: The tech industry in France is booming, making it a lucrative field for programmers and IT specialists. Depending on the role and experience, tech professionals can earn significantly, with top positions like Chief Information Officers making up to €82,500.
  • Legal professionals: Lawyers, especially those specialising in corporate law or litigation, also command high salaries. Depending on their expertise and the complexity of their cases, lawyers can earn between €63,500 and €208,000 annually.
  • Career growth and development: Advancing in these high-paying industries often leads to better salaries. Gaining experience, taking on more responsibility, and keeping up with industry trends are key to earning more.

Average salaries in other European countries 

Other European countries are also appealing places to work and live. With a high standard of living, residents enjoy advanced infrastructure, top-notch healthcare, and comprehensive social welfare across the continent — similar to France. Let’s look at some more European countries and their respective annual salaries.

Average Annual Salaries in Europe
Country Average Annual Salary (Euros)
Switzerland Flag Switzerland €84,159
Norway Flag Norway €56,810
Denmark Flag Denmark €49,850
Germany Flag Germany €49,260
Finland Flag Finland €47,688
Sweden Flag Sweden €43,690
Netherlands Flag Netherlands €42,236
France Flag France €39,800
Italy Flag Italy €35,561
Austria Flag Austria €31,407
United Kingdom Flag United Kingdom €30,031
Spain Flag Spain €29,113
Slovenia Flag Slovenia €27,350
Estonia Flag Estonia €22,850
Portugal Flag Portugal €22,000
Poland Flag Poland €20,390
Czechia Flag Czechia €19,200
Hungary Flag Hungary €18,807
Croatia Flag Croatia €16,440
Greece Flag Greece €15,335

Factors that influence salaries in France

The following factors will shape your earning potential and determine the size of your paycheck in France.

1. Education

In France, higher education levels generally result in higher salaries. Holding a diploma or certificate, for example, can earn you 17% more than someone with just a high school diploma. A bachelor's degree can increase your earnings by 24% compared to those with a certificate. As you continue to pursue higher education, a master's degree can lead to a 29% increase in salary, while a PhD can result in a 23% higher pay rate than master's degree holders.

2. Sector of employment

In France, your career choice and industry greatly influence your earning potential, especially in high-demand sectors like IT, legal, and finance. IT professionals, such as software engineers and cybersecurity analysts, can expect salaries between €45,000 and €74,000 annually. Legal experts, particularly in corporate and international business law, also command high wages, often starting from €80,000. Similarly, financial roles like analysts and investment bankers see earnings from €48,000 to over €62,000. For those in executive management, the compensation reflects their critical decision-making roles, with top managers in large companies earning substantial salaries. Understanding the market value of your skills in these fields is key to assessing potential earnings in France.

3. Experience level

Your experience significantly impacts your salary. Generally, more experience leads to higher pay as employers value proven skills and expertise. As you build your career, you can negotiate for better pay and benefits. Additionally, knowing French can be a big advantage in France. It helps in everyday work interactions and broadens your job opportunities, especially in roles that require good communication. Certifications like DELF or DALF can confirm your language skills, and make you a stronger candidate and possibly enhance your salary prospects.

4. Location

Lastly, your location within France can also affect your salary. Regions like Île-de-France and Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur tend to have higher wages due to factors such as a higher cost of living and increased demand for specific skills. It's important to research and consider the regional variations in average salaries when planning your career and relocation within the country.

Understanding what affects your earning potential helps you negotiate a competitive salary in France. Remember, factors like the economic environment, your company's size and financial health, and any industry-specific labour agreements can also influence salaries. 

If you're a developer in France and your salary is below what's typical for your experience and role, consider updating your resume. Platforms like WeAreDevelopers connect tech professionals with top companies across Europe, offering numerous job opportunities to enhance your earnings.

Average Salary in France

July 14, 2023
min read

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