How much do people earn in France?

According to the data from the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE), the average gross salary in France in 2023 was approximately 39,800 euros. This is one of the highest figures among EU countries.

Furthermore, the level of earnings is constantly increasing. In 2016, INSEE reported an average annual wage of 35,856 euros, indicating an increase of nearly 4,000 euros in average salary.

However, these figures should be considered in the context of the country’s economic and social development. A deeper analysis reveals that this increase largely covers inflation and also demonstrates some disparities in salary growth across different sectors.

In this article, we will discuss the wages that migrants can expect in France, as well as the regions where there is a chance to earn more.

Previously, we wrote about health insurance in the European Union.

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The SMIC, or Minimum Interprofessional Wage, corresponds to the legal minimum remuneration that any employee over 18 years old is entitled to in France.

As of May 1, 2023, the gross minimum hourly wage is 11.52 euros for a 35-hour workweek.

The SMIC is revised at least once a year based on the level of inflation and the basic hourly wage of workers and employees. Among European countries, France has one of the highest levels of minimum wage, which positively impacts workers but creates some challenges for employers.

The relatively high wage costs borne by French companies affect their competitiveness in the global market and free trade agreements.

In 2014, the French authorities seriously considered reducing this burden, facilitating employee recruitment, and decreasing unemployment. As a result, the following steps were taken in subsequent years:

  • Reduction of contributions for all remunerations below 1.6 times the SMIC.
  • Exemption from Urssaf contributions (Social Security and Family Benefits Collection Agency), except for unemployment insurance, and the application of a reduced contribution rate for family benefits for all remunerations lower than or equal to 3.5 times the SMIC.
  • Assistance in hiring the first employee (4,000 euros) applicable to employees with minimum wage.

All these measures helped reduce unemployment. Thus, in the first quarter of 2023, it stood at 7.4% (compared to 9% in 2020). This is slightly above the EU average (6%), but it falls within the average range.

The average net salary in France in 2023 is approximately 2,587 euros per month. However, it is important to note that earnings vary based on several factors. One of them is the size of the company. For instance, the average salary of 2,439 euros per month is applicable to enterprises with less than ten employees, while in companies with 500 or more employees, the average salary is 3,376 euros.

Gross salary refers to the wage before taxes, insurance, and other mandatory deductions. After deducting all contributions, the net salary is what employees receive “in hand.”

Nevertheless, not all experts consider average salary figures in France as sufficient. They argue that the arithmetic mean does not always reflect the true middle values.

As an alternative, and in some cases supplementary data, they provide median values.

The median is the number that is in the middle of a set of numbers. When calculating the median wage, all values are arranged in order, and the one in the middle is chosen: 500, 1,100, 2,200, 2,500, 3,000, 3,500, 4,200. The correct answer would be 2,500.

Thus, the median salary in France amounts to 1,850 euros net per month, or 22,040 euros per year. Agreeably, these figures are more modest.

According to the same INSEE, the average salary in the private sector in 2023 is 2,375 euros net per month. The earnings of a government employee in any profession are estimated to be 2,823 euros net.

The recruitment agency Robert Half publishes annual data on how much representatives of various professions in France earn. It examines the average annual remuneration across 86 professions belonging to four main sectors: finance and accounting, digital and technology, human resources, legal and tax, and specialized support.

The research results show that some professions stand out significantly from others due to an increase in wages averaging up to 90% within one year.

Salary levels based on employee experience (gross, per year, in euros)

PositionEntry Level (0-2 years)Mid-Level (2-5 years)Senior Level (5-15 years)
Credit Manager45,00055,00062,000
Administrative and Financial Manager55,00065,00075,000
Administrative Assistant22,50024,00026,000
Client Relationship Manager32,00042,00050,000
Lead Developer51,00059,00065,000
HR Assistant26,00030,00032,000
Data Entry Operator22,50023,00024,000
Logistics Assistant24,00028,00032,000
Marketing Manager34,00042,00060,000

Socio-professional category also inevitably influences salary. According to the Dares study, in approximately 10 sectors of the economy, the average net salary is higher than in others. Among them (in euros, net):

  • Pharmaceuticals — 3,280
  • Banks — 3,280
  • Insurance — 3,280
  • Chemical industry — 3,161
  • Technical design offices — 3,041
  • Metallurgy — 2,778
  • Culture and communications — 2,656
  • Law and accounting — 3,300
  • Real estate — 3,100 euros
  • Mechanical engineering — 3,170
  • Architecture — 2,880

Also, in addition to education level, skills, and experience, factors such as gender, age, region, and other, influence the salary level in France.

Gender Pay Gap

Despite France ranking 133rd out of 153 countries in terms of gender pay gap, many experts and human rights advocates believe there is still work to be done. The pay gap between men and women can reach up to 20%.

Interestingly, in low-skilled occupations, the gender pay gap is smaller compared to high-paying positions. For example, for the lowest 10% of paid occupations, the wage difference between women and men is only 7% (1,171€ versus 1,262€). However, among the top 10% highest-paying positions, women earn on average 21% (3,149€) less than men. This wage is 3,149 euros lower.

INSEE notes that the wage gap tends to increase over time, even though the unemployment rate among young female graduates (14%) is lower than among young males (18%). Only in the construction sector, women are paid nearly the same as men, with a difference of just 0.1%.

According to INSEE data, the average standard of living for French households has increased in recent years. Moreover, in some regions where many industrial enterprises and branches of large companies are located, the standard of living is even higher.

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This is most evident in the Île-de-France region (Paris and its surroundings), where the expensive cost of living in the capital city contributes to higher salaries. A similar situation exists in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Brittany regions, which are home to the headquarters of many French companies (such as Rocher and LCL bank) and branches of government institutions, such as the Army headquarters.

Top 10 French regions with the highest standard of living

RegionAverage Monthly Standard of Living (€)
Île-de-France23,860
Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes22,480
Brittany21,750
National Average21,650
Pays de la Loire21,620
Grand Est (Alsace, Lorraine, Champagne-Ardenne)21,610
Centre-Val de Loire21,560
Bourgogne-Franche-Comté21,480
Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur21,350
Nouvelle-Aquitaine21,290
Normandy21,200

In France, like in most OECD countries, immigrants are fairly represented among both highly educated professionals and unskilled individuals. Therefore, it is not necessary to single out this group as having specific wage characteristics.

A skilled professional who can validate their qualifications and language proficiency will receive the same salary as a native French person with a similar level of training. Meanwhile, migrants who can only aspire to low-skilled work can expect to receive the minimum wage (SMIC).

On the other hand, it should be noted that there are fields of activity where it is possible to earn a high income without having a formal education or even a good command of the language.

Top 3 high-paying professions that do not require specific education:

  • Real estate agent — ranging from 1,500 to 4,000 euros gross per month.
  • Truck driver — ranging from 1,700 to 3,000 euros without considering seniority bonuses.
  • Tourist bus or car driver — ranging from the minimum wage (SMIC) to 3,000 euros per month.

By the way, it is worth mentioning that among long-haul truck drivers, there are indeed many guest workers.

Purchasing Power

Evaluating the size of earnings is meaningless without considering purchasing power. At first glance, the situation in this regard appears satisfactory. Over the past few years, the purchasing power of French households has undoubtedly increased, although the increase has not been uniform.

This was mainly due to the implementation of government measures to raise the minimum wage and promote equal pay for men and women.

On the other hand, in recent years, interest rates on loans have remained relatively low, allowing French residents to take out mortgages and other types of loans. Prices for goods and services, in turn, have remained stable, and inflation has been moderate (5.2%).

However, according to data provided by Les Échos, in 2023, the purchasing power of French households may decrease from 130 to 364 euros per consumption unit.

Housing, food, and transportation expenses for households living in the suburbs have already increased by +17.4% (2017-2022). According to OFCE estimates, this increase in costs will be more noticeable for those living in rural areas.

Regardless of the duration of foreigners' stay in the French Republic, one of their main tasks is to provide financial support to their families back home.

When it comes to sending money, migrants often use mobile applications and online services. KoronaPay is one of them. With its help, money transfers from France can be made without any fees.

Among other advantages of the KoronaPay mobile application are:

  • 20+ directions,
  • user-friendly interface,
  • favorable exchange rates,
  • minimal number of clicks to send money,
  • instant delivery,
  • reliability and security of transfers.

You can download the application and calculate the transfer amount without entering personal information. Give it a try right now.

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