Economic Overview of France and What it means for International Students?

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Piyush Kohli
Study Abroad Expert
Updated on Dec 28, 2021 13:02 IST

The economic growth of France for the recent Q3 ending in September 2021 recorded a long time high of 1.3% increase, totalling to an overall growth rate of 3%. Initially, it was speculated that the growth would settle at 2.3%, whereas, the growth numbers outgrew the speculated number and touched 3%. This growth of 3% is not just for Q3 but also for Q1 and Q2 as well. Sector wise growth rate in 2021 can be seen through the following statistics as released by the French Government:

  • Household consumption expensditure closed at 4.9%
  • Fixed investment recorded only 0.2% in comparison to 2.4% previously.
  • Net wxternal demand saw a contribution of 0.7%.
  • Total GDP growth upto Q3 has increased by 2.3%.

Economic Overview

France is one of the largest economies under the European Union (EU), so, average salaries in France are amongst the highest in the EU. Apart from this, most of the employees in France are part of the unions that protects their rights. According to Eurostat, France ranked seventh EU economy in terms of average salaries and comes just behind Belgium and Germany. In the last few years, the French economy has seen an upward trend in salaries. It is 1.2% for managers and 1.1% for other employees.

France's Economic Growth for 2019 and 2020

France has a diversified economy and its leading industries are tourism, manufacturing, and pharmaceuticals. In 2019, France ranked as the world’s seventh-largest economic power, just behind the United Kingdom and India. According to official data from the World Bank and projections from Trading Economics, France’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was worth 2715.52 billion US dollars in 2019. The GDP value of France accounts for 2.26 percent of the world economy. In 2021, France’s GDP is projected to be around $2510.00 billion and $2590.00 billion by 2022.

More than three-quarters of the active workforce is engaged in the tertiary sector. This sector alone constitutes 70% of the French GDP. France is one of the leading tourist destinations in the world with 91 million foreign visitors in 2019, another consecutive record year after 2018 which registered 89.3 million international tourists.

Though the country had the shortest stay in the recession and was able to recover from the same in four quarters, it has had a long spate of stagnant growth rates and almost invariant inflation of 0.04 percent. The overall mood of the economy stays stable. Though consumption continues to be in tandem with the production, the delayed reforms in the economy as suggested by the government have been touted to increase the concern of professional rating agencies. France has shown steady improvement after the recession, gaining a modest but positive growth rate of 1.8 percent in the last fiscal. With improvements across various sectors, France is on the way to recovery.

France continues to be a famous study abroad destination. The recent changes in France’s policies related to post study work permits for Indian students have furthered the desirability of France as a study abroad destination. And yet, there are concerns that trouble students planning to spend a considerable amount of money on their higher education. And the biggest concern relates to finding employment after they complete their studies. Needless to say, that depends on the economic outlook of the country. The article attempts to remove some of the concerns by sharing the economic overview of the country and more importantly highlighting how it affects international students as a whole!

What does it mean for International Students?

Economy and Governmental reform have a direct impact on both the labor sentiment of the country as well as the overall prospects of employment. The country’s ability to hold a stable fort in the face of the global recession is a positive sign. Furthermore, with intended reforms in the labor policies, the outlook for future students is strong. 

  • France has been a preferred destination for artists, thinkers, writers, scientists, and, engineers, globally and many of them have made it their home.
  • Along with being the world’s seventh-largest economy, France is also the third most popular destination for international students. International students are flocking to France more and more.
  • The number of international students has doubled between 2000 and 2017. And it has grown at a tremendous rate of 18% since 2012. In 2019, around 10,000 Indian students chose France for pursuing higher education.
  • France is undoubtedly one of the most cost-effective options when it comes to studying abroad offering finest education at affordable rates. Reasonable cost of living and generous aid from the French government make it one of the favourite destinations for international students. 

Needless to say, France continues to be home to 31 Fortune 500 companies with many of them at the world-leading position within their industry. Companies like AXA, BNP Paribas, Carrefour, Crédit Agricole, EDF, L’Oréal, Michelin, Orange, PSA Peugeöt Citroen, Renault, Saint-Gobin, Sanofi, Total, and Vivendi continue to be amongst the largest employers with a steady rise in demand for young graduates. Sectors like Communications, Transport. Nuclear Energy, Tourism, Chemicals, and Aviation continue to have steady and high productivity. As such, though the growth in the national employment rate is a dismal 0.4 percent, the popular job sectors in France continue to attract fresh talent.

To summarise, for students planning to study in France, it offers a good opportunity. While finding a job would be directly proportional to your performance in your academics and your French Language skills, there is hope still. If the economy continues to be on its reform stage with better policies for international talent, students can look forward to a good start and steady opportunities. Furthermore, with revised post study work permits for Indian students and the extended time to look for better options, France has a lot to offer. So if you are planning to start your Study in France this year or next, by the time you are ready to start a job, you are sure to find one.

About the Author
Piyush Kohli
Study Abroad Expert

With a plethora of knowledge of the education domain, Piyush Kohli has been involved with study abroad for over 5 years and counting. He comes with prior experience on the complexities of the study abroad applicatio... Read Full Bio


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