France in the battle for international startup talent

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Web developers, country managers, biz dev… French startups increasingly attract foreign talent in their teams. A significant asset at a time of steady growth.

“Dynamic French startup seeks highly skilled web developer. Fluent English needed, other languages spoken appreciated.” Talent from all over the world is flocking to young startups in droves. Indeed, the French digital industry is lacking 80,000 jobs. Half of French startups surveyed in the 2018 EY – France Digitale barometer hired foreign employees in 2017. Another survey, Atomico 2018, showed that France is international talent’s 3rd destination of choice for startups, after the United Kingdom and Germany. Most importantly, foreign employees find fulfillment in French startups. 9 out of 10 plan on pursuing their career in France, half of them for at least six years, according to a 2017 CSA study.

9 out of 10 foreign employees plan on pursuing their career in France.

A visa for the whole family

The good news is that it has never been easier to come and work in France. ”The new French Tech visa can now be used by thousands of startups, compared with hundreds before. Not only can the employees use them but their families as well, for a period of up to four years”, explains Kat Borlongan, the director of La French Tech Mission.

When it comes to profiles, business developers are the most sought after, with 14.5% of job ads on Welcome To The Jungle (WTTJ), the first European media on employment. Next most sought are full stack developers and marketers. “To succeed in going global, tech companies need to hire foreign talent. They are willing to strengthen their employer brand, so they make efforts to provide their employees with the best working conditions possible”, notes Jérémy Clédat, the founder of WTTJ.

A life environment like no other

“To be sure, the paycheck may not be as stupendous as in Silicon Valley”, admits Hélène Mazzella, cofounder of WonderLeon.com, a job board dedicated to tech.

Good healthcare and education, the cost of living, which is 60% lower than in San Francisco, all make for an enjoyable living environment for international talent.

Hélène Mazzella

If, on top of that, foreigners find an interesting job and can quickly get a sense of the impact they can make, then they remain motivated and most choose to stay. “Until now, we’ve only measured France’s attractivity by tracking investments, but we’ve observed that how international talent fits into the ecosystem has also become an indicator of attractiveness”, she concludes.