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A haven of talent & high productivity

France is dedicated to nurturing talent. It is the leading country in Europe for investment in education, spending 6.1% of GDP on education, higher than the OECD average of 5.9%. (OECD, Education at a Glance, 2011)

As a result of this commitment, France’s education system is world-class.

France is first in Europe for the number of higher education graduates in science and technology (Eurostat, 2012)


Diplomas awarded in Sciences and Technologies in 2009
(per 1,000 people ages 20-29)
Eurostat, 2012
France 20.2
UK 17.5
Germany 13.5
Sweden 13

According to OECD indicators published in 2011, France boasts Europe’s second highest percentage of 25- to 34-year-olds with a university-level degree.

France’s business schools are regularly ranked as some of the best in the world, notably HEC Paris, INSEAD and ESSEC, which made the Financial Times’ top 10 rankings of European business schools in 2011. It therefore makes sense that out of 392 higher education institutions with the most former students now in executive positions at Fortune Global 500 companies, 25 were French.

More French facts on talent:

  • 23 research and higher education hubs enable universities, “grandes écoles” and research bodies to share resources and launch joint initiatives. (French Ministry for Higher Education and Research, 2012)
  • 8.3 researchers in France per 1,000 employees, ahead of Germany (7.9), Belgium (7.7) and the UK (7.5). (OECD, Main Science and Technology Indicators, December 2010)
  • France is ranked second in the world for Fields medals (mathematics) and fourth in the world for the number of Nobel prizes obtained (International Mathematical Union (IMU), 2011)
  • Foreign students also flock to study here. France is the world’s fourth largest host country for foreign students, with 285,000 incoming students in 2010-2011. (Campus France, 2011)

The advantage for international investors who decide to set up business in France is that they can reap the full benefits of having a highly educated, highly skilled workforce.

Productivity at a glance

Yet what about the famous 35-hour working week?

According to Eurostat (2012) skilled employees in France work 44.6 hours per week on average – 4.2% more than the EU-27 average (42.8 hours per week on average).

France is ranked fourth in the European Union for hourly labor productivity, after Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Belgium putting it ahead of both Germany and the United Kingdom. (Source: The Conference Board, 2012)

80% of the French workforce claim to enjoy going to work. (TNS Sofres, 2011) 

"Our French workers are probably one of the most productive workforces that we have. They bring an extraordinary amount of talent and innovative thinking,”

Narayana Murthy, President, Infosys.