On average, employees in France work longer hours than in Germany: 44.3 hrs vs. 42.9 hrs for managers, and 36.2 hrs vs. 34.5 hrs for non-managers. (Eurostat, 2014). France is ranked sixth in the world for hourly labor productivity, ahead of Germany (7th) and the United Kingdom (13th). Compare France with other European countries and they can look pretty industrious, but guess what?  

“THE FRENCH JUST DON’T HAVE A WORD FOR ‘ENTREPRENEUR’…”

France is Europe’s number one country for newly founded businesses. (Eurostat, 2014 – data for 2011) In 2013, more than 538,000 new businesses were founded in France, of which nearly 275,000 were established under the ‘auto-entrepreneur’ business scheme. (INSEE, 2014)
The Auto-Entrepreneur system is great for the little guy having a shot at creating a new business. But as an “auto-entrepreneur,” you are penalized for doing too much business! Believe it or not, your level of business as an auto-entrepreneur is LIMITED to:

– 82,200 euros (excluding VAT) for a buy/sell activity (gross receipts)
– 32,900 euros (VAT) for services activity (gross receipts)

“TOO LITTLE FLEXIBILITY IN FRANCE”

The Employment Act of June 14, 2013 passed in the wake of an agreement between employer federations and trade unions responds to the needs of companies to adjust output, while consolidating employment security and career paths. It builds upon renewed social dialogue within the corporate sphere, and demonstrates that France is capable of reform through negotiation.

“THERE’S SO MUCH PAPERWORK IN FRANCE”

France is among the simplest countries in the G20 in which to found a company: only five administrative procedures and seven days are required, compared with a G20 average of 7.6 procedures and 22 days.(EY, European Attractiveness Survey, 2014) France is ranked first in Europe and fourth in the world for e-government. (E-Government survey, UN, 2014)

“FRENCH TAXES ARE SO HIGH”

KPMG’s Competitive Alternatives report (2014) compares effective corporate tax rates in 10 different countries:

France is ranked first for R&D services
France is ranked third for digital services
France is ranked fourth for manufacturing

“FRANCE IS LAGGING BEHIND ON R&D AND INNOVATION”

 
France is ranked second in Europe and sixth in the world for the number of international patents filed. (WIPO, July 2013) For the fourth year running, France was once again ranked first in 2014 by the Deloitte “Technology Fast 500 EMEA,” with 86 of the top 500 fastest growth companies based on percentage revenue growth in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

“FRANCE DOESN’T ATTRACT FOREIGN TALENT”

On average, 13 foreign company directors decide to invest in France every week. France is ranked third in the world for hosting foreign students. (Campus France, 2014). Nine students in 10 who come to France recommend the country as a study destination. (Campus France survey, 2013)

“FRANCE HASN’T EMBRACED GLOBALIZATION”

France attracted 6,660 job-creating foreign investments between 2003 and 2013. (IFA 2013 Annual Report: Job-creating foreign investment in France). More than 20,000 foreign-owned companies do business in France, employing nearly 2 million people. (INSEE, 2014) Foreign investors account for 46.7 % of holdings in the market capitalization of CAC 40 companies. (Banque de France, 2014)

“FRANCE IS GREAT…FOR LUXURY GOODS AND CHEESE ONLY”

France has no fewer than 17 major groups – excluding these two business sectors – among the 200 largest in the world (Fortune Global 500, 2014); these groups are very diverse: from energy to construction to insurance. France is also ranked first in Europe in an index of the 100 most innovative organizations in the world that includes seven French companies or institutions. (Thomson Reuters, 2014)