France has not lost its appeal ! [fr]
Brain drain, relocation… There are numerous platitudes about France’s supposed lack of attractiveness. And yet, France is one of the most attractive countries in the world. Here is the proof in 10 figures.
1. It is what most foreign investors think
65% of foreign investors find France attractive, according to a TNS Sofres-IFA survey. This confidence is increasing: it was only 53% in 2009. And 33% of investors plan to expand their business operations in France. Welcome!
2. It is the European champion for foreign investment in production
France is the number one European country for foreign investment in production, particularly in the sectors of chemistry, medicines and applied biotechnology, electronic components, medical equipment, aeronautical equipment, consulting and engineering. It is also ranked third in Europe and seventh worldwide for foreign direct investment stock.
3. It is increasingly connected
With 39.2% of fixed broadband subscribers in 2014, France is number two in the ranking*, ahead of the United Kingdom (36.8%) and Germany (35.9%). France will invest €20 billion over 10 years to roll superfast broadband out across the whole country through the superfast broadband plan for France (Plan France Très Haut Débit) launched in 2013.
4. It attracts advanced-level students
42% of students registered on advanced-level research programmes are foreign nationals. With nearly 240,000 registered foreign students, France is the fourth-ranked global destination for international students, behind the US, the UK and Australia. Did you say "brain drain"?
5. It empowers its companies to innovate
France knows how to motivate its troops: it still tops the rankings for business R&D tax incentives, including the research tax credit (Crédit d’Impôt Recherche, or CIR) and the "innovative start-up" (Jeune Entreprise Innovante) status. In 2014, it was ranked fourth for foreign R&D investment, behind the UK, and was home to 11% of all foreign R&D projects listed in Europe.
6. It is cutting the cost of labour
In 2014, the hourly cost of labour in the entire economy rose more slowly in France (+0.9%) than in the EU (+1.7%), Germany (+1.3%) and the UK (+6.7%). This is the positive impact of the tax credit for competitiveness and employment (Crédit d’Impôt pour la Compétitivité et l’Emploi, or CICE), backed up by implementation of the Responsibility and Solidarity Pact.
7. It is focusing on quality of life
France has the most affordable health system in the ranking*. At 32% of GDP, it also has the highest public expenditure on social protection. This is a strong indicator of the quality of the system. Culture, recreation, worship: France is ranked second for public money spent on improving its citizens’ quality of life.
8. It is moving to green energy
France is the third-largest European producer of primary energy from renewable sources (12%) behind Germany (17.6%) but ahead of Sweden (8.7%). It also tops the European hydroelectricity production table.
9. Its attractiveness is creating jobs
France likes foreign investment and foreign investors like France! After three years of stability, the amount of job-creating foreign investment leapt by 8% in 2014. In France, nearly 1 employee in 9 works in a subsidiary of a foreign group and 1 employee in 5 works in manufacturing, more than in Germany or Finland.
10. It is connected to the world
In terms of passenger transport, Roissy-Charles de Gaulle is the number two airport in Europe, behind London Heathrow. Both Paris airports are also in the European top 15. In France, 36 airports each have annual passenger counts of over 150,000.
* Study carried out in 14 countries: Germany, Austria, Belgium, Spain, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, United Kingdom, Sweden, United States of America and Japan.
Updated 16 December 2015