NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

FRENCH YOUTH SEEK JOBS IN BRITAIN

August 1, 2006

Many French graduates have crossed the channel to live in the United Kingdom.  Like others, they had only planned to come for a while, but ended up staying.  It may be may hard to fathom why someone would leave a country with better food, more reliable transport, longer lunch breaks and more generous social security.  But the answer is simple, says BBC News: most have come to find work.

It is this sense of opportunity that attracts French 20 and 30-somethings to Britain.  Many of them are dispirited with the way things are done in France, says BBC News. 

  • Some 15,000 French move to the United Kingdom every year.
  • The French embassy says there are 270,000 French people living in the United Kingdom, though others say there are many more, perhaps as many as 350,000.

One explanation for this is the education system, which is often criticized for being highly elitist and inflexible, says BBC News. 

  • Unlike in Anglo-Saxon countries, many in France remain skeptical of unfettered capitalism and French businesses sometimes remain closely intertwined with the state.
  • More than one in five of France's 18 to 25-year-olds are unemployed, twice the national average.
  • French graduates in Britain, meanwhile, say it is easy to find work in the United Kingdom.

Job security is often deemed a sacred part of French life, yet this perception might be based on myth, says BBC News.  French workers say short-term contracts, which offer no job security at all, are the norm for the young in France.  The resulting uncertainty makes it hard to rent a flat or open a bank account.

Source: Clare Davidson, "French youth seek jobs in Britain," BBC News, July 31, 2006.

For text:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/business/5048428.stm

 

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