Revealed: The best companies to work for in France

A new league table has revealed what it considers to be the best companies to work for in France in 2022, based on how happy their employees are.

Woman in a teal shirt sitting beside another woman in a suit jacket in a work environment
Photo: Amy Hirschi / Unsplash

French workers are generally well protected by the country’s labour laws and are entitled to benefits like five weeks of paid holidays, restaurant vouchers and a 35-hour work week (for some).

But an annual study into the ‘best’ companies to work for takes into account somewhat less tangible strengths like trust in management, pride in work and atmosphere.

READ ALSO The perks that French employees enjoy 

The annual ranking, carried out by the Great Place to Work Institute, saw the companies put head to head in a survey that measured subjects as diverse as employee pride and their trust in management.  

In order to qualify for the awards, a company must obtain 65 percent positive responses in a questionnaire filled out by employees.

Patrick Dumoulin, president of the Great Place to Work organisation said: “In 2022, three quarters of the companies on the list are French and a quarter are subsidiaries of foreign companies. 

READ ALSO Ask the expert: How to write the perfect French CV

“Twenty years ago, it was the opposite, in particular because the subsidiaries of American groups labelled Best Workplaces in the United States encouraged them to do the same in France. 

“This shows that French companies have gradually become aware of the importance of the employee experience and have placed it at the heart of their strategy.”

READ ALSO The 10 French jobs most in demand

Here are the winners;

  • IT service management company Wavestone was named the best company to work for in France in the 2022 Great Place To Work Awards.
  • It came top in the over 2,500 employees category in the survey of 338 French businesses large and small, followed by sports store Decathlon.
  • Another digital services company, Groupe SII came in third in the 20th annual awards, ahead of DHL Express, Accenture Conseil, Kiabi, Cultura and Koesio.
  • For companies with between 1,000 and 2,499 employees, Salesforce topped the list, followed by Extia and Talan, the children’s fashion house Flashy, financial services company Cofidis, then Hilti, SNCF Connect, Sushi Shop, Recrea, and CDiscount.

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Heatwave sends France’s employees back to the office – for the air con

As France swelters under an unusually early heatwave many employees who had been working remotely since the pandemic have headed back to the office - in order to benefit from the air conditioning.

Heatwave sends France's employees back to the office - for the air con

Flexible working practices – a mix of in-office and at-home working – have become increasingly common in France since the Covid lockdowns proved that some jobs can be done just as easily from home as in the office. 

During the lockdowns, télétravail (remote working) was compulsory for those whose jobs allowed it, it then became recommended but since late 2021, flexible working practices and work-from-home has been a matter for discussion between workers and their bosses.

A study by Insurance firm Malakoff Humanis has found that 38 percent of employees in France still do at least one day of télétravail per week.

READ ALSO Can your boss force you to work during a heatwave in France?

But, with France currently burning under a ferocious early summer heatwave that is expected to send temperature records tumbling, office space is quickly filling up.

Air-con is rare in French homes, but many office spaces have it and workers are keen to avail themselves of the cool air.

“I came for the air conditioning because I didn’t need to come to work today,” one office worker in the capital told Le Parisien. “This Friday, I’m officially remote working, but I’ll be here [in the office].”

Météo France expected the temperature to reach 35C in the capital on Friday. In the southwest of the country, the mercury was expected to pass 40C in cities including Bordeaux and Toulouse.

One Bordeaux computer engineer told the paper: “At home, it gets hot pretty quickly, you can easily reach 30C. It’s much more pleasant to work with a regulated temperature, without abusing the air conditioning for ecological reasons.”

And a financial manager – working shirtless and in shorts in his top-floor apartment in Marseille – said he regretted not bothering going into the office as the heat bit. 

“If I open the windows, the hot wind blows in. When the windows are closed, I cook,” he said.