Engineers and international mobility

16% of French engineers work outside of France

The IESF survey (Ingenieurs et Scientifiques de France) dedicates one page to international careers. This may seem quite little in the light of the number of French engineer expats.  According to this survey, 120 000 engineers, that is 16% of French engineers, work outside of France. Half of these are in Europe, Switzerland now stealing the US’s first place, in the midst of growing Asian attractiveness. 87% of these scientists believe that expatriation is an asset for their career. In less than a third of the cases, expatriation is a result of the company’s demand, and 18% of young engineers obtain their first job outside of France. An article published on July 2nd 2015 by Agefi entitled “Youth’s thirst for international” confirmed this attraction young professionals have for working outside French borders: expatriation of the French “Grandes Ecoles” students – both from business and engineering schools – is ever growing, especially in the field of finance, due to the dynamics of the work place… outside France! 

Expatriate or definitive "professional exile"?

As opposed to previous surveys, a growing number of expatriate engineers are not thinking of looking for employment in France in the future. This seems to indicate a definitive “professional exile.” This being said, not all engineers feel that their real worth is truly acknowledged: only 58% believe their French diploma is recognized to its true value abroad. 

Some fields are more affected than others: the highest proportion - 45% - of expatriates is found in the extractive industries, followed by the pharmaceutical industry (a third, with 14% in Switzerland), the chemical industry and banking.