For internal auditors navigating a career on French soil, the key thing to acknowledge is the country’s evolving internationalisation. From start-ups, of which there are plenty, to the larger established commercial groups, hiring managers are placing the utmost priority on language skills so candidates who are fluent in French and English and one or more additional languages are in the highest demand.
Home to prominent French and international firms such as BNP Paribas, EDF and L’Oreal, Paris and Lyon are undoubtedly the central commercial hubs for the majority of internal audit jobs in France, though it would be unwise to discount Lille and Marseille, which also have a good offering of audit positions. The growing international nature of many of the large French CAC 40 companies, combined with the substantial French economy serves the domestic job market well for opportunities for skilled auditors, particularly those with proven technical expertise and aptitude for business. Those well versed in International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) will certainly find themselves with the advantage and pay incentives to match as companies are prepared to offer rate rises of 10-15% to those with the desired expertise.
The global emphasis imbued within the market serves those candidates with international experience in either internal audit or external audit well if looking to move into the larger companies. In addition to demand for bilingual audit candidates, companies in France cannot avoid the changes and measures being effected by an increasingly complex regulatory environment. As 2016 signals the implementation of protocols including the SEPA Regulations (Single Euro Payments Area), the AIFM directive, the European Solvency II reform and ANI (National Interprofessional Agreement), internal audit hiring managers must place more focus on sourcing specialists with regulatory expertise and quality assurance experience to combat the growing numbers of inspections and audits.
In Lyon, the healthcare industry in particular is under the spotlight with increased regulations from health authorities leading to government audits across healthcare. Internal audit opportunities within the public sector are as prevalent as those within the private. Salaries for those in the internal audit function in Lyon vary between €50-100,000 dependent on years of experience, while those looking to move into senior management internal audit jobs in Paris can expect to earn up to €150,000.
Companies are looking for internal audit individuals who can prove themselves versatile in the constantly evolving global market, both from a regulatory and increasingly international standpoint. Forward-thinking and proactive professionals will win over employers who are looking for staff who can establish themselves as valued business partners.