Working in Lyon



Aside from being France’s gastronomic capital, Lyon instantly forms an attraction with the expanding expat community mainly because it offers numerous employment opportunities. This city that houses more than 4.3 million people is also considered as one of Europe's most significant banking centres. 

Next, to Paris, Lyon is the second most visited city in France because of its cultural richness and reputation as a food capital. Its economy, according to Longborough University is "comparable to that of Philadelphia in the United States and Athens in Greece. The local government is working intently on partnerships to provide a better environment for businesses in Lyon." This city boasts several major business centres, but its great pride is La Part-Dieu, the second largest business quarter in France after La Défense which is located in Paris. Lyon is indisputably one of the most alluring cities in Europe that continues to attract an increasing number of talented and career-driven expats. 

Lyon’s Top Industries 

Lyon houses the second-largest labour force in France with the latest figures, including the Rhône-Alpes region, at around 2.5 million people. An estimated three-quarter of the employed population works in the tertiary sector while a quarter is in the public sector. 35%, which is the largest portion of the city’s workforce, are employed in consumer services that include administration, health, education and services. 21% are working in business services, 17% in industry, 14% in commerce and 6% in construction. 

Because of its cultural and architectural charm, hundreds of tourists flock the streets of Lyon, making tourism another vital part of the local economy. The Lyonnaise are also known for their significant contributions in the field of medical and technological innovation. Today, Lyon is considered as the second digital hub and the 1st Smart City in France. Over 600 private and public laboratories are situated in this city and around 1,800 out of the 13,300 researchers are expats. 

Lyon also offers many employment opportunities in various industries such as manufacturing, chemistry, automotive, and textiles. Expats can also find jobs in the field of biotech, pharmaceutical, and chemical industries. Other growing sectors in this city include: 

  • Biotechnology
  • Software Development
  • Internet Services
  • Video Games (Bandai and Namco Entertainment Euope) 

Average Salary and Work Hours 

In January 2016, France implemented a minimum monthly wage of € 1466.62. As with any destination abroad, an expatriate’s income will vary depending on his professional experience and line of job. Below are some of the jobs in Lyon along with their average monthly salary

Job Category

Average Salary

Graphic Design/Advertising










Information Technology


Science and Technical Services




Executive and Management


According to the Swiss Bank, Lyon along with Paris tops the list of cities with the shortest work week. The Lyonnaise maximum hours of work per week are just 31 hours and 22 minutes which is relatively shorter than the average 40-48 hours per week in other expat destinations such as Hong Kong and Dubai. 

The Lyonnaise Business Culture 

Not that your Lyonnaise colleagues would encourage being late, but they're not as strict with time as other cultures are. An advance notice to the waiting party may be best though, to show that you also give importance to their time. 

Knowledge of the French language is definitely necessary if you plan to succeed as an employee or entrepreneur in Lyon. Trying to learn a few key phrases can give you a good head start, especially in interacting with your French colleagues and bosses. 

Torn jeans and sweatshirts are fine on days off, but business attire would be best in the work place. Also, address your colleagues with their title and last name. As with any other great relationships, the locals expect you to ‘work' on it. And from then it should be a smooth-sailing expat life.


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