French may not be the first language that comes to mind when we think about the Americas and yet plenty of opportunities exist for seasoned professionals in many industries across Francophone American countries and regions.
What is Francophone America?
Francophone America can be described as the geographic space across the Americas where French has some level of influence as a language. It may be used a native tongue, spoken at home only, used as the only official language, as a tool to leverage business opportunities with foreign partners, or as a second or third language in a multilingual environment. According to Le Centre de la Francophonie des Amériques, around 30 million French-speaking people live across the Americas.
The Francophone regions of the Americas include a variety of settings:
- Canada: the province of Quebec where French is the native language of the majority of people, the bilingual French-English province of Newfoundland, remote communities of francophones in Ontario and Manitoba provinces.
- The French archipelago of Saint Pierre et Miquelon, off the Atlantic coast of Canada
- The State of Louisiana in the USA, where the use of French has been revived in the last decades in a growing number of communities through immersion programmes.
- The French overseas territory of Martinique and Guadeloupe, and associated islands of Saint Barthelemy and Saint Martin in the Caribbean.
- Haiti, island nation at the heart of the Caribbean.
- French Guiana, territory of France on the South American continent
These regions represent a land of opportunity for businesses, investors, and professionals offering a wealth of business opportunities for foreign investors from around the world. In Canada in general and in Quebec in particular, the mining industry is attracting large investments in exploration programmes to map minerals required for the new energy transition (nickel, copper, lithium, graphite, gold, etc.). This is a highly regarded mining jurisdiction with substantial infrastructure investment. This growing economy is in desperate need of technical and management mining skills.If you are a qualified French-speaking engineer with experience in mining, metallurgy, geology, construction, HSE, general management of a mine, you could find your next job in Quebec.
In the French Caribbean islands and French Guiana, the renewable energy sector is booming. Opportunities for specialists in solar and wind farms, biomass, hydro and dam projects abound. In the Caribbean, Haiti is in need of skills to help rebuild its industrial sector and professionals with management experience in FMCG, telecom and distribution can leverage their French skills to find a real professional challenge!
In Louisiana, even if French is not an official language, it is one of heritage and culture and French businesses invest in various sectors such as transport and supply chain, engineering and Oil & Gas.
In the USA, Canada, Cuba and Latin American countries like Peru, Colombia and Uruguay, French multinational companies are well positioned in engineering and construction projects of transport infrastructure as well as industrial, residential and tourism projects. Leveraging your French skills can go a long way in securing a management role with these companies!
Francophone America is a smaller region in the Americas, and yet it offers a variety of opportunities for career growth, from challenging developing countries and remote islands to the fast-paced North American markets and even gateways to European markets. Francophone America is indeed a unique environment to develop your career.
GateSource HR is a specialist international recruitment agency with a footprint across the Americas. If you are looking for your new career move or looking to recruit a new team member, please get in touch with us here.