INFOGRAPHICS. Employment rate, sectors of activity, salaries … Find out about the employment conditions of psychology graduates and the professional opportunities to which these highly prized studies lead.

“The professional integration of graduates in psychology is not so catastrophic as they say!“, smiles Benoît Schneider, professor emeritus at the University of Nancy and vice-president of the FFPP (French Federation of Psychologists and Psychology).” Contrary to popular belief, psychology is not so badly off compared to well other professions which come out of the faculties of human sciences. The insertion rates are correct, even if it is slow “.

The number of psychologists up nearly 33% over four years

France had 56,000 registered psychologists in 2016. They are now 74,000 in 2020, an increase of nearly 33% in four years. The number of practitioners is therefore increasing sharply and it is not over! A highly demanded course at the university, the license of psychology registers many applications each year on Parcoursup.

But rest assured: the sector is not blocked, it provides work. For those who go all the way and obtain a master’s degree in psychology, you will have no problem finding a job. Even if your integration will perhaps be slower and more laborious than for other professions.

Nine out of ten graduates in employment after 18 months

So, 18 months after obtaining their master’s degree, the 2017 graduates were 90% in employment. At 30 months, 94% of them were working, according to data from the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation (Mesri). Very largely (95%) graduates also held managerial or intermediate positions.

Nearly one in two jobs with precarious contracts at the start of their career

On the other hand, the conditions of insertion turn out to be more difficult than for all the bac + 5: 18 months after graduation, only 53% of those with a master’s degree in psychology have a stable job (CDI, permanent official), 47% must be content with a precarious contract (CDD). At 30 months, two-thirds (67%) of graduates this time have a stable job.

Another downside: the importance of part-time jobs in the profession. “Psychology is much more affected by part-time work than other professions”, underlines Benoît Schneider. Thus, a year and a half after the end of their studies, fewer than two out of three graduates (64%) hold a full-time position. At 30 months, 71% are working full time but still 29% part time.

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Healthcare establishments and liberal practices: the biggest providers of jobs

More than a quarter of psychologists (25.7%) work in hospitals and other health establishments, whether public, private for public interest or private for profit. More than a quarter (26.5%) of practitioners also work freelance, whether in individual practice or in group practice.

Another major outlet is the social, medico-social and educational services and establishments in which 17% of psychologists work: they work in establishments for the elderly, for people with disabilities or in institutions dedicated to child protection.

Even if the health crisis revealed the psychological distress at work in many pupils and students, schools and universities only accommodate 6.6% of practicing psychologists. The state (ministries, decentralized services, etc.) or regional (town halls, departments, regions, etc.) civil service employs more: 8.8%. On the other hand, the private business sector offers limited opportunities: only a few thousand psychologists in France are employed, or 1.6% of practitioners.

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Salaries: correct but with limited prospects for development

At the start of a career, the estimated gross annual salary varies from 26,300 euros (18 months after graduation) to 27,800 euros (30 months). A quick reading of the salary scale may suggest quite decent amounts. For 2017 graduates, the median monthly net salary was 1,680 euros a year and a half after graduation: half earned less, half more. 30 months later, the median salary climbed from 100 euros to 1,780 euros net per month.

But a more in-depth reading leads to qualify the amounts. Indeed, these salaries relate to the remuneration for a full-time job, in a profession where part-time positions retain an important part. Many practitioners in fact combine part-time work as an employee while exercising another part of the time as a liberal. “5% of salaried hospital psychologists in the public sector and 12% of hospital workers in the private sector thus declare a mixed activity”, specifies Benoît Schneider.

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The rise of nursing homes is boosting private practice

“Liberal practice will continue to gain momentum, driven by the development of nursing homes which accommodate several health professionals under the same roof,” adds Benoît Schneider, vice-president of the FFPP. Currently, 1,617 nursing homes are in operation and 450 are in the process of being created. The need to relieve psychic suffering being eternal, you will never run out of work by embracing this profession.

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