Immediately after COVID-19, a “quiet cool” trend emerged in the United States. This phenomenon is characterized by the desire to perform the work normally, with the categorical refusal to invest more than what the employee’s job requires. In France, this phenomenon is becoming increasingly common. According to an IFOP study, 37% of French workers practice it daily. Decoding with Dan Guise, founder of Open Recruitment, specialist in the French labor market and human resources.
What is the truth about the “great resignation” in France?
Dan Guys: This is a topic that has been in the news for months, it is a phenomenon that comes to us from the United States. In 2021, more than 48 million Americans will leave their job, in addition to nearly 20 million during the first five months of the year. In France, there has been an unusual, but not unprecedented, phenomenon of mass resignations. In fact, we’re talking about more than 500,000 departures each quarter since the start of 2021, including 400,000 permanent contracts. In 2008, the smoking cessation rate was 2.9% in the first quarter compared to 2.7% in the first quarter of 2022, which is the current peak. So I will say, yes, there is a wave of resignations, but nothing to talk about a “big resignation” in France.
However, there are two segments of the population that can be a solution to the labor shortage, namely the youth and the elderly.
How do you explain this phenomenon?
Executive Director: In the United States, the labor market has always been more flexible and free than in France, with a relatively low unemployment rate. When everything goes well, the person quits and immediately finds a new job. In France, the labor market is different, as it is subject to a more restrictive but also more protective labor law.
This phenomenon of resignation in volume is mainly explained by the exceptional recovery in activity at the end of the restrictions, mainly due to the catch-up in activity and continued economic recovery in 2019. Candidates were offered more job opportunities than usual. Then the balance of power between employers and employees swung clearly in favor of candidates who succumbed to calls from the open sea.
So I think there is some form of American influence on this subject, but the economic recovery is clearly at the root of this phenomenon.
What are the possible solutions when sectors lack manpower?
Executive Director: It’s a good question! Companies are snapping up the same candidates and mechanically speaking there is wage inflation that could be dangerous to the economic recovery. Add to that the inflationary period we’re living through, and you have an explosive cocktail.
However, in some sectors where occupations are a great hardship, the increase in wages may be a response to attracting more people.
However, there are two segments of the population that can be a solution to the labor shortage, namely the youth and the elderly. And coincidentally, this population has the lowest employment rate. Is it presumptuous to think that we certainly have a group of interesting candidates out there?
Is the “Great Resignation” my generation or does it affect all energy service providers and their age groups?
Executive Director: Generation Z or Millennials are certainly most affected by the Great Resignation, but it would be too simplistic to oppose Generations. There is also the severity of careers or interrupted hours at play that cause people in the catering industry, for example, to change lanes.
Remote work is also a very important variable today and we can resign from the home office that our employer does not give us.
In the end, we are mainly talking about “white collar” in large and medium-sized companies with high salaries.
Is the young man not at last in a state of strength to enter practical life?
Executive Director: People ages 15-24 have the lowest employment rate at 34.6% in 2022, which nonetheless saw the largest increase since the first quarter of 2021 according to DARES numbers. The employment rate for young people ages 25-49 is 82.5% in the first quarter of 2021. Yes, young people have a better chance of finding a first job, hence saying they are in a position of power, I don’t. t not sure.
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