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A range of solutions to solve labor shortages

To resolve the recruitment difficulties encountered by many companies, it is necessary to give ground to grind at the level of the professional branches. This is, in essence, one of the main recommendations made by the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (CESE), in a draft opinion that was to be presented on Wednesday January 12, at a plenary assembly. The institution housed in the Palais d’Iéna, in Paris, urges employers and unions to engage in negotiations, sector by sector, to establish new « Collective benefits » in favor of the purchasing power of workers.

The CESE initiative is the result of an order placed in September 2021 by Jean Castex. The Prime Minister had asked him to formulate proposals in order to tackle a problem which is neither new nor specific to France but which is becoming more acute, in a context of strong economic recovery. At the end of November, 28% of private sector employees were employed in a « Structure » who declared « Being confronted with a lack of personnel », according to a « Flash » survey by Dares – the directorate in charge of studies of the Ministry of Labor. This percentage was up by sixteen points compared to December 2020. The phenomenon was even more marked in several fields of activity: 41% in « Accommodation and catering », 40% in the food industry …

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The causes of this situation are multiple and have been identified for a long time. As the EESC reminds us, they are due to the trying nature of many professions, which are subject to « Atypical schedules » while suffering from« Weak recognition » particularly in terms of remuneration (truck drivers, unskilled industrial workers, social workers, home helpers, waiters, etc.). Other factors play: « Representations » negative associated with certain professions, inadequate skills of some of the employees, inaccessible housing due to the level of rents or insufficient supply, non-existent public transport …


Defended by Pierre-Olivier Ruchenstain, the EESC’s draft opinion sets out around twenty recommendations which sweep very broadly. One of the key ideas is to improve « The attractiveness of professions » by betting on « Social dialogue ». This is an issue that focuses « In a few sectors where the share of medium or small businesses is predominant ». « For these small structures », management and union officials who represent their organization at branch level have a crucial role to play. They could make « Standard agreements » aimed at improving the image of certain activities by granting various bonuses: lunch vouchers, mobility vouchers, housing vouchers, etc. These devices « Shared » would, under certain conditions, be exempt from tax and social contributions.

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