France’s economy saw 60,000 fewer jobless claims in March, a 1.7% decline month-over-month. This is the largest monthly rate since September 2000. While this is great news for the economy, the country still has structural problems and issues it must work through over the next several years. France 24 has more on this here. Are you impacted at all by this drop in jobless claims?
I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving, and for those celebrating this weekend (comme moi), enjoy the festivities!
The Economist has an interesting piece in this week’s issue that talks about the newly automated line 1 of the Paris metro system which was completely outfitted with new technology and revamped to make it driverless.
Besides having better and more service during rush hour and a lower risk of accidents (automated line 14, which I take quite often, has had no accidents since its launch in 1998), the modernization of services also results in a welcome side effect for many: these automated lines will not be affected by the occasional public transport worker strikes since there are no drivers (see excerpt below).
What is your view on technology and innovation in France? Do you think labor costs are too high and discourages employers from hiring more often?
“…Strict labour laws, costly payroll charges and erratic strikes seem to make French firms especially keen on technology. Supermarkets, for instance, have enthusiastically adopted self-checkout tills. “All French hypermarkets have adopted this strategy over the past few years,” says Alexis Lecanuet at Accenture, a consultancy. The idea is to speed up queues at peak times for impatient non-technophobes carrying light baskets. But it also cuts costs. “Self-checkout has worked better in countries where labour is expensive,” says Serguei Netessine, a professor at INSEAD, a business school.
France excels at high-tech services: credit-card operated petrol stations, touch-screen fast-food counters, automatic car-washing. Two years ago, McDonalds pioneered the use of touch-screen, credit-card-based ordering in its French fast-food restaurants. Eléphant Bleu, a self-service high-pressure car-washing chain, has 472 outlets in France, and is expanding. All this in a country where the labour code runs to over 3,300 pages, an employer pays an average of 39% in payroll taxes, and unemployment is at 10%. Spot the connection.”
According to this article, citing a study carried out by Aon Hewitt, salaries are increasing for French university graduates, especially those from elite engineering and business schools. This comes after economic stagnation during the crisis. In 2011, the overall increase in salaries in France was 2.6%, whereas for young graduates the increase was 3.4%. Some salaries include stock options, company savings plans, retirement accounts and other features, according to the company.
But there is still a sense of insecurity, because out 75% of companies offer young graduates fixed-term contracts (CDD) as opposed to long-term contracts (CDI).
The study surveyed more than 70 companies of all sizes and in multiple sectors, as well as more than 17,000 young graduates who are now employed.
L’Express also speaks about the study.
You can see links for French business, networking and jobs on my site here.
publié le 25/04/2011
Rémunération des jeunes diplômés : la fin de l’austérité
Une étude menée par le cabinet Aon Hewitt montre des perspectives intéressantes pour les jeunes diplômés en matière de salaire. Une embellie qui profite surtout aux diplômés d’écoles d’ingénieur et d’écoles de commerce.
La stagnation des salaires des jeunes diplômés devrait toucher à sa fin, d’après une enquête d’Aon Hewitt. En 2011, le pourcentage d’augmentation de leurs salaires montre en effet une progression de 3,4% soit plus que les 2,6% du marché général. Près d’une entreprise sur deux a même mis en place des mesures d’augmentation salariales pour les jeunes diplômés, basées principalement sur des critères de performances individuelles.
Des rémunérations complémentaires
Pour compléter ces hausses, de nombreux salaires sont dopés par un intéressement et surtout une rémunération variable (dans plus de 8 entreprises sur 10). Certains jeunes diplômés ont même accès à des actions gratuites (10% des entreprises), voire des stock-options (4%). Une minorité de sociétés (14%) proposent des Plans épargne entreprise (PEE) ou des Plans épargne retraite.
Les plus diplômés très demandés
Dans ce contexte, ce sont les plus qualifiés qui tirent le mieux leur épingle du jeu. Les écoles d’ingénieurs seront ainsi les plus sollicitées, avec une hausse d’un tiers des recrutements de leurs diplômés. De la même manière pour les salaires d’embauche, les entreprises sont plus nombreuses à prévoir des augmentations pour les élèves issus d’écoles d’ingénieur ou d’écoles de commerce.
Une baisse des recrutements
Les recrutements seront eux moins importants, 9 entreprises sur 10 prévoyant un nombre d’embauches de jeunes diplômés égale ou inférieur à 2010. Les prévisions restent tout de même élevées, en particulier dans des secteurs comme la finance, la vente, le marketing et l’engineering. Autre point négatif : les contrats, les embauches se faisant le plus souvent sous forme de CDD, même si la politique de rémunération est la même que pour ceux en CDI.
I just received an email from the French Embassy in the US that several schools in the New York City area are looking for full-time and part-time French language teachers. I have put the contents of the email as well as the separate job announcements into one PDF available here.
Following yesterday’s big day of “action” around the country against the retirement reform proposals, the Paris metro and bus system is running on normal schedule, mostly (“normal ou quasi normal” according to their site). But check the “traffic” part and you’ll see that suburban and Ile de France regional trains are partially disrupted, often running at 50%. Also, 30 flights were cancelled this morning from Paris Orly.
Lyon’s TCL transport system is disrupted today, with no metro on the Presqu’ile downtown area due to clashes. Try to stay out of that area. You can get more inside info on Lyon at Le Progres (Lyon newspaper) site.
There are some SNCF train disruptions in France and with connecting trains to other countries (like no overnight trains tonight between France & Italy and France & Germany…). TGV’s to and from Paris are running 2 out of 3, and TGV’s outside of Paris at 50%. More details on that site, France 24’s survival guide and Figaro’s guide.
These past couple days have been marred by violence in Lyon and parts of Paris area, among other places, between youth and police. France 24 reports on this. They also have some pictures from Lyon here.
President Sarkozy is calling for the strikers to “be responsible” and recognized that although the reform is difficult, it is necessary, and his government had included special measures for specific work cases such as those who started work early and those in particularly arduous jobs. The reform vote has been delayed until Thursday, and a poll by Figaro finds that nearly 70% want to see the reform passed as soon as possible. (Note: Figaro is more conservative. Nouvel Obs is more leftist and has a poll where 62% of respondents want to continue the strikes).
Meanwhile Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux is firing back at thugs who erupted in violence yesterday and today, saying they will not be left unpunished.
As thousands of gas stations have run dry, the government is now freeing up fuel depots with force of special riot police similar to a SWAT team, but some remain blocked by extremist strikers who like taking the country hostage for their own interests. Flights in and out of France are said to be carrying enough fuel for the return journey.
High school students and youths are still calling for protest today, even though the reform is in their interest. They should be screaming “we don’t want a pension” as they strike. I understand concerns about unemployment, but that can be addressed by other measures. They are mad at Sarkozy for what they see as extravagance and wastefulness on the part of the government, which is in part true. But that does not mean pension reform is not necessary. BBC looks into this with an insightful special called “children of the revolution.”