Where have the quits gone?

“Give up everything to”… become a cheesemaker, go around the world, put yourself at the service of an association; etc By the late 2010s, these headlines were so common that they had become a joke among journalists. However, the greedy newspapers of this type of chestnut tree were addressed until then mainly to graduates of large schools and other executives of large companies.

After the Covid, this phenomenon took on another dimension. The statistical service of the Ministry of Labour, Dares, published a study in August quantifying the number of resignations at 520,000, including 470,000 on permanent contracts for the first quarter of 2022. A record level, even if these figures show of a dynamic job market, characteristic of a “post-crisis” moment.

Among these deserters, 80% find a job within six months. “This high level of resignations creates opportunities for employees already in office and is likely in turn to lead to more resignations”estimates the Dares.

Why are they slamming the door? On this side, the investigations abound. Low wages and poor working conditions, linked to a strong intensification of work in the private sector or to the ” New Public Management in the public, explain this disaffection.

A study by researchers Thomas Coutrot and Coralie Perez also indicates that the meaning that employees give to their work, whether in terms of social utility, ability to develop their skills or ethical coherence, has an influence on their Professional mobility. The less meaning they give to their work, the more they tend to leave it.

” Otherwise, a Dares investigation shows that to improve their wages and their working conditions, employees opt for the strategy of changing jobs more than that of union demands. Between 2013 and 2016, 23 % of those who changed jobs greatly improved their working conditions »recalls Maelezig Bigi, researcher at the National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts (Cnam) and at the Center for the Study of Employment and Labor (Ceet).

“The backlash has its share of economic morality. After being wrung out during the confinements, acclaimed by those who stayed at home, praised by political leaders and congratulated by their employers, these “first on duty”, at the front for the duration of the epidemic, understood that their dedication had not been followed by sufficient consideration for them to continue playing the game”judges the essayist Jean-Laurent Cassely, in the reissue of his book The revolt of the first of the class (Arkhê, 2022).

“Employees don’t fight, they leave”

“Whether we look at industry, construction, trade or services, and in detail the sub-sectors within these sectors of activity, in the business tendency surveys, almost all sectors show difficulties in recruitment at their highest, indicate the INSEE researchers.

What remains much more mysterious, however, are the ports of destination of these care, transport or hotel and catering employees who cast off.

According to a study by the Center for Study and Research on Qualifications (Céreq), 61% of young people from the 2017 generation who worked in the hotel and catering industry saw their activity stop with successive confinements. And these are only official figures.

“In Paris, most of the waiters were paid partly or totally black. They had no choice but to look for new jobs: VTC, construction work, delivery, etc. They discovered other conditions. Days of eleven and a half hours paid 1,500 euros to serve people who make the face, that no longer enchants many people “slice Yannis, director of a large brewery in the capital.

For the time being, only testimonies make it possible to understand the way in which flows of employees circulate. As early as June, Pascal Chamvert, president of the association of directors serving the elderly, confided his fears:

“It is very worrying. Employees don’t fight, they leave. Some go to work in the factory, where they are better paid and face less hassle than in the care professions. Nurses opt for degrowth, taking a house in the countryside, and working less. Many caregivers refuse permanent contracts and ask to stay on as a temporary worker. They say to themselves “I work less, but at least I am not responsible for anything”. People don’t want to play the game anymore.”

“I didn’t want to set foot there anymore”

Charlotte Kerbrat, a former nursing home nurse, launched her company to support other colleagues in retraining.

“Since 2019, we have supported around 1,000 nurses. Among them, about a third quit their jobs, but stay in the profession, if necessary by changing specialty; 40% turn to other care professions: psychomotricians, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, but also naturopaths, sophrologists, hypnotherapists or in coaching. The rest completely change jobs. They want to leave the hospital because of the lack of recognition, the alternation between day and night work, and because of the workload. Earning less matters little to them, they want to get away from the stress caused by having people’s lives in their hands and find jobs to which they give meaning.explains the adviser.

“It is also a way of promoting their own knowledge, which is usually denied to them by the medical authorities”abounds Fanny, a psychiatric nurse in Toulouse.

Nursing assistant in a hospital home care service, Samy also threw in the towel. “I was no longer myself, I was always sulking. When they sweetened me my Christmas vacation, when it was the third year in a row that I had spent the holidays away from my family, I had had enough. »

The nursing assistant therefore requests validation of acquired experience (VAE) from her superiors, obtains it, then goes on training to become a human resources assistant. “It’s always about accompanying people, listening to them, but without having to go to the bathroom. » She resigned from her company at the end of her training leave.

“At the beginning, I wanted to make a conventional break, but when I felt that it was going to be necessary to negotiate, I put down my resignation. I didn’t want to set foot there again, I got what I had to get back, thank you and goodbye”summarizes Samy.

For the moment, she has not found the place of her dreams because, for her, there is no question of accepting the Smic. In the meantime, she continues medical vacations to pay her rent.

Because resigning is not necessarily a guarantee of a salary jump, or even a qualitative one. A former motorcycle taxi driver, Jean became an interurban bus driver in Brittany, following back pain. Only, at the end of his six months of training, the market comprising the section he was going to have to serve changed hands.

“In terms of income, including packed lunches, we lost 250 to 300 euros per month. And the new company made us work with cuts that we had to spend in a poor algeco, with two chairs and a table, at the bus depot. I was paid 1,308 euros for 60 hours of time constrained by management. I couldn’t take care of my kids.”says John.

He has “held” a year and a half, and preferred to resume a car conveyor activity.

“If I give it my all, I have 1,500 euros net left in my pocket at the end of the month. But at least I have the freedom to work when I want”he explains.

As for the six or seven colleagues who imitated him, some left to transport goods, others to work at the neighboring window factory, where wages have increased.

No studies available at this time

Alongside these examples, there is a lack of statistical and scientific tools to finely analyze the trajectories of employees. Do they leave their job in a company or a public service to take another in the same sector? Are they leaving for training and retraining? Are they launching their own business, and if so, in what field? Neither Dares, nor Insee, nor Pôle emploi currently seem able to shed light on these points.

“The latest Vocational Training and Qualification survey could answer this question, but its timetable covers the period 2009-2014. Longitudinal data from the annual declaration panel of unified social data and those from nominative social declarations [des données envoyées régulièrement par les entreprises, NDLR]which date back to 2020, could also answer them, but this requires time and resources, no doubt this will be done in the months and years to come”hopes Thomas Amossé, co-author of an investigation relating to the period 1998-2003.

85,000 skills assessments validated in 2021, i.e. a jump of 63% in one year

As for the number of retrainings, the Caisse des dépôts, which manages the personal training account (CPF), estimated the number of skills assessments validated in 2021 at 85,000, i.e. a jump of 63% in one year, and 100,000 validations are planned for 2022, but the organization, which has only been managing the system since 2020, lacks perspective to give real meaning to these figures.

In the absence of national data, sectors and even companies are trying to see things more clearly with their own surveys..

“During the Covid, many temporary workers who worked in catering found new jobs in logistics. They discovered with interest the possibility of having their weekends, of clocking in, of better controlling the time they spent at work »says François Moreau, general secretary of the Randstad group.

The leader of the interim has launched a global study among the “blue collars” whose careers he manages.

“The criterion of the working atmosphere and that of the balance between personal and professional life come first after the salary and working conditions, while that of job security declines”notes the leader.

Today, the pace of resignations remains sustained. But how long will this last?

“We have to be aware of the boomerang effect, emphasizes Jean-Laurent Cassely. Will there be sufficient demand to support all neo-coaches and sophrologists? We have to wait two or three years to be sure, and see how many candidates for retraining will return to their initial job. »

“Today, it takes little risk to leave a job to try another. But there is no guarantee that the economic situation will remain so flourishing,” points out for his part François Moreau from Randstad.

And if nothing is ever certain, it is true that the climate and energy crisis, inflation, or even the financial bubbles that are announced could curb the desire to go and see if the grass is greener elsewhere.

We wish to give thanks to the writer of this article for this outstanding material

Where have the quits gone?

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