The spokesman and vice president of the MEDEF (French employers' federation) returned to the current lack of manpower in many sectors. In addition, he considers that the sanctions put in place by the government in the event of non-compliance by companies with regard to telework are excessive. Interview.
After 2 years of health crisis, what are the difficulties for companies in implementing telework?
Some companies cannot or hardly use teleworking, especially in the banking and insurance sectors due to cyber security issues. Also, employees are sometimes reluctant to do so because they fear isolation: it is now known that 100% teleworking can cause depression and burn-outs. Finally, only one third of jobs are teleworkable in France: some employers also have to deal with social tensions between blue and white collar workers within the same company. Nevertheless, it must be stressed that, in view of the thousands of agreements signed, there is a consensus between employers and staff representatives on this subject.
Companies that do not play the telework game could be penalised with a fine of 1,000 euros per employee concerned, up to a maximum of 50,000 euros. What do you think of the sanctions introduced by the government?
1,000 is the same amount as the penalty for using a false health pass. There is therefore a question of proportionality and an ontological, more philosophical problem: the definition of a teleworkable job is and must remain in the hands of the company manager. The labour inspector cannot assess all the subtleties that lead to keeping an employee in the office or not: as said before, security issues or the IT infrastructure do not always allow for remote work.
Do you have a vision of the current absenteeism in companies?
For the moment, with Omicron, it's manageable. Fortunately, the isolation periods have been reduced, which will help to lessen the impact of the epidemic. There were more than 10,000 flights cancelled worldwide during the holidays, transport remains the most sensitive sector, elsewhere there are points of continuity. We hope that the wave will have passed within a month and a half, so that we can return to a normal situation.
Should this new wave be of concern to managers, who have sometimes struggled to manage remote employees?
I think that companies have shown that they have been able to adapt, even if it has been difficult at times, especially for the integration of new recruits: for these profiles, distance learning is not ideal.
Telework cannot be the alpha and omega of wage policies. It must be defined in each company, each sector and according to the territories. Nor should we forget the working conditions at home, which depend on the situation of each individual. In this context, the growing use of third places and co-working spaces can facilitate things. Also, some companies are decentralising more; Doctolib, for example, is planning to set up twenty or so regional branches. Remote working opens up new employment areas.
Certain sectors are experiencing major recruitment difficulties. How do you explain the current labour shortage?
The recruitment shortage is rife in all sectors - from industry to the digital sector - and affects all sizes of company, in all territories. There are one million unfilled jobs in France. Michelin has opened hundreds of jobs all over the country, but the company has not received a single CV. There are various reasons for this: unemployment has fallen considerably and the sectors that are recruiting are not those where there are people trained for them. There is work to be done on training and professional retraining, as well as on the orientation of young people. Things are moving forward, 700,000 young people are now in apprenticeships. The labour shortage can also be explained by problems of geographical mobility: it is difficult to move people from one territory to another, especially in the metropolises where property is expensive. This is the challenge of the Action Logement programme, which supports employees in their residential and professional mobility to promote access to employment. Childcare problems for women also explain the difficulties in recruiting. Finally, the lack of a differential between income from unemployment and wages does not provide sufficient incentive to return to work. The unemployment insurance reform that came into force last year will create more of a difference.
Is the phenomenon of resignation that is currently rampant in the United States emerging in France?
No, that's not quite the case. There were pre-existing problems in covid with recruitment, which were exacerbated by the health crisis.
In the hotel and catering industry, after the prolonged closure of establishments, some people left their jobs because of the working conditions and wages. There are now about 100,000 unfilled positions in the sector. This is why industry negotiations are underway to increase incomes significantly and attract more applicants.
Offishall is an employee presence management solution that aims to support organizations in the implementation of the hybrid work mode - alternating between telework and face-to-face. Every day, the company allows thousands of users to know who is where when and therefore to find their way around the office (better). The Offishall Planning tool contributes to boosting the attractiveness of the structures by helping them to take up the great HR challenge of the decade: that of work flexibility.