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Report "Work and employment in twenty years: five questions, two scenarios, four proposals"

Report "Work and employment in twenty years: five questions, two scenarios, four proposals"


Vincent Chriqui, Director General of the Centre d'analyse stratégique has released the report of the Centre d'analyse stratégique "Work and employment in twenty years: five questions, two scenarios, four proposals", in the presence of Odile Quentin , Chair of the Working Group and Jean-Denis Combrexelle, Director General of Labour.

While France has a mass unemployment for thirty years and that has been evident for some years, if not a work crisis, at least one form of managerial crisis within companies, both of which were further enhanced by the financial crisis, economic and social 2008-2009.

More than ever, jobs - for some decades now - and work - with renewed recently - are at the heart of everyday concerns of our citizens. However, the "strategic" or "expertise" is not intended to be cut off from the world, but must be used to serve the public interest, in response to society's expectations.

The  Centre d'analyse stratégique has therefore wanted to analyze the profound changes in the workplace over the persistence of mass unemployment in the face of accelerating globalization, faced with the diffusion of new technologies (including information and communication), despite the societal changes finally. The crisis may have deflected or accelerated some trends over time, but they are older and, for many of them, doubtless induced to pursue.

This prospective study is in broad line with previous reports by the Planning Commission (already in 1975 and, more recently, in 1995, with the report of group chaired by Jean Boissonnat).

It was not to review previous reports to say what is "done" or not - this is not the subject of foresight - or to see which scenario we finally close. It was good to produce a new prospective work in covering the whole subject in the light of current concerns and new analytical tools available.

Especially, the report favored a voluntary approach to practical work and employment, including consideration of the microeconomic dimensions of these issues from the perspective of the employee but also the company. For beyond the question of the number of jobs or the unemployment level in twenty years, the analysis conducted by the working group found that the nature of work itself is subject to significant inflections, which concern directly individuals.

The report also has it focused on more qualitative changes of labor and employment, mobilizing other more quantitative work conducted recently by the Center for Strategic Analysis (whether the April report 2011, France 2030: five growth scenarios , developed with DG Treasury, or prospective studies of professions and qualifications).

Of all of this work, it appears a number of trends, probably induced to continue for much in the next two decades. By 2030, France will be even more crowded and old, but will continue to benefit from a workforce growing. Despite contrasting patterns of growth, job creation should remain dynamic and the labor market is more competitive business, with a level of structural unemployment lower than the last twenty years. The "work" as we know it will be transformed, particularly as a result of societal changes and technological changes: the individualization of society, the widespread diffusion of digital technologies, ethical and environmental concerns.

Among the different dynamics at work identified by the working group, the report places particular emphasis on the continued fragmentation of the working world, both temporal, spatial and organizational. This results in an
increased segmentation "worlds of work" and increasing heterogeneity of situations but also the expectations of employees, companies, industries or territories.

The weakening of subordination in the professional world, a strong demand for autonomy in work and better coordination between private life and
work will also deeply structured labor relations and employment. Similarly, the decades that lie ahead will be those of continuing the spread of ICT in enterprises and the rise of nomadic work.

Finally, this period will be marked by growth and differentiation of professional mobility in a context of increasing organizational flexibility and time.

Overall, the trends may appear bleak for some, comforting to others. Each will have its interpretation, but we can already make three points:

  • First, the period in respect of hindsight, is that the last thirty years, sometimes called "Thirty pitiful". Even if the prospective is not to simply extend trends, it would be difficult to totally ignore these past realities. Nevertheless, this report does not show us a black future. Probably more complex, with patterns and old balances, already badly today and taken to weaken further, but also open new perspectives;
  • Then, taking a shorter period, it may be noted positive elements: the sharp fall in unemployment before the crisis, to levels not seen for twenty-five years; good strength in employment compared to the size of the crisis; improved rates of older workers for several years; a break in work intensification (intensification to put itself in perspective with the improvement of working conditions in the very long term);
  • Finally, with regard especially to the employment situation, this report draws for the future a more favorable situation, whatever the uncertainties on the model of growth after the crisis. And it can not but have a favorable impact on quality at work.

Obviously, from the trends observed, future developments can take several paths, which does not depend only on the state action in France. The report identified two possible scenarios, taking into account not only the specific developments of labor and employment, but also contextual factors, particularly internationally.

These two scenarios, as the analytical work that was used in their construction, question the public policy in many ways: how the state can regulate or accompany these trends to promote employment and quality of work? Faced with the recurring criticisms, and sometimes the admission of impotence, of the State "prescriber", what means of intervention are now desirable for the public authorities in the sphere-work jobs? With what impact on the role that also play the social partners and civil society?

Moreover, beyond the strict field-work jobs, the view proposed by the report is extensive and covers all public policy, including industrial policy, fiscal, educational or international regulation of globalization. But the issues highlighted by the working group feed mainly on proposals to change the employment policies, to promote and secure labor mobility and improve the quality of work.

The group has worked to provide practical solutions to these issues, taking into account the current context (crisis, reduction of public deficits), but especially with the desire to anticipate and prepare for the changes identified for the future, which give rise to concerns about the design, implementation and the role of actors in employment policy and labor.

This report provides in this regard analyzes and proposals that will enrich the reflection of the Centre for strategic analysis on public policy and are intended to irrigate some of his work in the field of labor, employment and vocational training in the coming years.

I want to thank all members of the Working Group, and its first president, Odile Quintin, and the team of rapporteurs CAS and IGAS, led by Hugues de-Balathier Lantage

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