The unemployment rate has dropped below 8 in the third half of 2007, the number of job-seekers remains high in metropolitan France: 1.919.600 according to the figures of the ANPE (1). Despite this, some areas suffer from a growing shortage of skills, in particular the building, the computer and, to a lesser extent, trades of the audit and the Bank. Public works companies thus experienced their highest growth since 1945 this year with 15,000 net jobs created (in addition to the 50,000 net jobs in the construction). A growth that attracts little crowds because of the arduous nature of these trades and the poor image problem in the sector. Computer services, too, show figures to give the Vertigo: 20,000 net job creation in 2007 among the Member companies of the Syntec Informatique and an unemployment rate of 2.1 among computer engineers. A study of the Dares of December 2005, all of the computer profession, establishes that the conjunction "papy-boom" and the shortage of labour should relieve 207.000 positions in this sector here by 2015. "This is the request that explodes on our sector." "During the years 2002 to 2005, all major it projects have been frozen in client companies and, today, everyone is recovering to invest to catch up," said David Layani, CEO of Onepoint software specialized in the areas of finance and of telecoms. Finally, the rapid evolution of technologies makes difficult the development of the skills of engineers already in position for several years: "assimilate new technology is not always easy, even with training." "It is therefore indispensable to have seasoned engineers to these new computer languages that evolve constantly," said Sylvain Breuzard, CEO of the SSII Norsys (180 employees in France more about 20 to the Morocco).
A list of thirty trades
To deal with the dearth of candidates, the President of the Republic has chosen to rely on economic immigration. A first Act, while Nicolas Sarkozy was still Minister of the Interior, was passed in this sense on July 24, 2006, extended by the Act of 20 November 2007. The goal is ambitious: to get immigration for ground work of 7 (11.400 people in 2006) to 50. The recipe was déjà-vu as the France, especially in the 1960s, did call for massive way labour foreign to ensure the growth of the country, but this time, the policy is openly selective. "We will not enter a recruitment policy all over the place." "Should be come from people with qualifications and do not repeat the mistakes of the past", says Patrick Bernasconi, President of the National Federation of public works. For this purpose, a list of 30 trades was made, after consultation with the concerned professional bodies, for nationals of countries outside the European Union (2): framework of auditing and of financial and accounting control, expert information, responsible for operating in insurance, construction site manager, driver work... all these trades require a qualifying sharp and at least a bac 2.
The same logic of selectivity, map skills and talents allows foreigners whose trade would not appear in this list to stay in France for a period of three years renewable once, if their profile is found to be relevant to several criteria: rare skills, Project Professional in connection with the co-development, researcher recognized in a particular areaand even artist renowned or high-level sports. The Government plans to issue 2,000 cards in 2008.
Beyond the ethical dimension noted by some observers who criticize the principle of a two-tier immigration, the question of the effectiveness of these measures to combat skills shortages deserves to be asked. Some employers, and not least, are surprisingly cautious. The National Federation of building and did not wish answer our questions, and the Vinci Group, who said be not concerned with the subject.
For François Jacquel, on the other hand, HRD of Bouygues Construction (50,000 employees half of them abroad), these measures could facilitate ongoing practices: "We work immigration is historic and we used to work with several nationalities." The evidence on the 5,000 recruits that we hired this year, 5 were not French. And frames 20 of the population is of foreign nationality. "With a double-digit growth for five years and an all-time record for catches of orders this year, the Group has more than ever need to hire, particularly in patterns of production (engineering work and drivers to work); However only graduates of the hexagon is not enough there. As Eric Aubin, Secretary General of the CGT-construction: "training in building centres are filled to brim, but only 54 of graduates remain in the area, others are moving to less painful, less dangerous trades and professional developments are best.". To appeal to foreigners will not solve this problem of attractiveness. "Worse, it could even accentuate it if these trades were catalogued as"reserved for foreigners. " In addition, wages and working conditions could be drawn down by less demanding foreign employees in the matter, as already observed the CGT for the less qualified people. "If they have good qualifications, there is no reason that they are not treated in the same way as the French employees", said Patrick Bernasconi.
Remains the problem of the language: "It is the skill premium, explains François Jacquel." For the language, we can deliver. But there still a minimum level in French. With the Czech Republic, for example, we have some difficulties because they do not speak French and often wrong English.
And for those who speak perfect English, as the Indians, integration problems arise also: "we get a lot of CV of Indian engineers, but we do not give suite because their integration would be too difficult because of the language and their very different culture," said David Layani. This young business leader, who employs 220 people in France, 70 at the Canada and 20 in China prefer to recruit Canadians, Moroccans or Tunisians.
30 foreign engineers, including in the finance market specialists, have thus been recruited last year by his company, BAC 5 minimum wages ranged between 35,000 and 100,000 euros: "we're back to ads in the local press and we also have relationships with schools in the country." Then, we meet them on the spot. "A heavy recruitment: reference checks, advance maintenance of 2 hours, then 1 to 2 days of tests, including an interview with a psychologist. "This is a huge responsibility to bring someone from abroad, he left his country, brought his family.". "It doesn't have the right to be wrong", continues David Layani. Not to mention the cost of these hirings: moving expenses are supported and the hotel until housing was not found. Christelle Chappaz, the SSII Devoteam HRD, assessed at 1,600 euros per person the cost of such recruitment by its company. Finally, the employer must also take into account the time factor: 3 months minimum to obtain all the necessary papers (a visa first, then residence permits, work permits). "This is the obstacle course, sharing this galley with the employee for all these weeks, at the time, they are generally more loyal to the company collaborators", to console Christelle Chappaz. The formalities that the Government intends to just simplify listed profiles, but the margin of progress is still important to countries such as the Canada for example: "Not only the procedure is much faster, but the policy integration and naturalization is much easier also for the profiles that the country needs." "Indeed, I meet many Moroccan engineers who now prefer to go to the Canada in France", is concerned about Sylvain Breuzard. Finally, the logic of co-development, defended by the Government to escape criticism of looting brains, is hardly attractive to the employer as to the foreign employee. "What is the interest for a company to bring a foreign employee, the form if it is to see leave in his country after three years", asks a construction business leader. Same problem for the employee to be little incentive to make progress in his career if he knows that his time is counted in the business.
"In economic immigration is too much hope for our own structural problems on the labour market", summarizes Cécile Jolly, of the Centre for strategic analysis. Simplified and accelerated procedures, that is what ask most of the undertakings concerned. Without illusion on the ability of the immigration chosen to permanently address their shortage of talents.