EMCC European Monitoring Centre on Change

France: ERM comparative analytical report on Recent Policy Developments related to those Not in Employment, Education and Training

  • Observatory: EMCC
  • Topic:
  • Published on: 06 February 2012



About
Country:
France
Author:
Sebastian Schulze-Marmeling
Institution:

Disclaimer: This information is made available as a service to the public but has not been edited by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. The content is the responsibility of the authors.

Although the concept of NEETs is not commonly used in France the problem of youth employment and school/university to job transition seem to have moved up the agenda in recent years. There is an increasing number of initiatives in place that aims at different groups. A focus seems to be the combination of school education and professional training, as well as specialisation. It is criticised, however, that the overall system is not coherent. Moreover, there is a strong reliance on the state. The involvement of social partners, in particular employers, might have to be strengthened.

1. Introduction

1.1 What is the level of interest among the different stakeholders in your country (policy makers, the media, employers and trade unions) in the issue of NEETs? What are their reasons for having a high/ low level of interest in the topic? (Expected length 100 words)

The concept of NEET is little used in France (cf. OECD 2009). The focus of most public debates is on youth unemployment and on school (or university) to job transitions, in particular the ‘Internship Generation’ (Génération Stagiaire), young people who do not find a way into regular employment but are continuously doing internships.

Youth unemployment in France is traditionally high and, consequently, a concern for policy makers. Probably the most famous initiative to tackle this problem was the so called ‘first job contract’ (Contrat première embauche, CPE) in 2006. The law was to introduce flexible redundancy procedures for new hires under the age of 26 and was eventually withdrawn after massive protests from students, trade unions, and many others (FR0605059I). The events of 2006 (and the more recent protests against the latest pension reform that saw unions and young people demonstrating together (FR1007021I)) may have changed trade union attitudes towards young people although the interest is still limited. Employers’ organisations have recently launched a number of measures to improve the skills-demand match for young job seekers (FR1101011). The more general problem of youth unemployment is regularly covered in the media. Figure 1 gives a rough indication about the public debate as it covers the number of searches for “youth unemployment” on Google. It shows a high at the time of the CPE protests and is stable at a lower level since.

Figure 1 - Google Insights for Search results for Youth Unemployment

fr1109041q.tmp00.jpg

Source: http://www.google.com/insights/search/

1.2 Using the following table, please identify which sub-groups of NEETs are of particular concern to the different stakeholders in your country. Please indicate the relative importance of each group to the different stakeholders; for each group please state whether they are felt to be of ‘significant concern’, ‘some concern’, or ‘no concern’ to the different stakeholders.

Table 1 – NEETs sub-groups
 

Public/media debate

e.g. the extent to which the issue is discussed within the news media

Mainstream Policy

e.g. the range of policy documents tackling the issue, the amount of investment committed to tackling the problem

Employers

e.g. the extent to which this issue is raised as a concern, e.g. through lobbying / pressure on the government, involvement in the design and/or implementation of relevant policies

Trade unions

e.g. the extent to which this issue is raised as a concern, e.g. through lobbying / pressure on the government, involvement in the design and/or implementation of relevant policies

Young people who are unemployed

Significant concern

Significant concern

Some concern

Some concern

Young people who are in ‘precarious’ or unsuitable employment (e.g. temporary contracts, forced self-employment, part-time work, or jobs which are not commensurate with their level of qualifications)

Significant concern

Some concern

Some concern

Some concern

Early school leavers – young people who have dropped out of education before obtaining an upper secondary level qualification

Some concern

Significant concern

Some concern

Some concern

Young people with qualifications which do not meet labour market needs

Significant concern

Significant concern

Some concern

Some concern

Teenage/ single parents

No/some concern

No/some concern

No/some concern

No/some concern

Migrants and minority groups

Some concern

Some concern

No/some concern

No/some concern

Young people with disabilities

Some concern

Some concern

No/some concern

No/some concern

Young people from workless families

No concern

No concern

No concern

No concern

Young people from disadvantaged areas

Some concern

Some/significant concern

Some concern

Some concern

Young people with tertiary education who have been unsuccessful in accessing the labour market

Significant concern

Significant concern

Some concern

Some concern

Other (please specify):

.

       

1.3 Are there any policy measures in your country targeted at those NEETs with tertiary education? If yes please describe these briefly (expected length 100 words).

Recently, legal initiatives attempted to ban internships that are not related to a degree programme. This initiative wants to tackle the problem of young university graduates who cannot find regular employment, but are trapped in a series of low-paid, short-term internships. The decree also refers to the social partners to come up with tripartite agreements on the issue of internships.

2. NEET Policies and Measures

2.1 Measures to tackle early school leaving

Preventive Measures to tackle early school leaving

2.1.1 Please provide a short overview of your country’s approach to preventing early school leaving. Where does the focus of policies and measures to prevent early school leaving lie?

It is noteworthy that early school leaving is not the major problem in France. Whereas the percentage of NEET is close to EU and OECD average (11.4% in France, 11.3% in the EU and 11.8 in the OECD), this phenomenon is more distinct in the age group 20-24 (16.5% in France and 15.9% in all OECD countries) than in the 15-19 cohort (6.4% and 7.9%, respectively) (OECD 2009). A series of major reforms of the school system starting in the early 1960s lead to a relatively high rate of young people from the same age group that receive their baccalaureate – the national secondary-school diploma qualifying for university admission. Figure 2 shows that, since the mid-1990s, this ratio is relatively stable at around two-third of the people of the same age group. Consequently, there is no strong policy focus on early school leaving.

Figure 2 - Percentage of members of the same age group that leave school with baccalaureate

Description: figure12_158005

Source: Ministère de l’Éducation nationale, de la Jeunesse et de la Vie associative (2011)

2.1.2 Please complete the table below with a brief description of up to three policies/ measures to prevent early school leaving in your country. Where possible you should use only one word or Yes/No (e.g. how is the measure funded? answer: regional; is this measure a NEET specific measure? answer: Yes).

Table 2 - Early School Leaving: Preventive measures
Early School Leaving: Preventive measures
Name of measure

1. Description of the measure: aims and objectives

2. Scale of measure (i.e. national, regional or local)

3. Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral?

4. How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)?

5. Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs?

6. Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group?

Accompagnement personnalisé en baccalauréat professionnel

1. Personal support for students passing a professional baccalaureate was introduced in 2009 and aims at helping students with the course content, but also providing more general study skills (e.g. how to take notes) and creating a career prospect.

2. National

3. Unilateral

4. National state funding

5. Yes

6. No

Dispositifs en alternance au collège (DIMA)

1. This programme is designed for students who are at least 14 years old and who suffer from difficulties at school in spite of previous attempts to change their situation. They are then allowed to go to school and, alternately, follow a work placement or an apprenticeship.

2. National

3. Unilateral

4. National state funding

5. Yes

6. No

Internats d'excellence
  1. Boarding schools for excellent students from disadvantaged backgrounds,
  2. National
  3. Unilateral
  4. National state funding
  5. Yes
  6. Yes

2.1.3 Please provide a more detailed description of the preventive early school leaving measure which you think is the most effective measure in your country (this measure should be additional to those included in the table above). In addition to the questions raised in the table above, your description should include the details outlined below:

  • When was it introduced and why? How long will it run for?
  • Is it a mainstream or pilot project?
  • What is the scale of the initiative and how much funding has been allocated to it?
  • Who runs the initiative (is it a public, private or third sector initiative)?
  • What is the target group? How many young people benefit from it?
  • What activities are involved?
  • What are the success factors?
  • Is there any formal evidence of its success (both quantitative and qualitative)?

The major initiative in France to prevent early school leaving was launched as a part of the “Education and Training 2020” (ET 2020) strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training by the Council of the European Union. The main objective of the initiative, which is run by the Ministry of National Education, Youth, and Sport (Ministère de l’Éducation nationale, de la Jeunesse et de la Vie associative), is to assure that all young people successfully complete the baccalaureate or a recognised apprenticeship at least. The measure is targeted at young people without diploma or qualification, early school leavers, and, as this has been identified as an important determinant for leaving school without diploma, school-aged children who are often absent from school.

A number of activities are initiated under this framework. Pupils in elementary school (école élémentaire) or in the first level of secondary education (collège), for instance, are offered an extra two hours of learning after the regular classes. This educational support (accompagnement éducatif) may consist of help with the homework, language classes, but also art or sport. The programme is not compulsory and free of charge. In the school year 2008-09 almost 150,000 elementary school pupils and 725,000 students at collège level participated. More than 60% of the support in both school typed was dedicated to help with the homework. Children at the same types of schools who are identified as facing difficulties to acquire basic skills or those who have repeated a form may be subject to a personalised programme for educational success (Programme personnalisé de réussite educative, PPRE). The children are then monitored individually by a member of staff for a definite period, usually a couple of weeks. The aim of this programme is to avoid the accumulation of deficits. For an exhaustive list of activities see here (in French).

The measure has the following overall objectives. At national level, all young people of the same age cohort should have completed at least an apprenticeship, 80% should have passed the baccalaureate (or equivalent), and 50% should successfully finish higher education. Moreover, in problematic neighbourhoods, the number of early school leavers should be reduced by 10% every year, and the number of young people who benefit from a measure such as the above discussed should increase by 10% per year. The European agreement includes two more quantitative indicators. Not more than 10% of all people aged 18 to 24 should have no diploma or qualification and at least 85% of all 22-year-old should have completed secondary education. France has almost achieved the goals set at the European level. In 2009, 83.6% of the 22-year-old had completed secondary education and the rate of the population aged 18 to 24 without diploma was at 11.8%. Early school leaving, however, is dropping since 1975. It is difficult, if not impossible, to assess to what extent this is due to the policy measures discussed above.

Reintegration measures to tackle early school leaving

2.1.4 Please provide a short overview of your country’s approach to the reintegration of early school leavers. Where does the focus of policies and measures lie?

With regards to reintegrating of school leavers there seems to be a strong focus on the newly established reintegration schools (Établissements de réinsertion scolaire, ERS, see below). Although it is too early to make a serious assessment as the first schools have only been set up last September, government authorities seem to be convinced of the concept. It is also a personal issue of President Sarkozy who was driving the instalment of ERS and made a visit to one of the first new schools in April.

2.1.5 Please complete the table below with a brief description of up to three policies/ measures to reintegrate early school leavers in your country. Where possible you should use only one word or Yes/No (e.g. how is the measure funded? answer: regional; is this measure a NEET specific measure? answer: Yes).

Table 2 - Early School Leaving: reintegration measures

Early School Leaving: Reintegration measures

Name of measure

1. Description of the measure: aims and objectives

2. Scale of measure (i.e. national, regional or local)

3. Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral?

4. How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)?

5. Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs?

6. Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group?

Micro Lyceum / Mirco-Lycée
  1. Micro lyceums prepare dropouts in small groups to pass the final exams for the baccalaureate.
  2. The first micro lyceum was initiated in Sénart in the Seine-et-Marne department in June 2009, but the measure was copied in other parts of France, for instance in Vitry-sur-Seine, Val-de-Marne department.
  3. Unilateral
  4. European Social Fund, national state funding
  5. Yes
  6. No
École de la deuxième chance, E2C
  1. “Schools of a second chance” are designed for young people between 18 and 25 and offer a 9-12 month training of basic skills, such as reading, writing, basic math, computer science, language skills.
  2. National
  3. Unilateral
  4. National state funding
  5. Yes
  6. Not explicitly, but E2Cs seem to be concentrated in problematic regions.
Intégration-insertion-inclusion, UP3I
  1. The “Integration – Insertion – Inclusion” programme provides a dual course of ‘traditional’ school education and a practical apprenticeship for the mentally disabled.
  2. National
  3. Unilateral
  4. National state funding
  5. No
  6. Yes, mentally disabled young people between 18 and 25.

2.1.6 Please provide a more detailed description of the reintegration early school leaving measure which you think is the most effective measure in your country (this measure should be additional to those included in the table above). In addition to the questions raised in the table above, your description should include the details outlined below:

  • When was it introduced and why? How long will it run for?
  • Is it a mainstream or pilot project?
  • What is the scale of the initiative and how much funding has been allocated to it?
  • Who runs the initiative (is it a public, private or third sector initiative)?
  • What is the target group? How many young people benefit from it?
  • What activities are involved?
  • What are the success factors?
  • Is there any formal evidence of its success (both quantitative and qualitative)?

Reintegration schools (Établissements de réinsertion scolaire, ERS) are designed for young students between 13 and 16 who have been excluded from previous schools for reasons of misconduct, but are not undergoing to legal persecution or psychotherapy. Students are sent to the special school for one year, before they are reviewed and, eventually, reintegrated into the regular school system. For students who are older than 16 a professional baccalaureate or an apprenticeship is envisaged. The curriculum during the time at an ERS is adapted to the pupils’ situation. Additionally, the participants are supported by trained educational professionals who work in cooperation with the student’s parents. The first ERS was set up close to Nice in September 2010. As of 18 Mars 2011 eleven ERS existed in 8 departments. After the first school year 13 out of 19 participants at the ERS close to Nice are expected to return to a regular school.

2.2 Measures to facilitate access to employment

Facilitating the transition from school to work

2.2.1 Please provide an overview of your country’s approach to facilitating school to work transitions. Where does the focus of policies and measures to facilitate transitions lie?

Observers see school to work transition as one of the main reasons for youth unemployment (for instance OECD 2009; FR1101011).Policy measures focus on single and dual apprenticeship programmes that aim at facilitating the transition. Other attempts try to give incentives to employers to hire young people, although the attempted introduction of the CPE (see above) was a massive failure.

2.2.2 Please complete the table below with a brief description of up to three policies/ measures to facilitate school to work transitions in your country. Where possible you should use only one word or Yes/No (e.g. how is the measure funded? answer: regional; is this measure a NEET specific measure? answer: Yes).

Table 4 - Access to employment: Measures to facilitate school to work transitions

Access to employment: Measures to facilitate school to work transitions

Name of measure

1. Description of the measure: aims and objectives

2. Scale of measure (i.e. national, regional or local)

3. Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral?

4. How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)?

5. Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs?

6. Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group?

Passeport formation

1. The training passport initiated by the social partners in 2009 aims at creating a “professional logbook”, in particular for young employees. It certifies the skills and experience acquired over the course of the professional career.

2. National

3. Bipartite

4. N/A

5. No

6. No

 

1. The National Career Guidance Service (Office national d'information sur les enseignements et les professions, ONISEP) in cooperation with the economic magazine Alternatives économiques published a practical guide that gives clear advices to lycée and university students, their parents and teachers.

2. National

3. Public-private partnership

4. Public-private partnership

5. No

6. No

Contrat d’autonomie

1. This measure is part of the “Hope for the Suburbs” (Espoir Banlieues) programme. Autonomy contracts aim at young people between 16 and 25 who live in designated disadvantaged neighbourhoods. They receive personal support and training from public and private actors that is supposed to help them finding a job or an apprenticeship, or starting their own business.

2. National, but limited to designated areas

3. Unilateral

4. National state funding

5. Yes

6. Yes

2.2.3 Please provide a more detailed description of the school-to-work transition measure which you think is the most effective measure in your country (this measure should be additional to those included in the table above). In addition to the questions raised in the table above, your description should include the details outlined below:

  • When was it introduced and why? How long will it run for?
  • Is it a mainstream or pilot project?
  • What is the scale of the initiative and how much funding has been allocated to it?
  • Who runs the initiative (is it a public, private or third sector initiative)?
  • What is the target group? How many young people benefit from it?
  • What activities are involved?
  • What are the success factors?
  • Is there any formal evidence of its success (both quantitative and qualitative)?

The dual education training (formation en alternance) is seen as an ideal way of integrating young people into the world of work. Young people between 16 and 25 are given an apprenticeship contract that allows them to learn on-the-job in the employing enterprise – they are assigned a tutor – and, alternately, in a vocational school. According to their age and progress, apprentices are paid between 25% and 78% of the national minimum wage (salaire minimum interprofessionnel de croissance, SMIC). Moreover, the employer can apply for tax exemptions, tax credits of €1,600 per apprentice and year, and lump sum expense allowances of at least €1,000 per year.

Since Mars 2011, some extra incentives for employers are in place for the duration of the year. These include cost exemptions for SMEs with less than 250 employees and subsidies for bigger employers, simplification of the bureaucratic process, and the possibility to link two apprenticeship contracts in certain cases. The programme is administered by the National Ministry of Work, Employment and Health (Ministère du Travail, de l’Emploi et de la Santé).

Measures to foster employability

2.2.4 Please provide an overview of your country’s approach to fostering employability among NEETs. Where does the focus of policies and measures lie?

It is not possible to treat school-to-work transition and measures to foster employability separately. A report published by the then Secretary of State in charge of public policy evaluation, Éric Besson, finds, among others, that the mix of practical and theoretical edication seems to be a good predictor for high employment rates of labour market entries. This part must thus be read in conjunction with the former.

2.2.5 Please complete the table below with a brief description of up to three policies/ measures to foster employability of NEETs in your country. Where possible you should use only one word or Yes/No (e.g. how is the measure funded? answer: regional; is this measure a NEET specific measure? answer: Yes).

Table 5 - Access to employment: Measures to foster employability (to include apprenticeships)

Access to employment: Measures to foster employability (to include apprenticeships).

Name of measure

1. Description of the measure: aims and objectives

2. Scale of measure (i.e. national, regional or local)

3. Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral?

4. How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)?

5. Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs?

6. Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group?

Fédération des Entreprises publiques locales

1. The Federation of Local Public Enterprises (Fédération des Entreprises publiques locales, Epl) has pledged to offer 1,000 young people from designated difficult neighbourhoods an apprenticeship contract.

2. National, but limited to designated areas

3. Unilateral

4. National state funding

5. Yes

6. Yes

Peugeot

1. Social partners at Peugeot signed a collective agreement that came into force on 1 January 2011 and aims at increasing the employability of women in the enterprise. It includes, among others, that 30% of all trainees and 30% of all apprentices must be female.

2. Company-wide

3. Bipartite

4. Private

5. Yes

6. Yes

Monoprix

1. In May 2011, social partners at the retail chain Monoprix have signed an agreement to further increase the rate of disabled employees (currently at 4.52%). This is to be done, among others, through the provision of at least 20 apprenticeships to young disabled job seekers. Every branch that offers a young disabled job seeker an apprenticeship will be offered a €1,000 bonus payment.

2. Company-wide

3. Bipartite

4. Private

5. Yes

6. Yes

2.2.6 Please provide a more detailed description of the measure which you think is the most effective measure in your country to foster the employability of NEETs (this measure should be additional to those included in the table above). In addition to the questions raised in the table above, your description should include the details outlined below:

  • When was it introduced and why? How long will it run for?
  • Is it a mainstream or pilot project?
  • What is the scale of the initiative and how much funding has been allocated to it?
  • Who runs the initiative (is it a public, private or third sector initiative)?
  • What is the target group? How many young people benefit from it?
  • What activities are involved?
  • What are the success factors?
  • Is there any formal evidence of its success (both quantitative and qualitative)?

On 7 April 2011, social partners signed an interprofessional agreement on youth employment. The aim is to create 65,000 jobs for young people in 2011. The agreement contains three major initiatives. First, early school leavers shall be qualified with the necessary skills to enter the job market. For this purpose a bipartite steering body is to be established. The measure is to be funded by Joint Fund for Rendering Career Paths Secure (Fonds paritaire de sécurisation des parcours professionnels, FPSPP). A total of €20 million will be allocated. Second, the Employment Agency for Managerial and Professional Staff (Agence pour l’emploi des cadres, APEC) will be responsible for helping young people who went through higher education to find a job. They will be put in contact with enterprises that offer hands-on training and provide first working experiences. 50,000 young people are to be trained before the end of 2012, for a total of €20 million. Third, young people with a recognised diploma but without job shall be offered a transitory measure to get them into employment, such as a place on a dual apprenticeship programme. The national public employment service (pôle emploi) will receive €30 million from the FPSSP to implement the measure for 20,000 young people. It is planned to apply for additional funding from the European Social Fund.

Removing practical and logistical barriers

2.2.7 Please provide an overview of your country’s approach to removing practical and logistical barriers for NEETs. Where does the focus of policies and measures lie?

Most initiatives aimed at removing practical and logistical barriers are not designed for NEETs, or young employees or job seekers, in particular, but apply to them as well. In general this does not seem to be a major issue for NEETs in France.

2.2.8 Please complete the table below with a brief description of up to three policies/ measures to remove practical and logistical barriers to employment for NEETs in your country. Where possible you should use only one word or Yes/No (e.g. how is the measure funded? answer: regional; is this measure a NEET specific measure? answer: Yes).

Table 6 - Access to employment: Measures to remove practical and logistical barriers

Access to employment: Measures to remove practical and logistical barriers

Name of measure

1. Description of the measure: aims and objectives

2. Scale of measure (i.e. national, regional or local)

3. Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral?

4. How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)?

5. Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs?

6. Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group?

Aide mobili-jeune

1. Young people under 30 who have been working in certain sectors or have just finished an apprenticeship and needed to move into a furnished flat in order to search employment may apply for a rent allowance of up to €300 for a maximum duration of three months

2. National

3. Unilateral

4. Private

5. Yes

6. No

Collective Agreement to help young people to access accommodation in order to find employment

1. The social partners agreed to ask Action Logement, an organisation that assures the employers’ contribution to the construction of housing projects, to build 15,000 small flats for young people per year between 2012 and 2014. Moreover, 8,000 additional flats shall be added to existing projects.

2. National

3. Bilateral

4. Private

5. Yes

6. No

Les aides à la reprise d'emploi/Les aides à la recherche d'emploi

1. This measure helps unemployed who are about to take up a new job that is not close to their current place of residence. The national PES may grant a commuter allowance of up to €1,000 for not more than three months, a second home allowance of up to €1,200, or a removal allowance of up to €1,500. Moreover, job seekers who may be granted mobility allowances, to go to interviews or assessment centres, of up to €0,20 per kilometre or the price of a train ticket by the national PES (pôle emploi).

2. National

3. Unilateral

4. National state funding

5. No

6. No

Employer incentives

2.2.9 Please provide an overview of your country’s approach to incentivising employers to recruit young people (who are NEET). Where does the focus of policies and measures to incentivise employers lie? Where possible you should use only one word or Yes/No (e.g. how is the measure funded? answer: regional; is this measure a NEET specific measure? answer: Yes).

Incentives to employers are an important part of French policy to tackle the problem of NEETs and youth unemployment and some measures that might also fit into this category are presented above. Most measures come in the form of direct allowances paid to employers which hire young people, but more recent types include bonus malus systems (see below).

2.2.10 Please complete the table below with a brief description of up to three policies/ measures to incentivise employers in your country.

Table 7 - Access to employment: Employer incentives

Access to employment: Employer incentives

Name of measure

1. Description of the measure: aims and objectives

2. Scale of measure (i.e. national, regional or local)

3. Is the measure tripartite, bipartite or unilateral?

4. How is the measure funded (national state funding, European funding, private funding)?

5. Is this a NEET-specific measure, or is it a more general measure which also has an impact on NEETs?

6. Is the measure specifically targeted at young people from a disadvantaged background or a minority group?

Hiring young people

1. According to two decrees issued in May 2011 SMEs with less than 250 employees are entitled to a special allowance if the hire an apprentice (or equivalent) of the age of 25 or below before the end of the year.

2. National

3. Unilateral

4. National state funding

5. Yes

6. No

Parcours d'Accès aux Carrières des Trois fonctions publiques (PACTE)

1. In its role as an employer the state offers jobs in the public sector for low-skilled young people aged 16 to 25. They are employed by public administration, the municipalities or in public hospitals, and receive a fixed-term contract of 12 to 24 months, regular training, and a salary.

2. National

3. Unilateral

4. National State Funding

5. Yes

6. Yes

Aides au recrutement des jeunes diplômés pour favoriser la recherche et l'innovation dans les PME-PMI

1. SMEs and micro-enterprises which hire young researcher to conduct R&D on a contract of at least 12 months can apply for allowances that cover up to 50% of the wage costs in the first year up to a maximum of €27,000.

2. National

3. Unilateral

4. National state funding

5. Yes

6. No

2.2.11 Please provide a more detailed description of the employer incentive which you think is the most effective measure in your country (this measure should be additional to those included in the table above). In addition to the questions raised in the table above, your description should include the details outlined below:

  • When was it introduced and why? How long will it run for?
  • Is it a mainstream or pilot project?
  • What is the scale of the initiative and how much funding has been allocated to it?
  • Who runs the initiative (is it a public, private or third sector initiative)?
  • What is the target group? How many young people benefit from it?
  • What activities are involved?
  • What are the success factors?
  • Is there any formal evidence of its success (both quantitative and qualitative)?

In order to boost the number of apprenticeships the government has introduced the “additional apprenticeship contribution” (Contribution supplémentaire à l’apprentissage, CPA) in 2009. The fee has to be paid by all enterprises with more than 250 employees whose workforce consists to less than 4% of apprentices (originally 3%, raised to 4% recently). Employers that do not meet this threshold must pay the fee of 0.1% of their wage costs. From January 2012 onwards, there will be a bonus malus system in place that charges companies more if they are further below the quota.

3. Conclusion

France has – partly as a result of pressure from international organisations such as the European Union (EU) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) – a system in place that offers many measures to tackle the problem of NEETs. It also seems that the problem has moved up on the agenda, in particular since the CPE protests in 2006. Most measures are still setup, controlled and financed by the state. Social partners have just begun to make serious attempts to tackle the problems of young people on the labour market as a series of collective agreements in 2011 – two of which are presented above – has shown.

The crux of the problem remains the school to (regular) employment transition. Young people with different levels of qualifications are often trapped in internships or short-term contracts. In June 2011, the weekly newspaper Courrier International devoted its cover story to those young people for whom being an intern is a profession rather than a period of transition (“profession stagiare”). Although no official statistics exist it is reported that an estimated 50% of all people who went through higher education (Master or above) have completed three or more internships. These groups still report difficulties when it comes to finding regular employment and many are trapped in insecure employment. That is why they are often called – or rather call themselves – the ‘Precarious Generation’ (Génération Précaire). As a consequence, many attempts to tackle the NEET problem aim at facilitating the path to a first regular job.

Critics claim that the system of measures available is too patchy and that educational policy in France lacks of coherence (e.g. OECD 2009). Although successful initiatives have been extended over recent years, for instance the combination of theoretical and practical skills through dual apprenticeships or professional baccalaureates, a lot remains to be done.

An important innovation is the role of the social partners. Although it seems obvious that the state alone cannot solve the problems of NEETs employers and unions have been rather passive in the past. The latest initiatives, however, seem to be a turning point even though no pathbreaking decisions have been made. Employers in particular must change their expectations towards young people and accept that – although they might need initial training – hiring young employees might be an investment for the future.

Sebastian Schulze-Marmeling, HERA

References

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