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English Copywriter in Paris: French attitudes job security

The last few weeks have been filled with red-hot striking and protests here in Paris.

This time, it’s all about, amongst other things, proposed labour reforms.

What kind of radical changes have the French government cooked up to incite so much anger?

Hollande & Co. are trying, among other things, to make it is easier to hire and fire employees. And, the French aren’t happy!

This may be difficult for non-French people to understand. After all, in the UK, we are used to this kind of job insecurity.

But, in France, people are still very attached to the idea that once you get a job, it’s yours. For life. Any attempt at eroding this protection is seen as sacrilege and violently rejected.

I’m not an economics expert, far from it.

There certainly seem to be lots of advantages to this approach that offers more security, less stress and a clearer work-life balance.

But, I can help feeling that one of the disadvantages of this overwhelming desire for a CDI (permanent contracts that are notoriously difficult to break) makes employers exceedingly cautious when it comes to choosing candidates, as they can’t afford to make a mistake and be stuck with a deadweight for years to come.

They therefore choose overqualified individuals, hence the abundance of double or triple Masters degrees floating around. This makes it difficult for young people to get a foot in the career ladder and means unchallenged employees get bored and demotivated – they can’t be fired anyway!

Public (and back bench) pressure has already succeeded in diluting the changes, so that they only apply to big companies.

But, the striking and protests – including Indignados-inspired camping out – are still in full swing!

Nuit Debout - Protests in Paris

Watch this space to see how all this anger pans out and for my next post about honing the French of striking.

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