Priority neighborhoods: insufficient employment aid to reduce the gaps

Reduce inequalities in access to employment. This objective, the cornerstone of public policies specific to priority districts of city policy (QPV), is struggling to be achieved, points out the Court of Auditors in a report published last July.

The approximately 1,514 QPV, bringing together, at 1er January 2018, 8% of the population have incomes lower than the national average – largely drawn from social benefits – and a greatly deteriorated employment situation. While the proportion of people outside the labor market is higher than elsewhere, the unemployment rate there is three times higher than the national average. Nearly 40% of QPV residents are under 25 years old.

Statement of failure

The challenge is twofold: to seek out inhabitants who are far from the labor market, the “invisible”, but also to offer them a suitable course.

Several measures in favor of employment coexist in these priority districts, combining common employment law and specific policies of city contracts such as “free jobs”, allowing an employer to benefit from assistance when hiring a resident residing in a priority area.

Between 2015 and 2021, the resources allocated by Pôle emploi to its agencies have been increased more in the QPVs than in the other territories. In 2021, Pôle emploi’s expenditure in favor of QPVs amounted to 703 million euros for operating expenses and 252 million euros for intervention expenses.


Despite the various attempts to reduce inequalities in employment put in place in recent years, “the systems, as they are designed and deployed today, are not able to reduce the gaps between them [les QPV] and the rest of the population”, notes the Court of Auditors.

Franchised jobs, which are supposed to encourage employers to turn to profiles from priority neighborhoods, do not prevent discrimination: “Barring exceptions, financial aid does not succeed in counterbalancing the negative signal produced by the address of the candidate residing in QPV”, underlines the Court of Auditors.

At issue: a poor adaptation of the systems to the specificities and needs of priority neighborhoods and their inhabitants as well as a lack of efficiency in the deployment of the employment policy, made more complex by the lack of coordination between the national actors and local.

Listen to the locals

To remedy these shortcomings, the Court recommends in particular facilitating access to apprenticeships for young people in QPVs, or harmonizing the conditions of eligibility for employment schemes.

“The more systematic integration of the company upstream and throughout any integration process and the development of the “going towards”, with the support of the associative environment, especially in the sports environment, constitute, with the decompartmentalization of modes of intervention and listening to residents, the main areas for improving public action in favor of the employment of residents of QPVs”, concludes the Court of Auditors.

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