The great coping of companies in the face of a lack of staff

Last week, an apparently banal telephone call reached the switchboard of this supermarket on the Côte d’Azur. A customer explained that he wanted to place an order for fish, and asked to be put in contact with the department manager. “My fishmonger came to see me shortly after, explaining to me that he had been the subject of an attempt to poach a restaurant owner”, smiles Clément Bourassin, owner of U stores in Grasse and Beaulieu-sur-Mer (Alpes-Maritimes).

Driven in particular by the end of the crisis and the resumption of activity, labor needs have never been so great in many sectors: more than 3 million hires could be made in 2022, according to the annual survey “Labour needs” (BMO) carried out at the end of 2021 by Pôle emploi.

At the top of the most demanded professions, those of the hotel and catering industry still hold the rope, followed by maintenance workers and the care and health professions. Construction is also struggling to recruit. Even consulting firms are crying out for employees and many companies are trying to flush out salespeople. Force is to adapt. “I myself have become an adjustment variable in the dining room or in the kitchen and I am now an integral part of the service schedule”, explains Didier Desert, owner of the restaurant L’Ambassade d’Auvergne, in Paris. In his supermarkets, Clément Bourassin relies in particular on the versatility of his employees. “This opens Pandora’s box of overtime”he points out, adding that the solution is only short-term due to a risk of employee fatigue.

Adaptation can mean letting go. Despite increased salaries and multiple announcements, the La Quiberonnaise cannery, in Quiberon (Morbihan), would need double its workforce. “As a result, we are not producing what we should be producing”, regrets Théo Mourlin, production manager. At a large pasta manufacturer, demand is exploding but it is explained that production must be curbed. Same disappointment in the building. “Many of our members have to select their sites more, for lack of employees or materials”, explains Jean-Christophe Repon, electrician in the Var and president of the Confederation of crafts and small building companies (Capeb).

In catering, where 20% of employees would have left during the parenthesis of the health crisis, the schedules are adapting. “Many establishments are now at risk of operating one day less per week, says Laurent Fréchet, president of the catering branch of the National Group of Independents (GNI). I am afraid that with the summer season, the influx of customers combined with the reduction in staff will force many of them, like last year, to ask customers to place their orders at the counter for lack of room staff. . » The Union of Hotel Trades and Industries (Umih) has signed an agreement with the Tunisian Ministry of Tourism to bring in 4,000 young people this summer under fixed-term contracts. “They were trained in their country in our trades but lack work at home”explains Hubert Jan, president of the catering branch at the union.

Employers are firing on all cylinders. “Our cooptation bonus, paid to employees who allow us to hire a new employee, has increased from €50 to €500”, says Julien Poron, head of recruitment and mobility at the carrier DHL Express France, where salespeople have become a scarce resource. Faced with a need to recruit 400 positions, the diocesan management of Catholic education in Paris sent a letter to all parents of students to find out if they knew anyone interested. An unusual approach that has paid off. “In three days, we had 150 contacts”, says Étienne Tercinier, human resources manager. A first information meeting brought together 75 potential candidates and 90 others are registered for a future meeting.

In industry, some companies broaden the spectrum of their research without looking at degrees. In the Thalès factory in Etrelles (Ille-et-Vilaine), where electronic cards for Rafale aircraft are manufactured, the CV is no longer required for production positions. Candidates take dexterity tests and, if successful, a 400-hour in-house training plan is offered to them. According to the company, the operation makes it possible to diversify profiles and also accelerate feminization, by encouraging professional retraining with, for example, the hiring of former seamstresses. In Savoie, nine competing companies, from VSEs with four employees to SMEs with 70 people, have created the Fab’Académie, a training center supported in particular by the public investment bank and the Union des industries et local metallurgy.

Recruitment channels are being diversified everywhere. Many businesses display classified ads in their windows. “Traditional classifieds? We are almost certain that no one will answer it, “ sighs a manager of a Parisian café-restaurant. Many hypermarkets organize “job dating” sessions, informal meetings between candidates and retailers. Social networks are called to the rescue.

Above all, we say we are getting used to meeting new requirements: more flexible hours, questions about actions in terms of social or environmental policy, teleworking for jobs that allow it, etc. “For certain positions, we do not require more than one day of presence per month”, assures Marie-Alice Goujard, human resources manager at the consultant Sia Partners. According to another HR manager, seniors “start to dare to have many demands while for some young people, it cannot be otherwise”.

Promises must be kept. “You have to take the time to welcome new employees on their first day, says Clément Bourassin, for example, take care of the premises reserved for staff, while these reflexes are not yet anchored in the tradition of mass distribution. » And beware of those who fail. In some professions, employees use social networks to express themselves very freely about their companies, salaries or working conditions. Some have even become essential tools of choice for employees.


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