CROSS IT OUT
When I started this site, I promised myself I wouldn’t let myself get distracted by current “trends” (even I can smell the “but” coming). But, the recent French feud on employment got me wondering a lot about our future as workers.
For those unfamiliar with the matter, French president Macron recently told a young jobseeker that he would be able to find him a job by “simply crossing the road”. Apart from the many scandals and criticisms, many parodies / Beatles references have been sprouting all over the place. Two illustrations below (the original, and, of course, the “fun”):
OUR CROSSING SITUATION*
So why did this “punchline” catch so much attention?
Well, for starters, unemployment is running high in France nowadays. With more than 3 millions jobseekers and an 8,8% unemployment rate in the first quarter of 2018, France is above the European average. Scarily enough for younger generations, one in four under 25s is jobless.
Seeing those figures immediately got me wondering about the “other side”: what about job vacancies? Are there none? And if yes, why? Oddly – and certainly puzzling – enough, I found that there were more than 300 thousand job vacancies today in France. In theory, 300 000 jobseekers could find a match on the job market. But why is reality so different then?
* bad pun intended… again
Not going according to plan? | Unsplash
crossing our minds
To shed a different light on the matter, let’s see how experts tackle the problem. Last week, I had the chance to go back to thecamp for some keynotes about the “millenials’ question”.
One keynote particularly caught my attention as it strongly echoed to Macron’s infamous “catch phrase”.
Laetitia Vitaud – specialised in the future of work and younger generations –, came to share her thoughts on what she called “the end of loyalty”.
She divides the employment pool in two types of persons. The ones actively looking for a job – and not finding one -, and the ones not looking – but who are solicited nonetheless. The latter category are also often the ones “consuming job”, testing out the waters (and leaving before the end of the trial end-date). So how does such a fracture happen? And how do you actually work to reduce this gap? Summed up in a sentence:
HOW MIGHT WE REDUCE INEQUALITIES ON THE WORK MARKET TODAY?
As a student, I unfortunately don’t have an answer. And if a solution were that easy to find, I’d like to believe it would have been implemented by now.
From my studying point of view, I have grown to think that we might not be looking at the problem the right way. How many of us have been told we have to prepare for jobs “that don’t exist yet“? We all acknowledged our system is shifting, as our needs. But • rhetorical question coming your way • how are we actually prepared to tackle those new challenges coming our way? Well, guess what? We’re not. The hard skills we learn today in school tend to lag behind in this fast-paced context.
Firms, on the other hand, try to shift their model as well – feeling like they scare away younger generations. But they too, fail to adopt a clear strategy to attract and retain what they call “young talents”, while changing their culture.
If both ends (future employer/employee) are incertain and lack… adaptability / soft-skills; maybe focusing on acquiring them could help. I’ve been rambling about those for a while now (look here, here, and here). I’d really like to believe that an education turned towards adaptation, making and collaboration might change the way we consider our work as well.
On the other hand, a lot of firms try to shift their recruitment processes to “go with the flow” and focus on “softness”. As I already worded it in a previous article, the gesture might be grand, but it only concerns a small amount of students right now, while the rest remain unaware of the possibilities. Schools prepare tomorrow’s citizens / workers. If they are at the root of all change, why not focus on them to shift our model?
What if the real questions were: