Huge resignation: the primary wave in France?

Pauline packed her suitcases. After the first two waves of Covid, she left London and worked as a consultant for business transformation. Officially to be closer to his family in France. In reality, because she no longer supported her box management style. Like her, thousands of employees no longer hesitate to slam doors. In the third quarter of 2021, Dares – the statistics service of the Ministry of Labor – recorded a record number of more than 400,000 layoffs.

In two years, from July 2019 to July 2021, the share increased by 20%. As for early termination of fixed-term contracts, they jumped by 25%. And this phenomenon is not only spreading among employees in hotels, restaurants, personal services or construction, sectors in which working hours are perceived as unbearable, and jobs that are repetitive. In return, highly qualified managers throw in the towel, no longer finding meaning in their work. Of course, the dynamics of the labor market favors the transition to rank. One indicator among others: the French platform HelloWork published twice as many offers on its job pages in 2021 than in 2020.

And the increase continues: “In the first quarter of 2022 alone, their number is already more than half that of 2021,” said Jérémy Plasseraud, commercial director of edtech HelloWork. The “big resignation”, a translation of the American “big resignation”, the country in which this global phenomenon first appeared, is still much more than a short-term trend. It is a rush of soil, which calls into question the place we want to give to work in our lives.

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The right to decompression

Professional burnout and lack of managerial support: these are the two reasons that resignations are most often cited to justify their decision. “In surveys conducted by companies internally, employees are constantly concerned about workload and work-life balance,” warns Valérie Rocoplan, head of Talentis Executive Coaching. Because, after the health crisis, returning to the office sounded like a cold shower to many workers.

“Cessation of the possibility of working remotely and increased control of teams,” we underline in the ADP. The People at Work 2022 survey, conducted by this human resources solution expert, shows that 57% of French employees – including 72% of people aged 18 to 34 – have thought about a radical career change in the past year. “The problem for employers is no longer a talent war, but the retention of one’s own talents,” concludes Rémi Malenfant, director of HR Innovation Europe at Ultimate Kronos Group (UKG).

But what do active people want? Even if pay remains their number one concern, all other expectations are on the rise, whether it’s meaning at work, company culture, mental health or autonomy. To hell with presentism! According to a survey by ADP, more than 6 out of 10 employees in France want more flexibility in working hours, with the possibility of reducing it to a four-day week.

More than 4 out of 5 employees would accept a pay cut to get it, confirms a report on the hybrid work of Owl Labs France, designer of immersive video conferencing. But companies are lagging behind in this area. According to the ADP, only 5% adopted a four-day week, and only 19% implemented a flexible work policy. “Employers urgently need to revise their methods of cooperation,” warns Valérie Rocoplan, who is proposing a charter on life at work, canceling, for example, meetings after 6 p.m. “After the right to end a relationship, we see the right to decompression,” said Olivier Parent du Chatelet, a partner at BearingPoint. Some employees ask for breaks of three or six months. “It is useful,” the consultant assures, “because they are more motivated when they return.” »

Success of “détravaila”

There are also those who question the central place of work in their lives. According to one of the latest Human Footprint barometers, nearly 60% of respondents have changed their priorities since Covid. Uncertainty caused by the aftermath of the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, declining purchasing power and, more broadly, climate change, underscores the trend. Times reporter Josh Glancy, has this formula: “We have entered an era of‘ permacrisis ’. And this calls into question our motivation to sacrifice most of our time at work. So much so that the current “detravaila” which, in the movement of growth, supports the idea of ​​doing less, knows some success.

“Can we continue to make executives dream with the goal of increasing turnover by 10%? “Says Valérie Rocoplan. In the United States, the Antiwork Group, founded in 2013 on the social network Reddit, has nearly 2 million members compared to 150,000 in the fall of 2021. In France, the Nantes-born Collective Work Less (CTM) asks about the value of work. In his “after work” or themed evenings, all profiles are mixed: “Young people driven by environmental and social reflection, people in their forties who face psychosocial risks, engineers who would exchange salary increases for shorter working hours, and many resigned.” states Myriam Ameur, a member of CTM. However, throwing everything away is not so easy …

dialogue of the deaf

Too impulsive, French? In our country, 63% of resigners believe that they acted too quickly, according to a recent UKG survey. This is the highest rate in Europe. The right approach would be to reconsider upstream what really suits us and to reorient ourselves in the best way. In the Netherlands, for example, those who resigned thought longer – six months against one for the French – before making a decision, and among Europeans there are those who regret it the least.

Paradox: our compatriots are still the most numerous who discuss the choice with their manager. But it is often a dialogue of the deaf. “Managers are struggling to identify the reasons for these departures,” said Rémi Malenfant. They think they are personal, while resignations highlight their frustration with their hierarchy and their sense of not being valued. The UKG Director of HR Innovation regrets the formalism of the career interview. “Exchanges would benefit from more transparency. That way we would allow ourselves to extract talents. This is the famous “boomerang” phenomenon that stutters in France. Take the victory.

After giving birth, this mother of two decides with her husband to leave Paris for La Rochelle. No safety net: since she failed to get a telecommuting contract out of her box, she resigns. She finds a job in a similar company, which offers her this breadth as well as a higher salary. But the experience was shortened: “It was too difficult to make long-distance connections when I didn’t know any of my colleagues. “The result: she returned to her former employer, with whom she kept in touch. “He did not want to be equal in salaries, but he agreed to work remotely and offered me the opportunity to become a manager. Replay for win-win.

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