Some 520,000 employees in France resigned in the first quarter of this year, a number not seen since the financial crash in 2008.
Of those who have left their jobs between January and the end of March, 470,000 were on a permanent contract. In the same period in 2008, 510,000 people left their jobs, including 400,000 on CDI long-term (contrat à durée indéterminée) contracts.
When the number of resignations is compared to the number of active workers, the proportion of people leaving their jobs remained slightly lower early this year than it was in 2008, at 2.7% as opposed to 2.9%.
Only in firms with more than 50 employees was the resignation rate higher than during the financial crisis, at 2.3% compared to 1.7%.
This is according to a study carried out by the Direction de l’animation de la recherche, des études et des statistiques (Dares) labour ministry agency.
“Difficulties with recruitment are at unprecedented levels in the manufacturing and service industries, and at their worst since 2008 in construction,” the Dares report states.
“This situation creates opportunities for employees already in work and is likely to lead to more resignations.”
This also means that “starting salaries are likely to rise, especially for people who have just resigned [from another job].”
As companies struggle to recruit, employees find themselves in a powerful position, able to demand changes to their working conditions or contracts such as provisions for working from home, for example.
Even if their current job cannot meet their needs, the dynamic market means that they are likely to find another post easily, with eight in every 10 people resigning during the second half of 2021 finding another role within six months.
The situation in France now appears to be echoing the ‘Great Resignation’ taking place in the US, where 44% of workers were looking for a new job in March, according to CNBC.
France best country for work-life balance
Some of those resigning, particularly in the restaurant trade, say they are doing so to find a job with better working times allowing a better life-work balance. This comes as a new study suggests that people in France enjoy more leisure time than people in any other country.
It showed that the average French person in full-time employment had more than 4,000 hours a year in which they were neither working nor sleeping.
This is partly because of the 35-hour working week, as opposed to the 40 hours generally observed in the UK and Spain, for example, and also because of the 36 days annual leave (holiday allowance and bank holidays) to which French employees are entitled.
The second best country for leisure time was Denmark, and the third was Norway. The UK came 36th in the world and 31st in Europe.
The study was carried out by British watchmakers, Mr Jones Watches.
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