France Covid recovery: Summer jobs paying well, but are rare

Companies in France are starting to recruit for summer jobs as the country continues to reopen - with some positions reportedly paying as much as €3,500 gross per month - but offers are still few and far between.

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Figures from temporary jobs agency site Qapa has found that some summer jobs on offer are paying between €1,800 and €3,500 per month gross, including tips.

These include roles such as valet parking (€1,800-€3,000 gross or before tax) and skilled bar staff (€2,000-€3,000). These jobs are usually paid per month, rather than by the hour, and require long, anti-social hours, but can be well-paid as a result.

Market slowdown

However the market for summer jobs is slower than normal this year, as employers wait to see how the tourism industry recovers from the Covid-19 shutdown, Qapa said.

Good offers are rare, and have been slower to appear than normal.

The agency explained: “Professionals remain in suspense, and are waiting to find out whether tourists - and in particular foreign holidaymakers - will be there.”

The hospitality sector appears to be especially cautious, the agency said.

Chef and kitchen roles may pay €1,800-€2,000 per month, but they require some additional qualifications and experience. Beach attendant roles have been offered from between €1,550-€2,500 gross including tips; and even some waiter jobs have been advertised for €1,550-€2,400, if customers are generous with tips.

But again, opportunities are rare.

Qapa added: “The hotel/restaurant sector still has a large need for seasonal workers, but has not yet launched many offers, and is waiting to see what the booking flow will be.”

It predicted that jobs will, as a result, be available until well into August, “which is exceptional for the job market", it said.

But one hospitality employer, Jean Coves, at the Walsheim brasserie in Rouen (Seine-Maritime, Normandy) told news source BFMTV that employing students and young people was not necessarily his top priority at present.

He said: “We had to let go almost half of our staff and put them on [technical unemployment scheme] chômage technique, so our priority is to take them all back over time, which means that there is very little chance of us recruiting elsewhere.”

In-demand but less well-paid

The most common jobs so far are within the distribution and logistics sectors, as these industries look to recruit temporary staff to replace workers who have worked throughout lockdown, and are now due to take holiday.

These roles are often less well-paid, as they are more in demand, and do not include tips.

Recent opportunities include farm workers, who can expect to receive €1,500-€1,800 gross per month, and a supermarket order picker, who can expect to earn €1,500-€2,100 (but will usually be required to work more than 25 hours per week).

Qapa said that farm workers are in especially high demand at the moment, as are live-in housekeepers (€1,550 with accommodation included) and at-home carers (around €1,550, depending on the hours worked).

Yet one student, a 23-year-old from Montpellier (Hérault, Occitanie), told BFMTV: “With the health crisis, and everything that has happened, it has been really difficult.

“We had started planning our summer season, deciding where we might work, but as everything has been turned upside down because of Covid-19, the plans are no longer valid, so now we have to restart from zero.”

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