Saturday, February 20, 2010

Show Me the Figures

Louis Maurin has compiled statistics about French life from a variety of sources. According to this review, Maurin believes that much of the discourse about French society is at odds with the realities revealed by his statistics.


Boris said...

Thanks for this very interesting links.
One thing the author points to that always strikes me as very unfair is the stress put on initial training as opposed to permanent training.
If you haven't been to the right schools, you can't have a carreer.
Everyone knows that, but instead of changing things to allow more varieties of training pattern (middle-age entry in the university system for instance), it seems that rules are getting ever stiffer. The only people who can succeed are the ones that are already carreer-oriented at age 15 (or are pushed very hard by their parents - but that doesn't necessarily make for a happy life).

FrédéricLN said...

@ Boris : not that the rules are worsening. They are actually slightly nicer that 20 years ago (I thing the unified Baccalauréat is an improvement). But the opportunities are decreasing in our firms: our large firms are old firms (≠ US situation), whose staff figures are decreasing. The small flow of newcomers is made of highly selected, highly "conform" (? identical) people, the expectation of the companies leaders toward newcomers is that they will keep the legacy as is.

Workers strikes are very seldom in companies (as opposed to State-owned sector) and the workers on strike are very often priviledged ones, who know they will not find opportunities at the same wage level on the job market. They try to build shelters for themselves, to obtain medium-term guarantees.

In the 90's, the broadest opportunity for newcomers was in the "secteur public" (state-owned and even more the local authorities, that were hiring plenty of people). The recruitment is based on the academic level ("concours") and, as competition is hard, a very high level is actually required even to obtain an underqualified job.

For youth whose families are from other social milieus that upper bourgeoisie, and did not permanently insist on working at school and aiming high academic qualifications, what's left? Self-enterprise, if they have this kind of talent (not so frequent in France, but still existing!).