More than 60,000 positions available today. And 1.3 million to be found in the next ten years, according to Roland Lescure, the Minister for Industry. Even if this is not a net balance, because 800,000 to 900,000 people will retire over the period, the wheel has turned for the industrial sector.
After several decades of deindustrialization, marked by the disappearance of 2.5 million industrial jobs in fifty years, industry is once again hiring workers, technicians and engineers. It is the electrification movement, with investments amounting to billions of euros in battery factories and the entire associated ecosystem, and decarbonization, which will allow more traditional industries such as steel, aluminum or chemistry to fully enter the ecological transition, which sets the pace.
Except that these recruitments are not easy. All manufacturers recognize this. “The challenge of recruitment in the industry is colossal for the coming years,” underlines Alexandre Saubot, president of France Industrie, which brings together players in the sector. Hence the need to communicate about your professions and your strengths. This is the principle of Industry Week, which opened this Monday. Numerous communication actions have been put in place. Industrial sites open their doors to young schoolchildren. In total, more than 5,500 events were recorded by the Ministry of Industry during this special week. And they are expected to welcome more than 2 million participants.
The objective is clear: improve the image of the industry to encourage vocations. Things have nevertheless evolved in the right direction, supported by the multiplication of new investments. “In recent years, the image of the industry has improved,” recognizes Sébastien Gillet, director of Global Industrie, the most important exhibition bringing together the industrial sector in France. About ten years ago, we still had an outdated, Zola-like image of the industry. Today, we are talking about a digital factory, virtual reality, robotization or a digital twin.” And the success of the Global Industrie show clearly demonstrates this new appeal. “We are expecting 5,000 to 7,000 young people at the next Global Industrie show, when we had a maximum of 1,500 young people at the beginning of the 2010s,” says the show boss.
Touring the factories should help strengthen this new face of the sector. But image is not the only asset the industry can boast of. There is also objective data to put forward. “The industry hires 90% on permanent contracts and pays better, around 20% more for qualifications paid at the minimum wage level in other sectors,” underlines Sébastien Gillet. This is important at a time when economic uncertainties are increasing.
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However, recruiting remains tricky. And businesses sometimes find themselves faced with unexpected difficulties. For example in Dunkirk, which today concentrates new projects. The city needs to find 20,000 people over the next ten years. But housing is a real concern. This is the reason which led Patrice Vergriete, Minister of Housing and former mayor of Dunkirk, who therefore knows the subject well, to modify the classification of the agglomeration in order to be able to build intermediate housing there.
The employment of seniors represents another lever. Skills must be retained for as long as possible. “The ability to keep seniors in employment is absolutely strategic,” emphasizes Alexandre Saubot. Hence his support for the proposal of the Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, to align the maximum unemployment compensation for those over 55 with the duration of younger employees. “It would be terrible to have taken all the steps of reindustrialization and come up against the lack of qualified personnel to run the factories,” insists the boss of France Industrie.