Though in mid-Autumn 2021 the unemployment rate in France has fallen appreciably, it remains distinctly higher than in the other Eurozone countries. However, while there is dynamic job creation, the number of unfilled job offers — a matter of bitter contention — once again reveals the mismatch between supply and demand. How can this phenomenon be explained? In this article, Paul Santelmann shows what a complex problem this is, since it involves a multitude of factors: the low level of employment of young people and seniors; the discrepancy between skills needed and qualifications being gained; regional disparities etc. And this is not even to mention life-long learning which, despite a variety of reforms, still seems highly ineffective, most significantly because of the welter of different actors playing a part in it, both within the civil service and in the training centres, who are not sufficiently apprised of the needs of businesses.
In this article, Paul Santelmann describes the particular situation of the French labour market, examines the role of the different existing recruitment channels and, most importantly, shows how vocational training neither works in matching supply to demand nor in enabling greater occupational mobility. Given how the situation varies across different sectors of activity and geographical areas, this analysis suggests that it is urgent to review how training actually operates in France, so that it can be made to respond effectively to grassroots needs. The clear implication is that its oversight and management should be decentralized.