Labour shortages: which sectors are hardest hit?

Following a faster-than-expected post-Covid economic recovery, some sectors are experiencing labor shortages and are more affected than others. This is particularly true of the transport, environment, tourism, catering, luxury goods, agriculture and French industry sectors. For the companies affected by this general shortage, the lack of personnel represents, above all, lost sales.

Labour shortages reach record levels

Staff shortages are being felt all over France. Since the economic upturn, recruiting has become a real obstacle course for some business owners, who have been forced to close their establishments.

Several factors are likely to explain this situation. Firstly, the health crisis has profoundly transformed the world of work. Many employees have revised their requirements, and are no longer willing to work staggered hours, to be present every weekend, or to waste time travelling. Trade-offs are no longer the same as they were before the crisis, making recruitment more complex.

Then there are structural problems, such as insufficient training for jobs requiring specific qualifications.

Finally, companies are faced with another challenge: the high turnover of their workforce, fuelled by employees' desire to devote themselves to other activities or to change professional sectors.

Sectors affected by labor shortages

One of the sectors most affected by labor shortages is transportation.

"Before the crisis, we needed to recruit 10,000 bus drivers a year. Today, it's 15,000. By the start of the 2022 school year, France will be short of 7,000 to 8,000 drivers", explains the Fédération nationale des transports de voyageurs.

Recruitment difficulties can be partly explained by an unfavorable age pyramid and unattractive part-time working arrangements.

Another sector concerned: tourism. With summer in full swing and holidaymakers in high demand, employers are struggling to recruit seasonal workers. Last May, the UMIH (Union des métiers et des industries de l'hôtellerie) and the GNC (Groupement National des Chaînes Hôtelières), the two main unions in the catering sector, estimated that between 200,000 and 300,000 seasonal jobs were still to be filled this summer. They put forward a number of reasons for this, including the explosion of vacancies in relation to demand, following successive periods of confinement, and the arduous nature of certain assignments.

The need for personnel is also felt in the agricultural sector, which accounts for almost a million jobs. According to the FNSEA (Fédération nationale des syndicats d'exploitants agricoles), between 60,000 and 70,000 positions remain vacant. The FNSEA regularly organizes job-dating events to put applicants and companies in touch with each other, and to attract young people to careers in livestock farming, agriculture and food processing. More recently, it joined the Tour de France caravan to take advantage of one of the finest showcases in the French countryside.