En France, the proportion of employees who consider that they do not receive “the respect and esteem that their work deserves” oscillates between a third and a quarter between 2013 and 2019, according to the “Working conditions” surveys of the research department of the Ministry of Labor. Just over half of them considered their salary or promotion prospects to be satisfactory in relation to the work performed. The feeling of being “well paid for the efforts made” is particularly degraded. In 2021, only 45% of French workers expressed this opinion, the lowest proportion in the European Union, according to the Eurofound (2021) survey on working conditions.
These figures bear witness first of all to the high expectations of the French with regard to work as an activity allowing self-development and economic and social integration. Contrary to the themes of the “great resignation”, the “silent resignation”, or even the “laziness” of French employees, all the major quantitative and qualitative surveys for several decades have demonstrated the stability of the very great importance given to work in our country.
The health crisis has not introduced a disengagement from work, but perhaps more a distancing from the conditions of its exercise. The employment rate reached, at the end of 2022, its highest level ever measured by INSEE, with 68.3% of 15-64 year olds in activity. On the other hand, the strength of the social movement which is expressed around the forceful passage of the pension reform testifies to the concern about working conditions, the role of which is decisive in the feeling of recognition, personal and social, for employees as well as for the self-employed, whatever the sectors of activity.
It is indeed difficult to feel recognized when one considers it impossible to carry out quality work or when it seems absurd to us, even harmful socially or ecologically. Support from colleagues and management is also important. To be able to recognize the efforts of workers, it is essential to know the constraints of their real activity, and to allow them to weigh in on the important decisions that concern them. Whether it is employment conditions, prospects for promotion or remuneration, it is the expectation of fairness, inside and outside the organization, that dominates.
Finally, workers want to be respected as individuals and to be treated equally regardless of gender, origin or social class. On all of these registers (quality of work and participation, social support, justice and discrimination), Eurofound data show that France is very poorly placed, particularly vis-à-vis the countries of northern Europe. .
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