Mobility linked to professional reconversions: who is asking for them?

The growth in professional retraining is now driven by ecological and digital transitions, employees’ aspirations for better working conditions, a balance between professional and personal life or a meaningful profession, point out researchers from the Center for studies and research on qualifications (Céreq), in a collective collection published on February 15. Titled “The time for mobility and professional reconversion”it was coordinated by Florence Lefresne and Eric Verdier.

This new dynamic is part of an economic context that has been favorable to reconversions for several years. Firstly, the health crisis, by putting careers on hold, has led more workers to question their professional future. Then, at the end of the confinements, the resumption of activity, by reducing unemployment, encouraged employers to better support retraining courses to build up a pool of candidates.

Finally, the law of September 5, 2018 for the freedom to choose one’s professional future and the skills investment plan (PIC) have reinforced this trend. A phenomenon more suffered than chosen by the least qualified, according to the Défis survey carried out by Céreq among 16,000 employees from 2015 to 2019 and analyzed in the collection of studies by researchers (“The time of mobility and reconversions professionals”).

Less easy retraining for unskilled employees

Thus 33% of employees, all categories combined, declared in 2015 that they wanted to change jobs. This figure rose to 45% among unskilled employees, particularly those occupying administrative positions in companies, cashiers and employees in large-scale distribution, in the cleaning sector, in the hotel and catering sector or in assistance with residence.

But because it is not enough to want, Céreq notes that between 2015 and 2019 only 32% of unqualified employees achieved their goals. The reason for this discrepancy? “They often work in sectors where demand is high but where working conditions can be difficult,” note Camille Stephanus and Josiane Véro, research managers in the training and certification department (DFC) of Céreq. Their employers have no interest in encouraging them in their mobility project, because they need them in their position.

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Furthermore, in many shortage professions carried out in very small catering companies, for example, access to information on retraining schemes is less easy for these unqualified employees. Unlike these employees who are prevented from moving, Céreq relates to other categories which are subject to change. Only 34% of unskilled workers aspired to retraining in 2015, but 54% took advantage of one four years later.

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