Since the end of 2021, France has been facing a historically high number of resignations, even if the resignation rate compared to the employed population is not unprecedented and the situation is not comparable to the “Great resignation” phenomenon observed in the United States. United in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, concludes a study by the Department of Studies of the Ministry of Labor (Dares) published Thursday. In the United States, the surge in resignations since 2021 after the first epidemic waves of COVID-19, thousands of employees voluntarily leaving their posts to change jobs, seek another job or withdraw from the labor force, has been dubbed “Big Quit” (“Big Quit”). But in France, the level of resignations is currently “high without being unprecedented, nor unexpected given the economic context” of post-health crisis recovery, notes Dares in this study. Some observers had mentioned a risk of a “Great resignation” in France given the “historically high” level of resignations since the end of 2021 – nearly 520,000 per quarter, including around 470,000 resignations from permanent contracts (CDI), against around 430,000 per quarter at the end of 2019, before the health crisis. Unheard of since 2008 The previous record was reached in the first quarter of 2008, during the global financial crisis, with 510,000 resignations, including 400,000 for permanent contracts alone, underlines Dares. However, by relating the figures to the French salaried population, the resignation rate in France, at 2.7% in the first quarter of 2022, was certainly at its highest since the financial crisis of 2008-2009, but it remained lower than the level of 2.9% reached at the beginning of 2008. Insofar as the resignation rate is a cyclical indicator – which falls during crises and increases during recovery phases – “in the current context, the rise in the resignation rate appears (…) as normal, in connection with the recovery following the COVID-19 crisis” and simply reflects the dynamism of the labor market in France, concludes the Dares. Not to mention that with recruitment difficulties currently “at unparalleled levels”, the many opportunities for employees already in office could remove some of the brakes on resignation. In this context, “bargaining power changes in favor of employees”, with starting wages likely to increase, or concessions by companies to retain or attract employees, for example “on the conditions or the organization of work (telework) or on the form of employment contracts”, notes the Dares.
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