Meaning and ethics: This is what generations Y (born in the 1990s) and Z (between 1997 and 2010) demand in their relationship with work. A not inconsiderable proportion of graduates of the Grandes Ecoles – about 30% according to Arthur Gosset, a young engineer from Nantes who is not in school (see his portrait below) – now refuses to pursue a career in unscrupulous companies in terms of the environment, respect for employees or diversity. At the other end of the spectrum, young people with little or no qualifications are primarily looking for a job to support themselves. In fact, it is a mistake to consider “young” as a homogeneous category. For Julie Bene, who in 2019 conducted the study “Young people at work, an ambivalent look that reflects disparities” for INJEP (National Institute of Youth and Popular Education), “We tend to oppose youth to other generations. This approach is too global. The more socially gifted have the most favorable employment situations, full-time indefinite contracts for example, and are more sensitive to what is called the expressive dimension of work: having an interesting job, with responsibilities, useful to society. Young people in difficulty place more emphasis on job security. For them, this expressive dimension clearly goes into the background. “ A common denominator for all these young people, regardless of their professional situation, is the importance of work in their lives. “It is not necessarily true that the value of work has disappeared for them. Moreover, this trend was not born with the Y and Z generations, contrary to what one might think. It already existed for previous generations. There are articles on the subject of questioning the work of young people since the 1980s. says Julie Bene. On the other hand, he is no longer the center of his life, as he could have been for his parents and grandparents. Family, friends, hobbies are also very important. As sociologists Dominique Méda and Patricia Vendramin explain in their book Reinventing work(PUF, 2013), young people lead to “polycentric conception of existence” : their life, their identity, their system of values are organized around various areas (work, family, leisure, etc.) forming a more or less coherent whole.
Telework and Great Resignation
For the young people surveyed in the INJEP study, the conciliation between work and personal life is very important (51%) or important (44%). This is largely due to the fact that it is useful to society in the context of work (29% and 59%) or the level of remuneration (28% and 64%). Since June 2019, the date of publication of this study, a new element has emerged: the health crisis, which has profoundly affected young people aged 18 to 30. Jean-Laurent Cassely, essayist and journalist, wrote in 2017 The revolt of the highest: shitty jobs, meaning-seeking and urban reconversions (Arkhê). Five years and a pandemic later, this search for meaning still exists, according to him, but Covid has reoriented the priorities of young graduates: “Everyone I know says the same thing. When it comes to a job interview, the first questions young applicants ask are, “What are the conditions for telecommuting? What is the level of flexibility in your organization?” Some even get “full remote” (full time remote). For young unskilled workers working in service professions such as catering, e-commerce or health, the “second line”, we are witnessing a wave of resignations. “These young people who were in a hurry before Covid benefited from the technical unemployment that gave them time to think. They began to reconsider their work and their place in society. Some, unmotivated, have not returned to their places. explains Jean-Laurent Cassely. It is not yet the Great American Resignation, which as of July 2020 saw millions of Americans dissatisfied with their jobs or their salaries leaving their jobs. But the movement exists: 1,300 nursing students resigned between 2018 and 2021 according to Health Minister Olivier Véran who visited Blois Hospital (Loir-et-Cher) on October 28, 2021. Hotels and restaurants lost 237,000 employees during the health crisis according to Dares (Directorate of Animation for Research, Studies and Statistics). However, 40% of employees in this sector are under 30, according to Pôle Emploi.
The business of dreams: local and solidarity
Faced with an uncertain future, young people are turning to the state. According to the Crédoc survey, “Living conditions and aspirations January 2020 and January 2021”, 29% would like the public authorities to help them find work, an increase of 8 points for this indicator from 2020. But they expect this from the private sector? This is the theme of the November 2021 study “Youth and Business” conducted by the Jean-Jaurès Foundation, Macif and BVA. First lesson: When we talk about business, the first term used by young people is work (40%), well ahead of salary (12%) or money (14%). For 18/24 year olds, the main function of a company is mainly job creation and hiring people (57%). Next comes its usefulness to society (19%) and providing employees with the means to develop professionally (15%). They are only 11% to mention “anticipating social and environmental transformations.” The “climate generation” represented by Greta Thunberg is still a very small minority. The widespread idea that today’s young people demand a strong commitment from companies on social issues is tempered by the results of this study. Only 29% (but 40% of Bac + 3) believe that the company must make a priority commitment today to the preservation of the environment, 27% against racism and discrimination, 25% against inequalities between women and men and 22% against inequality and poverty. However, these young people have changed a lot since the 80’s, when the goal was to join a large group and make a career out of it. Its ideal company is mainly local (39% and up to 43% in the provinces), it is a start-up (26%) or an ESS (social and solidarity economy company) (25%). The kings of the CAC 40 attract only 13% (but still 22% of Bac +3) of the respondents. Once hired, 18/24 people want the company to show them respect (58%) and trust (45%), well ahead of commitment (17%) or example (9%). Finally, a high proportion (43%, and 54% of those who dream of the CAC 40) first look for a well-paid job, and only then an interesting activity (32%) and time available for their personal life (30%). . Teleworking, popularized during the health crisis, interests 4 out of 10 young people who want to have the opportunity to work from home a few times (42%). At work, young people are both similar to their elders (having a good salary and an interesting job) and different (more values, better work-life balance). As the sociologist Patricia Vendramin points out in issue 86 of the magazine Agora Debates / Youth October 2020, for this young man of 2022, “Work continues to play the role of a great social integrator.”
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Arthur Gosset, the disruptive engineer (Nantes)
Arthur Gosset, 24, an engineer with a degree in environmental engineering from Centrale Nantes, will not work for a multinational company. He is part of this generation for which the concordance between his work and his values is non-negotiable. In 2019 he realizes this The ruptures, a documentary about the change of direction of the students of the Grandes Ecoles in the face of the ecological and social problems of our time. It follows six young people who have chosen to live according to their convictions and that “whatever it costs”. A year earlier, Nicolas Hulot was Minister of Ecological Transition, the climate marches had brought together thousands of young people, 35,000 students willing to boycott companies that are not committed to the planet even if that means earning less had signed a manifesto. “One of my friends decided to do her second year internship in an association instead of a large group. His father stopped talking to him because, for him, it was a failure in his career. I wanted to talk about these options and the breakdowns they can cause. explains Arthur Gosset. Since then, he has organized screenings at major schools, companies and associations to present these six courses to other young people who are wondering about their future. “There is an awareness in the Grandes Ecoles that form the elite to readjust their courses taking into account environmental and social problems” welcomes the young engineer. As for large groups, “Not everyone has necessarily understood that we are looking for useful and sustainable jobs” adds the new documentary filmmaker. For him, there is urgency: according to a study by The Lancet Planetary Health September 2020, 75% of young people aged 16 to 25 are afraid of the future and suffer from ecological anxiety. Between personal values and the fear of disappointing their loved ones, or of being socially degraded, young graduates have a hard time positioning themselves. Arthur Gosset and his partner chose them. They have other documentary projects and will create their own company to reconcile work and beliefs.
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Chloé Coudray, the future cast that wants to share the echo (Paris)
Chloé Coudray, 24, a law and economics graduate, is preparing for the ENA. She is also interested in economics and co-founded the think tank Partageons l’Éco, which aims to popularize the economy in collaboration with the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. Publishes fact sheets, graphics, and economic news articles. “I share the aspirations of today’s young people, but I am not disconnected from the big groups. I think it’s possible to make them evolve from within. “ explains the young woman. For her, these big companies criticized by some are a pole of stability and credibility, in which young people can register their values. “It’s about acting internally to lead them to the same goals of respect for the environment and ethics that today’s youth demand. In housing, some planners recommend rehabilitating rather than destroying and rebuilding from scratch. The same method can be applied in these large companies “ believes the future senior official. But how to reform these great, very hierarchical structures from within? Chloé Coudray believes, after several internships in companies, that young people are now heard: “It simply came to our notice then. I think we can be a source of inspiration that will influence decision makers. “. As a student at the Sorbonne, he rubbed shoulders with rebellious students. “Sometimes unmeasured and unbelievable” according to her, that they are being built against these large groups. Should we expect a schism between graduates who reject any commitment and those who agree to play the game? “The labor market is already polarized between the most qualified and those with fewer qualifications. There will no doubt be a second such division. I hope we can work together not to create an intragenerational rupture. ” concludes the student.
Article by T Revue n ° 9 “Working, is it really reasonable?” – Currently in newsstands and available at kiosque.latribune.fr/t-la-revue