Most companies, in most countries, use unexperienced workforce, basically the way a forest grows, adapts and stays strong from new seeds and small trees. Some businesses do so, because it’s cheaper, or because they have to, like when the rookie is a boss’s child, when the law says you must hire young and labour, or where male chauvinistic executives like when a lovely female youngster goes to the coffee machine and/or xerox room for them. But the French have Frenchonomics (and “Grandes Ecoles”, and the French, and lots of other specifics …). They do it (whatever it may be) their own, quite different, French way. And they love ‘Trainees”.
First, one must remember, that most French students waste their school time twitting and/or studying useless things, because as high school and university are basically free, nobody cares about what is taught, or not, and what is learnt, or not, provided young people take and pass some exams sometimes. Therefore, their only chance to learn some things that have a chance to be useful at some later stage of their working life (if any, but this is another chapter) is by spending some time within professional organizations.
Second, one must recognize, the French are sometimes very clever. Knowing their schooling system is insane, they have created all kinds of legal obligations to hire young people at bargain prices, and tax loopholes (which is vital in France, but this is in another chapter) for companies using trainees for coffee, xerox, or whatever works nobody wants to do in the organization, be it a real company, a charity, or an administrative whatever they may have in France.
Third, one must admit, the young French are clever enough to try and survive in a hostile environment. Most of those who can’t get a diploma from one of those French graduate schools whereby you can become a civil servant forever with special benefits for retirement and no obligation whatsoever to either really work, or somehow succeed in what you do, to get promoted (which is specific to France, some family businesses and a few surviving communist paradises), try to get summer jobs (in French : “stage”) or other kinds of semi-real work with really semi-wages.
Last, but not least, as there are fewer and fewer real jobs in France, as companies are less and less profitable (unless they are either B to G, or less and less French, but this is another chapter), and as people between 30 and 80 stick to their seats as if they could die, lose their pension, or worse, no longer be entitled to free lunches with “café gourmand” and company cars with leather seats in case they leave their office to go to the coffee machine or try to change jobs, nobody moves, like in duels in cow-boy movies, and young people between 20 and 50 have no choice but be trainees unless they can get unemployment benefits or escape to another country.
The result is, not surprisingly, that most French companies, and most other French more or less public bodies and administrations involved in the global, economic war, consist basically of trainees, and a few graduates, most of whom have never really worked either.
Some French trainees make it to the top of some French business, just before standard retirement age, without ever having had a real working experience before (but not all, fortunately enough), but they do the job.
Most don’t make it to the real top, not even the top (or the bottom, for that matter) of normal enterprises, but some manage to reach French standard retirement age without having really worked at all, but with all kinds of fringe and retirement benefits.
Some trainees have a good, cool job, and they do it with a smile.
Some try and do a very, very hard job, under heavy pressure, and smile as they can, their own, different way.
But most long term trainees are just … long term trainees, which may at least partly explain why many French companies have experienced some difficulties (in French “sont à la traîne, voire à la ramasse”, compared to their German, Asian or American competitors to mention only a few, in France and the rest of the world.
The good news, for investors in Paris, or elsewhere in France, is that they still can hire real, experienced, English speaking, high flyers, provided they are ready to pay the price (and fringes, and taxes, and housing, and fooding).
Otherwise, French trainees between 20 and 80 can try and do the job(s), but most have little experience with foreign languages, are not used to hard … training, and have seldom practiced normal competition with money involved …
In spite of all, 2013 is worth it : http://bonneannee2013.wordpress.com/
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