Achieveing work transformation: the work-life reform in France

The Work-Life reform in France: embracing work transformation and flexibility

France is currently at a pivotal juncture in its labor market with the introduction of the "Vie au Travail" (Work-Life) reform, aimed at achieving full employment by 2027. This ambitious goal, however, faces significant challenges, including a growing shortage of skilled workers. According to Pôle emploi's 2023 Labor Needs Survey, employers are grappling with unprecedented difficulties in filling job vacancies, with a recruitment difficulty rate of 61%, up from 57.9% in 2022 (1).

Among the hardest-hit sectors are healthcare, decarbonized mobility, building renovation, logistics, and technology. For instance, in the healthcare sector, many professionals are leaving hospitals in favor of extra hospital settings that offer better working conditions. According to Isabelle Rouhan, "there will be a shortage of 240,000 people by 2024 to care for the elderly at home or in nursing homes'' (2), highlighting the talent shortage. This situation represents a historical record for Pôle emploi, and companies of all sizes are facing recruitment challenges.

This situation underscores the importance of rethinking our approach to work at a time when workers' priorities have evolved significantly. How can employers facilitate recruitment while establishing a flexible organization that promotes better working conditions, professional and personal fulfillment, and enhances their attractiveness in the job market?

Balancing work and personal life

Today's workers have different priorities than those of a few decades ago. They seek a better balance between work and personal life, healthy working conditions, and the opportunity for personal and professional growth. Flexible work arrangements enable companies to meet these changing needs by offering adaptable schedules and work environments conducive to employee well-being.

In a competitive job market, attracting and retaining talent is essential for a company's growth and success. Organizations that offer flexible work options are more likely to attract qualified candidates. Benefits such as telecommuting, flexible hours, and part-time work can make a difference for professionals seeking a work-life balance.

The importance of flexible work organization

Flexible work organization allows for better resource optimization. Companies can adjust work hours based on demand, thus reducing costs associated with unplanned overtime. It also promotes more efficient use of employees' skills, deploying them where they are most needed.

Flexibility in work organization has proven invaluable during times of crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Companies that could quickly implement remote work measures and adapt their operations fared better amidst disruptions. Flexible work organization enables companies to swiftly adapt to unforeseen situations, strengthening their resilience.

Flexible work organization promotes inclusivity and diversity by allowing a broader range of people to participate in the workforce. This includes disabled workers, parents juggling family responsibilities, young talents seeking experience while studying, and many others. A diverse workforce brings varied perspectives, fuels innovation, and enhances corporate culture.

The "Vie au Travail" reform in France is a response to the evolving needs of workers and the growing shortage of skilled workers. To achieve full employment by 2027, it is essential for companies to align with current worker priorities, emphasizing good working conditions and work-life balance. A flexible work organization that takes into account the individual needs of all age groups is strategically important in attracting and retaining the talent necessary for France's economic growth and long-term success.

1. Enquête Besoins en Main-d'Œuvre 2023

2. Les tendances 2023 du recrutement