How can the state fight unemployment? Jobs for the future, a recipe that has not been proven

The subsidized employment policy has shown its ineffectiveness in the past to reintegrate young people in the labor market on a long-term basis

Are subsidized jobs the panacea for fighting youth unemployment? This seems to be the conviction of the Ayrault government, which proposes as a flagship measure the creation of 150,000 jobs for the future by 2014 for low-educated young people from disadvantaged neighborhoods.

Essentially subsidized jobs in the public and semi-public sector, with state aid representing 75% of the SICM (35% in the commercial sector). In many respects, however, this measure seems ridiculous in the face of the huge waste of unemployment that affects nearly one-quarter of young people aged 15 to 24. Worse, this is an old recipe that has proven inefficient in the past to reintegrate young people in the labor market in a sustainable way.

The candidate Hollande had yet put at the heart of his presidential campaign this youth without a diploma and without a job. Each year, 120,000 young people leave without graduating from the school system, with, for the only horizon, that of precariousness.

Unskilled youth make up the bulk of the unemployed’s battalion: their unemployment rate is up to 16 points higher than the average youth unemployment rate. When they are not unemployed, they go on acting and fixed-term contracts without ever being able to stabilize on the job market.


Excluded from the labor market, without political representation, they are also deprived of most of the social protection.

This measure reveals the blindness of the public authorities to the failures of past policies and their lack of evaluation of public policies. For more than three decades, French youth have unemployment rates above the European average. And that the rulers of all sides use the same inefficient recipes.

After the works of collective utility, contract employment-solidarity, contract of future, contract of accompaniment in the employment … here are now the jobs of the future.

All the evaluations, however, show that these jobs do not offer a future. This is the conclusion of John Martin, director of the employment division of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, in a summary of employment policies in France and abroad: subsidized jobs in the sector non-market do not allow young beneficiaries to enter the labor market in a sustainable way.

Worse, beneficiaries of some subsidized programs may have fewer chances of stable integration into the labor market than in the absence of supported jobs. This same failure has already been made by institutions as diverse as the Directorate of Research, Studies, and Statistics or the Court of Auditors.


The reasons for this failure are numerous: the qualifications acquired are weak and do not correspond to the expectations of the labor market, young people stop their active search for employment or ambitious training, and the voluntary or public sector does not keep the news. recruits that grant time. It could even be that these jobs have a stigmatizing effect, with companies fearing that young people with this type of program will have more difficulty than others.

What could be an ambitious program for this youth? In the very short term, the most effective levers of action are the reduction of the burden on young people at the level of the mic, a reinforced support in the search for employment, and a regular training for the dropouts.

Despite the perverse effects on wage restraint, zero-charge schemes help to preserve the jobs held by young people whose skills and productivity are insufficient compared to the SMIC. Assisted jobs can complement, but only if they are concentrated in the market sector where they offer training in line with the expectations of companies.

Accompaniment and intensive training of unskilled unemployed youth is the second most important lever. This is Denmark’s lesson that has successfully eradicated youth unemployment. All young Danes, who are unqualified and unemployed for three months, must undergo a qualifying training of a year and a half, in return for access to unemployment benefits.


In addition, information on all young dropouts is centralized so that they can be looked after as quickly as possible. France is very far from such a support service: only one in ten unemployed young people have at least one interview per month to accompany them in their job search.

Naturally, in the medium term, we can not be satisfied with dealing with the consequences without tackling the causes of the lack of qualification of young people. Foreign experiences show that one of the keys to dropping out of school is the lack of social skills (self-esteem, autonomy, ability to dialogue with others …).

These social skills, or non-cognitive skills, explain even more the insertion on the labor market than the academic skills of young people who grew up in disadvantaged areas, as shown by many experiences in the United States or Quebec. Developing self-confidence among young people from an early age is a contract of trust, a contract for the future!