Monday, May 28, 2007

Do You Want to Work in France? (amv)

According to an article of Nicolas Véron originally published in La Tribune (May 21) and now republished (in English) on Eurointelligence, France offers only "very few great places to work." He refers to a ranking of the Great Place to Work Institute with international reference status. Mr. Véron summarizes the study, where

"France comes off disastrously in this ranking, last of all participating European countries with only four companies in the top 100 (actually a top 119, as some groups appear several times with different national subsidiaries). Per unit of GDP, Denmark has 60 times more companies in the ranking than us, Germany has almost four times more, Britain three times more, Spain twice as many. To complete the picture, the only French companies in the top 119 are the French subsidiaries of Bain, Morgan Stanley, PepsiCo, and WL Gore (of Gore-Tex fame). In the additional ranking of companies in France, next come American Express, General Electric CFS, Ferrero (an Italian chocolate-maker), Microsoft, Federal Express, Mc Donald’s and SC Johnson. In short, of the best places to work in France the top 11 are of foreign origin, of which 10 are American (Leroy Merlin, a French do-it-yourself retailer, is twelfth)."
Véron's explanantion for this disastrous result sounds quite reasonable:

"So, let’s face it: great workplaces are fewer in France than elsewhere. There are many possible causes, including a hierarchical management model inherited from the ancien régime and Bonapartism, corporate paternalism, confrontational unions, rigidities created by the planned economy and nationalizations of the post-war period, and a long legacy of family and state corporatism. But while the exact cause may elude analysis, it is more important to step up awareness of the problem itself. Contrary to received wisdom, France’s weaknesses are not all directly linked to a dysfunctional state. Outside the public sector, industrial relations are putting it at a disadvantage in the global competition for talent. As the ranking shows, this weakness is partly offset by US companies that use their comparative advantage in creating better workplace environment. But even the high level of US investment in France cannot by itself guarantee lasting growth."