After two and a half years of pandemic, confinements and epidemic rebounds, would there finally exist a “world after” the Covid? Professionally, it would seem so. In a note published by the Jean-Jaurès Foundation, in partnership with L’Express, the director of Corporate Expertise and Work-Experience of Ifop Romain Bendavid thus returns to the “non-standard” transformations which cross the professional world. since the Covid crisis. And his conclusion is without appeal. “These changes have profoundly changed our way of looking at life at work,” he says. The figures speak for themselves: while in 1990, 60% of French people considered the place of their profession in their daily lives to be “very important”, only 24% define it as such thirty years later.
“Work has lost this central place in our lives: it is no longer considered the alpha and omega of our personal achievement, and no longer determines our inclusion in society or our hope for social ascent as much”, analyzes the researcher. According to the annual survey conducted by Ifop among French employees, only 13% of those questioned in 2021 cite, for example, the term “pride” to express their feelings when they think about their work. To describe their relationship to their profession, respondents prefer to use the notions of “safety” (27%), “routine” (27%), or, to a lesser extent, “pleasure” (17%). But contrary to what is observed in the United States, Romain Bendavid wishes to emphasize that this new relationship to work does not lead to the phenomenon of “great resignation” in France. “The idea is not to say that we are bad at our job to the point of leaving it, but simply that it has become one value among others.”
On the other hand, this disinterest of the French for their profession would have real consequences on their life in business. Still according to the Ifop survey on the social climate in 2021, 35% of employees thus cite “taking into account the well-being of employees” first in the list of their expectations with regard to employers. Next come the notions of “meaning” given to one’s work (12%), “good reputation” (11%), “identity and strong values” (11%), or even “ability to innovate” ( 7%). For respondents, the two criteria most likely to promote professional fulfillment are having “a good balance between professional and personal life” (38%), and “the feeling of doing useful work ” (22%).
And if these employee expectations already existed long before the Covid, Romain Bendavid points to a major difference since the pandemic. “Corporate decision-makers have aligned themselves with these values, and have taken up the issue of well-being at work.” Questioned by Ifop for Back Office Santé in February 2022, 47% of HR decision-makers now consider that the most important dimensions for sustaining the quality of life at work are “a good balance between personal life and professional life”, while 43 % point to “the quality of human relations”.
Results ? “The world of work is reinventing itself. The company is becoming a place of consumption like any other, in which the notions of employer reputation, telework or flexibility take up a lot of space”, analyzes the researcher. In a logic of short-term investment in their professional life, the employees envisage, for their part, much more mobility in the next five years. No less than 40% of them believe, for example, that they will work in a different position by 2027, 35% in another company, and 28% see themselves working in another sector of activity. Finally, 12% even go so far as to consider leaving their employment to adopt a self-employed status. “The barriers that existed in the face of the desire for freedom and change have jumped, summarizes Romain Bendavid. It’s the end of a cycle, and I don’t think we can go back.”