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Temporary employment levels in France fell by -8.9% during 2012, nearly offsetting the +9.3% growth experienced in 2011, according to the Ministry of Employment. There were 525,000 temporary workers employed in 2012, a fall of 45,725 temporary jobs.
Acknowledged as a precursor to permanent employment trends; temporary jobs fell most significantly in the industrial sector, followed by the services sector, and construction. In 2012, 1.9 million workers signed temporary employment contracts, falling from the 2.1 million in 2011. The average duration of assignment also shrunk in 2012: 1.7 weeks, compared with 1.8 weeks in 2011.
The industrial sector represents the largest contingent of temporary agency workers: 44%. In this sector the number of temporary workers in all job categories declined by -12.1% compared with 2011, with the notable exception of managers (cadres) which grew slightly (+0.2%). Unskilled blue-collar workers (ouvriers non qualifiés) in the industrial sector fell the pinch the most as there number declined by -15.6% in 2012; followed by white-collar workers (employés) and skilled blue-collar workers (ouvriers qualifiés): -10.9% and -10.1%, respectively.
In 2012, temporary agency workers represented 6.8% of the total workforce in the Industrial sector, compared with 7.6% in 2011. Skilled and unskilled blue collar workers accounted for 42% and 43% of all industrial temporary workers. The industrial segment that suffered the most was ‘Manufacturing of transports goods’, which declined by -15.8% in 2012.
The next largest sector according to the number of temporary agency workers was the Services sector (tertiaire), accounting for 35% of temporary workers. This sector recorded a relatively strong decline in 2012 (-7%), especially when compared with the increase reported for 2011 (+3.5%). The fall was particularly acute for the following segments: Finance and insurance (-16.4%) and Information and communication (-12.4%). The proportion of temporary agency workers in the total workforce for the Services sector fell from 1.5% in 2011 to 1.4% in 2012.
Finally, the Construction sector (BTP) accounted for the remaining 21% of temporary agency workers in 2012, and fell moderately by -5% compared with the previous year. This follows a 9.1% increase in 2011. The proportion of temporary agency workers in the Construction sector was higher than in the Industrial and Services sector: 7.6% in 2012, declining from 7.9% in 2011. Blue-collar workers accounted for 93% of temporary agency workers in this sector.