Didier Chenet, president of the national group of independents in the hotel and restaurant industry (GNI-HPR) pleads for the arrival of young Ultramarines on the metropolitan territory. He believes in a “labour pool” that could alleviate the lack of labor in this sector, which is not the opinion of local actors.
The appeal was launched on June 10 by Didier Chenet, the president of the national group of self-employed in hotels and restaurants (GNI-HPR). The professional organization starts from the observation that young Ultramarines could be integrated by work in France, which would make it possible to fill the shortage of labor in the hotel and restaurant sector. This profession has always been a so-called “short-term” profession, that is to say when the employer struggles to recruit a qualified workforce. According to the latest figures published by the DARES (direction of the animation of research, studies and statistics), in September 2021, there were more than 237,000 employees missing in the hotel and catering trades, all trades confused. According to Didier Chenet, it would be 300,000 people to date.
So why not turn to an outside workforce? During his trip overseas, the vice-president of the GNI-HPR, Laurent Barthélémy, was able to take stock of the situation: “I have noticed that in Mayotte and Guyana, the young population has a strong desire to learn and come to work”he describes. “Integrating them through work would be beneficial, there is indeed fertile ground in all of the Overseas Territories. We are looking for a solution in France and the Overseas Territories are an integral part of it. This is one more answer.”
The hotel and restaurant organization regrets that the overseas territories are forgotten, in particular by the government which is in the process of signing an agreement with Tunisia to facilitate the arrival of young people from the country as seasonal workers. While for the GNI-HPR, the solution lies more in the “labour pool in France” : “Rather than having foreigners, let’s give these young people a chance to get them out of their complicated economic situations and offer them opportunities here. They are all the more eager to be in metropolitan France”, believes Didier Chenet.
Olivier Sudrie, economist specializing in overseas territories, is more nuanced. The economist emphasizes above all the difference between France and the Overseas Territories, where the indicators are not at the same level: “In Overseas, unemployment and inflation are well measured rates, and they are currently worrying. We risk falling into a recession”says the economist.
In addition to the increase in poverty, the high cost of living and the resulting risk of social tension, unemployment is also a problem in Overseas France: “The unemployment rate is on average twice as high as in mainland France. The problem is that employability is low and productivity is low. There is indeed a large labor force, but it is difficult to employ due to low productivity. Just because you have arms doesn’t mean you’re going to use them all, there can be broken arms”summarizes Oliver Sudrie.
Patrick Vial-Collet, President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) of Guadeloupe, but also a major hotel boss on the island, also notes the shortage of labor at his level. “In Martinique and Guadeloupe, it is glaring”, he reveals. As Oliver Sudrie explained, the same problem of lack of skilled labor arises: “I need staff with experience. It’s extremely difficult to find them”says the President of the CCI.
In thirty years of experience in the profession, Patrick Vial-Collet understands the approach of the GNI-HPR. He himself admits to using his techniques to attract metropolitans. “It’s fair game, it’s the market!”. But he intends to fight to keep his “best elements”.
From now on, it is the employees who have the choice, more the employers. The wheel has turned, now it’s up to us, employers, to know how to attract, make them dream and seduce them so that they stay or come to Guadeloupe
The boss of 800 employees remains convinced that it is easier for him to find a metropolitan, “because the pool [de l’emploi, ndlr] is bigger”. “It’s the first time in my life that I’ve been robbed of employees! But he should already get there in the long term”ends Patrick Vial-Collet.
Indeed, easier said than done for the national organization of hotels and restaurants, since for the moment, only tracks are considered: “The problem is the financing of the return trip to the territory” asks Laurent Barthélemy. “There is already a system with the Ministry of Overseas, but it is not developed enough. It remains for us to know where we pass them, how we welcome them beyond the ticket.”
According to the figures of the President of the CCI of Guadeloupe, one billion euros would have been lost in two years in the hotel and restaurant sector, due to the health crisis, but also to the lack of qualified personnel.“For the coming season, there will be a shortage of even 500 jobs in the sector in Guadeloupe”ends Patrick Vial Collet.