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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Retraites : pourquoi les cadres en ont-ils marre ?

by Anna Musso

Retirement: Why Are Executives Fed Up?

Translated Thursday 28 October 2010, by Gene Zbikowski and reviewed by Gene Zbikowski

Business executives have been joining the protests against the retirement reform and may develop into a new social force alongside other job categories, according to this Sept. 24 article.

Many of them join the demonstrations in the street to protest with other workers against the retirement reform. Their position in the company and their working conditions have worsened considerably, so executives have been rebelling. Are they developing into a new force alongside other job categories?

Executives are fed up with being considered as just transmission belts, the executors of financial strategies. They are worn down attempting to meet often impossible objectives to satisfy shareholders. Today, executives are also suffering on the job. So when they are told they are going to have to work longer in these conditions, they say “no!”

They are worried. According to a Viavoice-HEC-le Figaro Économie-France Inter-France 24 poll, 72% are worried and 25% are “very worried.” Indeed, their position in the company does not prevent them from having the same questions as most French people. Some began working very early and their rate of replacement is falling.

They are also demanding the right to use all their skills and to valorize their expertise. They do not want to be simple managers pursuing “value” in the sense of short-term profitability.

Management, stress, hard work, and even suffering on the job are the evils that are mentioned repeatedly like a leitmotiv at many companies and government administrations. Subjected to company strategies which they support less and less, they must often endure pressure and psychological suffering, which can end in tragedy, as was seen at France Télécom and at the Renault techno-center.

And among college graduates and young executives, the level of worry is just as high (69% of those aged 18-39 say they are worried, according to the same poll). Because they enter the world of work later and later, due to the decline in permanent full-time jobs and the general increase in the required skills level, they are, moreover, less well paid than their predecessors for the same level of responsibility.

To all this must be added the decline in job offers. According to the JDD-Cadremploi.fr scale published on September 19, executive job offers only grew by 3% in September, the smallest increase in nine months! Just as a different retirement reform is possible, a top priority for companies needs to be the invention of new modes of management.

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