Which industries are most dependent on immigrant workers?

“Today, let’s be clear, do we sincerely think that catering, agricultural work and many other sectors operate without immigration? (…) The answer is no ! »said Emmanuel Macron to Parisianwhile he was questioned about the future immigration bill, which must be presented by the government at the beginning of 2023 and which was the subject of a debate in the National Assembly, Tuesday, December 6.

Immigrant workers are overrepresented in certain sectors of activity. Thus, nearly four out of ten domestic workers (38.8%) are of immigrant originaccording to the Directorate for the Animation of Research, Studies and Statistics (Dares, which depends on the Ministry of Labor), a proportion four times higher than the share of immigrants in the population in France, estimated at 10 .3%.

In the labor force as a whole, the employment rate of immigrants is lower than that of non-immigrants (56.1% versus 65.8%). However, among the 87 families of professional activity (FAP) distinguished by the Dares, more than a third (35) employ a proportion of immigrants above the average.

In addition to domestic workers, immigrants are over-represented in construction, public works, security and hotels and restaurants. Mainly, these are low-skilled jobs or skilled and unskilled workers. But there are also executives and craftsmen in sectors in tension. More anecdotally, the number of immigrants in the category of “political and clerical professionals” is also above average, due to a high proportion of foreign religious.

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An exacerbated phenomenon in Ile-de-France

The importance of immigrant workers in the economy is even clearer in Ile-de-France, where they represent 22.1% of the active population (1.25 million people in 2018), and even up to 37% in the department of Seine-Saint-Denis, according to an INSEE study. This rate is much higher than in other metropolitan regions, where it varies between 4% in Brittany and 11.7% in Corsica.

In the Ile-de-France region, twelve jobs are occupied by more than 39% immigrants, in sectors of activity comparable to the national situation: service jobs, security and construction.

As the INSEE study reminds us, these professions are defined by a “rather low level of qualification, (…) working conditions that are more restrictive than average, with numerous physical efforts, repetitive tasks in the work as well as staggered hours (late, staggered or fragmented). (…) Recruitment tension is a source of challenges that are all the greater since these are, in part, key professions, said to be “essential” for the proper functioning of a territory. Some were even on the “front line” during the health crisis. »

“On average, immigrant workers have fewer qualifications than non-immigrant workers. The most restrictive professions have a greater probability of being occupied by workers with less qualifications”summarizes Mustapha Touahir, head of the study and head of the studies department at Insee Ile-de-France, interviewed by The world.

Occupations in tension and restrictive working conditions

According to the Dares study, two main factors explain the increased presence of immigrants in specific sectors: the arduous nature of the work and the tension on recruitment.. When a profession is “under pressure” (which is defined by Dares as “excess demand for labor”), facilities can be used by employers to make up for the lack of staff by turning to immigrants. A list is established in a decree of April 2021which will be revised “early 2023”, according to the Minister of Labor, Olivier Dussopt.

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers Recruitment tensions, a recurring and multifactorial problem

As for trades with restrictive working conditions, the non-immigrant population is reluctant to [y] work “explain to World Odile Rouhban, in charge of studies in the statistics and studies on immigration unit at INSEE. Of the thirty-five professional families in which immigrants are overrepresented, six are exclusively working-class professions, which combine above-average recruitment constraints and tensions.

Professions reserved for French or EU citizens

Conversely, some professional families have a lower than average rate of immigrant workers. This is the case in the civil service, where incumbent posts are open only to European citizens and where “non-European foreigners can be recruited as contract workers”, says the study. Some public jobs (military, police, etc.) are even reserved for French people only.

By adding private professions governed by specific rules (tobacconist, bailiff), professions requiring a French diploma (doctors, dentists, lawyers) or in public companies (Banque de France, Atomic Energy Commission), the Inequality Observatory calculated in 2019 that more than one in five jobs was inaccessible to non-EU nationals.

Beyond the legal restrictions, the authors of the Dares study also explain the under-representation of immigrant workers by several factors: “practice of the French language, equivalence of diplomas, logic of recruitment, discriminatory behavior of recruiters or the public in the case of contact professions”.

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