PEOPLE INTO THE
I - A PACKAGE OF MEASURES THAT STRUGGLES TO OFFSET THE DIFFICULTIES OF
INTEGRATING YOUNG PEOPLE
A - Facing a wide variety of situations, numerous schemes and multiple actors
B - A recently reformed public policy
C - A still unfavourable situation for young people, and integration measures with modest results
II - FOUR CHALLENGES FOR MORE EFFECTIVE ACTION
Systematise and deepen the approach towards to “hardest
reach” vulnerable groups
B - Better targeted measures
C - Ensuring the quality of 'intensive' pathways content
D - Strengthen cooperation between actors
REFERENCES TO REPORTS OF THE COURT OF ACCOUNTS AND OF THE REGIONAL
CHAMBERS OF ACCOUNTS
This policy paper is part of a series of work intended to present, on several major public
policies, the main challenges facing public decision-makers over the next few years and the
levers that could be used to meet them. This series of publications, running from October to
December 2021, follows on from the report submitted to the President of the Republic in June
A public finance strategy to exiting from the crisis
. The aim of these publications is to
develop, on a number of key structural issues, findings resulting from previous works by the
Court as well as avenues for action consolidating long-term growth, while strengthening the
equity, effectiveness, and efficiency of public policies.
The Court, in accordance with its constitutional mission of informing citizens, wished to
develop a new approach, one that is different from its usual work, and thus contribute, through
this series of deliberately concise and targeted documents, to the public debate, while taking
care to leave open various possible avenues for reform.
This paper was deliberated by the 5th chamber and approved by the Court of Accounts'
Publication and Planning Committee.
Publications of the Court of Accounts are accessible online on the website of the Court
and the regional and territorial chambers of accounts:
Despite numerous measures resulting from successive reforms, the integration of young
people into the labour market remains difficult in our country, and their pathway to employment
unsure and rocky. The recent emphasis on more intensive support for young job seekers and
apprenticeships, rather than subsidised jobs, has not led to a decisive improvement in their
situation. In particular, the results of employment support schemes aimed at young people
To improve this performance, four challenges have been identified by the Court. Firstly,
it is a matter of better guiding young people towards the schemes adapted to their needs. It is
then necessary to guarantee the quality and intensity of each of the phases of the support
pathways offered to them, and therefore to ensure the performance of the actors implementing
them. It is also necessary to extend the capacity of the public employment service to reach out
to all young people who need it, even those who do not spontaneously come forward. Finally,
in order to achieve the objective of a 'seamless' pathway, the various actors involved in
supporting a young person into employment still need to make progress in terms of
In view of this finding and in the context of the government announcement of an
'employment commitment agreement' implementation, establishing guidance towards an offer
of intensive support for the young people, accompanied by the payment of an allowance, the
Court develops several opportunities for progress. Improved targeting of schemes means
assessing the situation of each young person in an objective and shared manner, and clearly
defining the target of each scheme, reserving the most expensive schemes for hardest-to-
reach most vulnerable young people. Guaranteeing the quality of the support offered means
tightening up the specifications of the schemes and taking better account of performance in
the funding granted. Finally, for improved coordination of actors, the Court identifies two
possible courses of action, which may bring about institutional reforms: simplifying the pathway
for young people and redistributing competences in terms of training
jobseekers under 25 in mainland France in the 3
quarter of 2021
registered with the Employment Centre in categories A, B and C (i.e., whether or not
in employment and required to look for work); an unemployment rate for young
15 to 24
in the 2
quarter of 2021, slightly better
than before the health crisis (20% in the last quarter of 2019);
young people leave the education system each year,
nearly 10% of whom leaving without any qualifications
Excluding exceptional measures, budget appropriations for the integration of young
people into employment amount to around
While youth employment has returned to its pre-crisis level, the situation of young people
remains a concern, both in comparison with older generations and in terms of the results
compared to other countries. The situation of young people in the labour market is, in most
countries, more difficult than that of their elders. In France, young workers are 2.5 times more
likely to be unemployed than the general working population, whereas this ratio is less than 2
in Germany and the Netherlands, where the unemployment rate is also lower. Young people
are more likely than the rest of the population to work under temporary or short-term contracts.
Over the past decade, the number of jobseekers under the age of 25 available for work has
varied between 700,000 and 800,000 per year in France. The employment of young people is
therefore an ongoing concern for the public authorities, which have gradually been
implementing a range of specific measures, from training to subsidised contracts, including
specific schemes to help them find employment.
In 2016, the Court published a report on youth employment schemes, which highlighted
significant weaknesses. The Court then pointed out the structural weakness of certain
integration actors, and showed that the measures implemented were both too numerous and
poorly coordinated. Their effectiveness appeared problematic, despite a cost then estimated
at €10.5 billion per year.
During implementation of the '#1jeune1solution' plan in response to the health crisis, the
Court carried out further work leading to re-examine the structural limits of this public policy, at
a time when the issue of integrating young people into employment, and more generally their
integration into society in all its aspects (housing, income, health, citizenship), seems to pit the
interests of the younger generations against those of their elders more than ever.
This report does not aim to cover all the issues associated with integration of young
people into the labour market, nor to settle the question of the conditions under which young
people could more systematically receive a benefit, but to examine the conditions for more
effective and efficient support towards employment.
I - A PACKAGE OF MEASURES THAT STRUGGLES TO
OFFSET THE DIFFICULTIES OF INTEGRATING YOUNG
A - Facing a wide variety of situations, numerous schemes and multiple actors
Youth employment policy in France is implemented primarily by the Employment Centre
and at local level by the ‘missions locales’ unde
r the aegis of the Ministry of Labour (at a
national level, the Delegation General for Employment and Vocational Training (DGEFP) and
in the regions the Regional Directorates for the Economy, Employment, Labour and Solidarity
(DREETS)). The Employment Cent
re (‘Pôle Emploi’) provides professional support for
registered jobseekers, regardless of their age, and the 450 or so ‘missions locales’ contribute
for social integration of young people and their integration into the labour market providing
support for young people under 26, if they encounter difficulties other than professional ones
when entering the labour market. These organisations, chaired by local elected officials, aim
to offer each young person the pathway to employment that is best suited to them, by
combining actions to activate them, to help put together a career plan, to offer guidance
towards training and to support the job search. They also promote access to autonomy and
provide solutions to young people’s mobility, housing and health problem
January 2017, young people encountering difficulties entering employment
have been monitored by ‘missions locales’ as part of the 'contractualised pathway to
employment and autonomy' (PACEA), the content of which varies according to the needs of
the young person - and which may occasionally lead to remuneration - or the youth guarantee
scheme, which is the supposedly most intensive form of support. The youth guarantee scheme,
tested from 2014 and rolled out in 2017, is based on a collective activation approach in the first
few weeks, followed by individual support and periods of work experience with partner
companies. It is combined with an allowance of a maximum monthly amount currently set at
€497.50 for a period of up to twelve months, in ret
urn for the commitment required from the
young person in terms of attendance at preparatory or support workshops, or participation in
work experience. This allowance is intended to enable the young person to resolve certain
social difficulties in accessing employment, to experience financial autonomy and to invest in
a career plan. On the basis of initial favourable evaluations, the youth guarantee scheme
quickly became the main response by public authorities to the issue of young people having
difficulty finding work.
The Employment Centre and the ‘missions locales’ are therefore acting as the
'assemblers' of young people's integration pathways, providing them directly with a service that
improves their ability to take up a job - through counselling, training and internal workshops -
and directing them to other actors, if necessary (training organisations, associations and
companies taking trainees, people in integration programmes or young people on civic service,
employers using subsidised contracts, etc.). The more difficulties young people experience in
accessing the labour market, the longer and more complex these pathways become. In
addition, actions to identify and activate the hardest-to-reach vulnerable groups, i.e., young
people unknown to the public employment service actors, are being trialled as part of the skills
investment plan launched in 2018.
The regions, on their part, draw up catalogues of collective training courses and provide
funding for all jobseekers, including young people. What are known as 'second chance'
schemes, supported with public funds, offer specific support to the least qualified young
people: 'second chance schools' offer a programme of activation and help in building a career
pathway; the public establishment for integration into employment (ÉPIDE) offers a similar
service, including housing. Subsidised associations assisting people in difficulty and providing
basic skills training, assistance with administrative procedures and accommodation, also
include young people.
Finally, public authorities can use various schemes to reduce the cost of work for young
people, such as recruitment bonuses, 'free jobs' aimed at people living in priority urban districts,
subsidised contracts in private or public sectors or job subsidies paid to companies and
associations involved in integration through economic activity (IAE). These schemes aim to
help young people discover the world of work and gain initial work experience. This multiple
offer, the conditions of which usually vary depending on young people's difficulties in accessing
employment, has seen its targets for the number of beneficiaries raised in response to the
health crisis (see diagram below).
Schéma n° 1 : specific actors and schemes for the integration of young people into
Source: Court of Accounts, according to data from the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Integration
So, depending on their needs, each young person can, in principle, benefit from a
pathway to employment that is adapted to them. Although the multiplicity of schemes may
contribute to this, the multiplicity of actors is potentially a disadvantage that can only be
overcome if these actors -
in particular, the Employment Centre and ‘missions locales’
cooperate effectively, exchange the necessary information and have shared references as
regards target audience of each of these schemes.
B - A recently reformed public policy
In general, the reforms implemented since 2016 in relation to the integration of young
people into employment have led to refocusing on vocational training and on reinforced
In the area of subsidised jobs (excluding apprenticeships), the number of beneficiaries
had been greatly reduced before the crisis in order to refocus the scheme on those
experiencing the most difficulty in accessing employment. Thus, from nearly 110,000
subsidised jobs for young people in 2016, this number has fallen to around 17,500 in 2019.
This decrease is largely due to the abolition of 'jobs for the future’ programme decided in 2017,
in favour of a more proactive development of apprenticeships.
The Law of 5 September 2018 on the freedom to choose one's working future changed
the landscape of apprenticeship, with the ambition of further developing apprenticeship and
increasing the total number of apprentices in training centres; apprenticeship entries increased
by over 40% in 2020.
With regard to training offer for young jobseekers, the period was marked by the
transition from the logic of successive plans not specifically targeting young people, to that of
the Skills Investment Plan (PIC), which, on the contrary, explicitly targets them, with the aim,
among other things, of training one million young people without qualifications over the period
Finally, the so-called intensive support schemes for young people, particularly those
experiencing the greatest difficulty in accessing employment, were rolled out over the period
2016-2019. This designation covers not only the youth guarantee scheme managed by
‘missions locales’, but also
the 'intensive support for young people' (AIJ) scheme, by the
Employment Centre, which provides for closer monitoring by specialist advisers.
In addition, implementation of the '#1jeune1solution' plan, in response to the health crisis,
including various measures in favour of integrating young people, has made it possible to
improve the coordination of actors and schemes. Under the aegis of the Government, the two
networks (the Employment Centre and ‘missions locales’) were brought together within the
plan’s steering bodies, cond
ucive to their cooperation at various levels. This rapprochement
has enabled them to set a common objective in each territory and to mobilise these actors
around concrete projects. Furthermore, the plan has reduced competition between some
schemes. For example, raising the allowance paid to vocational training trainees to the level
of the youth guarantee scheme allowance has made it more attractive to orient young people
towards training. Lastly, situations in which counselling can give entitlement to an allowance
has been increased (particularly in the context of the Employment Centre AIJ), again
eliminating a source of bias in the referral of young people to the various solutions.
C - A still unfavourable situation for young people, and integration measures
with modest results
Despite the reforms and the improved performance in terms of jobs for young people,
the unemployment rate among young people remained higher than for the rest of the
population during the period 2016-2019, with the proportion remaining almost unchanged. The
health crisis and the measures taken to deal with it have not improved this situation. The Court,
in its report
A Public Finance Strategy to Exiting from the Crisis
of June 2021, pointed out that
the health crisis and its consequences have particularly affected young people. And it also
indicated that our training system, not efficient enough, leads to a too low skills level not
facilitating integration into the labour market of young people experiencing difficulties in
accessing work and this damages the competitiveness of the economy. It is then crucial to
improve guidance of young people in employment and training towards sectors and
occupations high in demand for labour and added value in the coming years, such as those
created by the ecological transition and the digital revolution.
During the same period, the employment situation in comparable countries improved at
the same rate as in France. An intermediate position was maintained by France between
countries in southern Europe, where youth unemployment is high, and countries in northern
Europe, where it is low. Despite the resources committed and the succession of schemes, this
situation raises questions about the effectiveness of these schemes.
Graph n°1: youth unemployment rates over the period 2015-2020 in different EU
The results are quite tenuous, whether in terms of employment outcomes for all
beneficiaries or comparing the situation of a cohort of young people having taken part in one
or other of these schemes with another cohort that has not.
Looking at the main schemes, according to a study by the Ministry of Labour, the
employment rate one month after leaving the youth guarantee scheme fell year-on-year
between 2015 and 2019, from 28.7% in 2015 to 23.9% in 2019, while the employment situation
has improved in the meantime and the profile of beneficiaries has not changed.
According to data collected by the Court of Accounts on a significant sample of young
people who left the AIJ scheme, managed by the Employment Centre, between the beginning
of 2018 and March 2020, the exit rate into employment one month after leaving this scheme
was 46%. Although higher than the rate seen for the PACEA and the youth guarantee scheme,
this can be explained in part by the fact that this is a group experiencing less difficulty in
Measuring the 'added value' of participating in one of these programmes on a young
person’s integration into employment better represents the performance of the schemes.
According to a study by the Directorate of Research, Economic Studies and Statistics (DARES)
carried out on the first cohorts of beneficiaries of the youth guarantee scheme, entering the
scheme in 2014, the effect on the employment rate of beneficiaries is +9.9 percentage points
11 months after entering the scheme and +11.4 points 22 months later. However, this
performance was achieved in the pilot territories, suitably equipped and set up for this scheme;
it has not been measured since it has been rolled out.
With regard to the AIJ, in 2017, in comparison to a comparable control population, young
people receiving intensive counselling support were more often in employment eight months
after entering the scheme (+10 points).
And lastly, with regard to subsidised contracts, the last large-scale scheme targeted at
young people, the 'jobs for the future’ scheme, had even poorer results in terms of improving
access to employment: the probability of beneficiaries being in employment three years after
entering the scheme was two points higher than the probability they would have been in
employment without having benefited from the scheme, and eight points higher four years
later. It is still too early to analyse the effect on youth employment of the ‘jobs and skills
pathways’ programme, a scheme which replaced subsidised contracts in the non
and which, before the crisis, was not specifically aimed at them.
II - FOUR CHALLENGES FOR MORE EFFECTIVE ACTION
Policies to integrate young people into employment cannot correct the shortcomings of
higher education, nor the tacit social choices that lead to de facto priority being given to more
experienced employees. However, their main challenge must be to offer young people quality
pathways to employment that are adapted to their needs. To achieve this, there are four
challenges. The first is to reach out to the ‘hardest
reach’ vulnerable groups of young people
who are not in contact with the institutions supposed to provide them with a solution. The
second is to succeed in guiding each young person towards the appropriate scheme(s),
meaning managing to assess the requirement then build a pathway that may include various
stages. The third is to ensure the quality of the counselling support offered at each of these
stages. Finally, the fourth challenge is to ensure that actors involved in the implementation of
such a pathway to employment manage to coordinate their actions so that young people do
not experience a break in their support.
These main challenges can be summarised as follows:
Schéma n° 2 : The challenges of the public employment service for young people
Source: Court of Accounts
A - Systematise and deepen the approach towards
As the Court emphasised in its June 2021 report,
A Public Finance Strategy to exiting
from the Crisis
, it is essential to increase, over time, the effectiveness of measures to help
young people who have dropped out of education or training to find employment. The acronym
(Not in Education, Employment or Training
) refers to young people who have left the
school system and are neither in employment nor in training, i.e., approximately 13% of 16-25
year-olds and 28% of 16-25-year-olds. In this group, it is difficult to estimate the proportion of
reach’ young people, unknown to the public employment service.
However, according to recent work by the Inter-ministerial Directorate for Public
Transformation, 37% of
in 2018 had no contact with the public employment
service or any other integration organism. In addition, between 150,000 and 220,000 young
people in precarious situation are 'without a solution' in the existing system. The usual
approaches are not adapted to these young people in great difficulty, in particular because
they find it hard to adjust to a programme, to follow rules consistently, but also because of their
reticence vis-a-vis the institutions: the PACEA, the youth guarantee scheme and registration
at the Employment Centre represent too many constraints for them. It seems necessary to
take an active approach to these young people to get them into counselling and integration
This issue is beginning to be taken into account. Within the framework of the PIC, a first
call for projects in favour of 'identifying the hardes-to-
reach', with a budget of €60 million, has
funded 237 projects. The Ministry of Labour has made this one of its priorities and promoting
it with ‘missions locales’. Some local authorities
are implementing special outreach activities,
with the suppo
rt of ‘missions locales’, NGOs and associations based in the neighbourhoods
where these young people live. In addition, a major effort to reach out to those who have
dropped out of school, as part of these 'hardest-to-reach' young people, has been made for
some years, and the Court has already highlighted its successes and limitations in a report
published in January 2016.
However, investment in the 'hardest-to-reach' vulnerable groups varies greatly from one
area to another. A preliminary assessment has been made of the call for projects launched in
2019, but it is essentially quantitative and descriptive. It does not allow conclusions to be drawn
on the success factors of the various initiatives, nor on the possibility of replicating them in
other territories. A qualitative evaluation of the experiments already carried out should
therefore be conducted. Following on from that, a roll-out of the most effective actions would
be encouraged in favour of the public experiencing the greatest difficulty in accessing
employment, which is currently the public receiving the least amount of support.
B - Better targeted measures
Three key measures for integration into employment are currently insufficiently targeted
at the young people who are most likely to benefit from them: apprenticeships, intensive
counselling support measures (youth guarantee and AIJ) and subsidised contracts.
As the Court pointed out in its report in June 2021,
A Public Finance Strategy to Exiting
from the Crisis
, there has been a proliferation of apprenticeship support schemes. However,
the policy of encouraging the development of apprenticeships was implemented
indiscriminately during the health crisis: the exceptional recruitment bonus of between €5,000
and €8,000 depending on the age of the appre
ntice, which was extended until 30 June 2022,
was allocated without any consideration of the level of qualifications. Thus, the development
of apprenticeships, with number of new apprentices rising from 289,000 in 2016 to 368,000 in
2019 and 525,600 in 2020, took place at the expense of an expansion towards higher
qualification levels. The proportion of young people with Bac+2 qualifications [secondary
education plus two years of college] and above actually rose from 35% in 2016 to 56% in 2020.
Most of the new places created have benefited students able to complete a long cursus,
offering little benefit to vulnerable groups. While this choice may be justified in order to develop
apprenticeship in our country, it only marginally improves integration into the labour market of
the most qualified young people, which is already good.
Furthermore, the profile of young people in intensive counselling support does not really
differ from that of young people in other schemes. Therefore, the criteria that determine the
difficulty of access to employment (qualifications, long-term unemployment, living in a
neighbourhood that is a priority for urban policy) differ only marginally for the PACEA or youth
guarantee groups, as do the results in terms of integration into employment. The choice of
referral to the youth guarantee programme is often mainly guided by the young person's
motivation and financial difficulties, rather than by the objective extent of the difficulties they
face. The Employment Centre 'intensive youth support' (AIJ) scheme is not geared towards
those experiencing the greatest difficulty in accessing the labour market either. These results
seen in 2019 were unchanged in 2020 in the context of the crisis and the increase in the
number of young people supported.
Lastly, with regard to subsidised contracts, fewer than half of the young people on
'employment and skills courses' did not have their baccalaureate (48%) in 2020. Even if the
baccalaureate is not enough to ensure better access to employment, this proportion remains
This lack of targeting of young people can also be explained by the persistent absence
of precise and shared criteria for assessing the relevance of the guidance offered by the
Employment Centre and advisers in ‘missions locales’, particularly towards intensive schemes,
with insufficient demarcation of the boundaries between the two networks. However, profiling
has become a standard procedure for employment services in many Organisation for
Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, including the Nordic countries,
in order to provide the most appropriate scheme and to identify social difficulties (health,
housing, mobility, etc.). It also helps to proportion the funding allocated to support actors,
according to the actual progress made by beneficiaries on their pathway to employment.
In order to improve the targeting of schemes and to offer each young person the
appropriate scheme, several approaches can be taken.
A first approach is to improve assessment tools. Broader formalisation would benefit
from being put in place, without turning the allocation of young people to schemes into an
algorithm. These tools could be better shared between ‘missions locales’ and the Employment
Centre, in order to ensure a consistent approach between the two networks. Furthermore, by
continuing to harmonise the benefit system for sufficiently intensive schemes, it will be possible
to combat the bias against referral to solutions that currently offer lower allowance.
In order to ensure that guidance towards training is sufficiently taken into account by
‘missions locales’, the experiment carried out during the ‘#1jeune1solution’ plan consisting of
setting quantified targets in this area, could be continued, provided that these targets match
the actual profiles of young people in each territory concerned.
Secondly, given the cost of intensive pathways, these could be aimed more at young
people experiencing the greatest difficulty in accessing employment, since today, they often
favour young people whose plans have reached a certain level of maturity or who are able to
promptly access the labour market.
Finally, in order to ensure that the needs of young people are matched with the schemes
offered to them, it might be possible to also offer the benefit of intensive counselling support
to young people on low incomes, for whom it is a suitable solution, even if it means adjusting
the allowance paid accordingly. The recent announcements concerning the future
'employment commitment agreement' seem to be heading in this direction.
C - Ensuring the quality of 'intensive' pathways content
The public employment service offers support to every young person (basic counselling
support at the Employment Centre; the PACEA in
) but the difficulty lies
above all in the ability to provide this support in intensive mode when necessary.
This issue is especially important because it overlaps, in our country, with the question
of the standard of living of young people and their livelihoods. Many countries provide a benefit
for young people as a matter of principle, with varying degrees of obligation in return. Broadly
speaking, in these models, a young person is entitled to an allowance, in return for which they
make various commitments, unlike France, which has chosen instead to establish entitlement
to counselling support and to combine this with an allowance, paid under certain conditions,
as soon as this support is sufficiently intensive.
However, the objective of providing a quality pathway for every young person is not easy
to achieve. On the one hand, the network of
, with its uneven performance,
is not currently able to guarantee the intensity of the support offered. On the other hand, the
quality of the pathways does not only depend on the operators, but also on the local
employment ecosystem and economic momentum, especially when the offer of work
experience in certain territories is lacking, where it is most needed.
Worryingly, the Court found that the intensity of the youth guarantee scheme is declining.
For example, in Paris, between 2017 and 2019, the number of support actions per young
person fell from 19 to 15. The youth guarantee scheme is more like a package, with guaranteed
remuneration for its duration (twelve to eighteen months), for support that has become variable
in its objectives and methods. Public authorities do not seem to be closely monitoring its actual
content. In particular, the number of work experience days - the key phases of this pathway -
is sometimes recorded, but little used to measure performance.
The experience of the ‘♯1jeune1solution’ plan shows, moreover, that the
increase in the number of participants in the youth guarantee scheme has been accompanied
by a decline in the intensity of the service, particularly in certain territories, due to insufficient
opportunities for work experience with companies or a too small pool of young people able to
commit themselves. The strong increase in the number of beneficiaries thus shows its limits
depending on the territory even outside of a crisis situation.
More fundamentally, when a
encounters operating difficulties, the
Government does not have the prerogative to remedy them, because these associative
structures, chaired by a local elected official, implement actions decided by several funders
(Government, but also the region, the department and the municipalities) within separate
agreement frameworks. Furthermore, when the performance of a
satisfactory, despite the agreement framework providing for this to be taken into account in the
subsidy paid by the Government, this provision is not applied or its effects are offset, in the
absence of an alternative of providing the expected service. The multiannual agreement
framework regarding the objectives and resources of
would benefit from
being broadened and strengthened, to give the Government the necessary leverage to steer
the measures it entrusts to them.
Ensuring the quality of pathways also requires a closer link with companies, stricter
supervision of their content, greater control of their practical implementation and a stronger link
between funding, quality and performance.
The recent announcement of the introduction of an ‘employment
agreement’, which combines payment of a
benefit with weekly counselling support of 15 to 20
hours, is heading in this direction, by setting a minimum requirement in terms of the number of
hours. However, the quality of the content for this counselling still needs to be guaranteed.
In order to improve this quality, the Court considers that each of the stages of the future
employment commitment agreement
should be defined, set out in a timetable and its results
evaluated as such. Only programmes of proven quality could continue to be funded by the
An alternative to close monitoring
of the reality of the content of ‘employment
by the Government would be to establish the principle of funding for
the Employment Centre,
, and for other actors (associations, service
providers), more closely linked to their performance in terms of integration into employment. It
could be tested by taking into account the level of difficulty of accessing employment.
D - Strengthen cooperation between actors
It seems essential to strengthen cooperation between actors to provide the best service
to the young people supported. This implies a specific organisation for young people in order
to respond to their requests, the setting up of useful information exchange circuits to switch
smoothly from one scheme to another, and limiting the effects of competition. It also means
improved structuring of responsibilities between the Government and the regions in the area
of vocational training, as well as better coordination of actors in the field of education and
integration into employment.
According to work carried out by the OECD, integrated services are a good practice for
youth integration policies. This integration requires either a single network or information
sharing and coordinated service delivery between networks. Almost half of EU countries offer
’ type of services
, meeting all the needs of young people in one place. The
duality of the networks in France, conversely, is a source of high coordination costs and
complexity for users.
Despite the progress noted during the '#1jeune1solution' plan, good cooperation at local
level between the two networks remains haphazard. Tensions are fuelled by competition over
the target groups, resulting from an unclear division between the Employment Centre and
. In fact, there is no harmonised definition for cases when social difficulties
prevent to access directly the labour market. The
remain committed to the
idea that they can support all young people who come to them, not just those with specific
Furthermore, information sharing is insufficient. Firstly, the rollout of information sharing
concerning young people aged 16 to 18 subject to training obligation has still not been
completed. Even though this obligation, laid down by Law of 26 July 2019 on Trust in School,
is based precisely on schools providing lists of young leaving education to
responsible for identifying early school leavers refusing the proposed solutions. Data sharing
on available training courses and on young people's placements to follow these trainings
between all actors has not been fully finalised either. Another priority is to speed up the
dematerialisation of payments under the youth guarantee scheme, now scheduled for 2022,
as the paper procedure is a source of processing delays, loss of time for counsellors and
misunderstanding on the part of beneficiaries.
There are still cases of competition between the solutions offered, particularly with regard
are not always encouraged to schedule training during the period
of the youth guarantee scheme, as this competes, for example, with work experience
placements. Nor are they encouraged to do so at the end of the youth guarantee scheme, as
this is not considered a
outcome', although this option is a performance indicator.
Moreover, coordination between the Government and the regions in the terms of
vocational training is not fully ensured. Although the aforementioned Law of 5 September 2018
now allows the Government to intervene in the area of vocational training for young people
and jobseekers, the regions' competence in principle has not been called into question.
However, the PIC and then the '#1jeune 1solution' plan set out guidelines, either in return for
additional funding for regional training plans, or through national calls for projects ('100%
inclusion', 'identifying the hardest-to-reach young people', 'digital training', 'third-party sites',
etc.), leading sometimes the regions to duplicate actions they have already undertaken. In the
current framework, the Government should ensure that its action only complements to regional
initiatives. Some regions, for their part, should give up financing training or initiatives already
funded at a national level, for example, in the area of financial assistance for obtaining a driving
Finally, public authorities have only recently realised the need to develop young people's
knowledge on the realities of labour market from secondary school onwards.
Coordination between integration policies and school environment still in the making
Several recent OECD studies (including the Dream Jobs survey published in 2020) have
focused on the value of facilitating young people’s knowledge of the labour market starting during
their basic education, in order to enable them to mature their plans and their career. According to
these studies, situations where you people learn about the realities of the labour market at an early
stage in schools are not well developed in France.
However, this issue is starting to be better addressed. The Law of 8 March 2018 on Student
Guidance and Success has enhanced the support given to students in developing their career plans.
It provides in the school programme time dedicated to career guidance. This time may include, at the
schools’ discretion, the hosting of external speakers and
discovery of working environment. The
Employment Centre will soon be making presentations in some secondary schools on an
experimental basis. This reform is being implemented gradually, in the context of the health crisis, so
its results cannot yet be assessed.
The challenge of better coordination is not only an aim in itself, but a condition of the
effectiveness of the solution offered to young people. The areas for progress outlined above
have already been identified by the Court on various occasions, and have only led to limited
progress, especially because of the multiplicity of actors and the particular governance of
. While some improvements in terms of coordination are possible within an
established institutional framework (e.g., completing ongoing information-sharing projects),
decisive progress would require deeper reforms in the distribution of roles between
The Court has identified two possible course of action for progress in this area. The
success of such developments depends, in any case, on the stakeholders
support for the
First possible course of action: simplifying the offer for users
Some of the difficulties in positioning actors in building pathways can be overcome by a
different distribution of functions. Thus,
could focused on the sole objective
of activation towards employment, with the Employment Centre being responsible for seeking
job placements. Under this scheme, as soon as the young person is taken on by one of the
two networks of the public employment service, they would be referred jointly and according
to a common assessment grid by the Employment Centre and by the local mission. To the
former, if they are able to enter employment, and to the latter, if they require preliminary
counselling support. In the latter case, their situation would be subject to regular joint review
until they join the Employment Centre through a formalised handover.
would focus on social counselling support, activation, identification of
a career plan, and training guidance , possibly in conjunction with the departmental councils.
In this option, the performance of
would be assessed on the basis of social
support and preparation for employment, and not on entry into employment.
This option has the advantage of encouraging the specialisation of actors on their core
activities, by facilitating the division of the pathway into 'modules' with specific objectives linked
to, each of them. It may have the disadvantage of discontinuity in the pathway for some young
people and of lacking incentives for certain
, which would miss out on a phase
that could be considered the most rewarding in the pathway - entry into employment - and
could be considered as a backward step.
The recurrent lack of coordination of actors could also be overcome by an organisation
aiming to provide a 'one-stop shop'. This option would avoid the risk of discontinuity in the care
of the young person, without forcing the actors to merge, a prospect which had raised strong
resistance in 2018. The service offer could be organised by agreements negotiated in each
region, involving the devolved services of the Ministry of Labour, the region, the Employment
Centre and the regional organisation of
. These agreements would provide
for the practical conditions of the service provided in each Employment Area in a unique place.
Such a development could be experimented in a small number of volunteer regions, in
addition to the single counsellor provided for in the context of the future
The diagram below illustrates the two possibilities mentioned:
Schéma n° 3 : two options for simplifying the pathway for young users of the public
Source: Court of Accounts
Second lever for action: a redistribution of competences in terms of training
In addition to the introduction of a
for an integrated pathway, a change
in the respective competences of the Government and the regions would allow for better
integrating training into pathways and greater effectiveness of policies on vocational training
for young people.
The aim would be to provide the means to achieve the objective of a 'seamless pathway',
by unifying the currently dispersed action of the actors, attributing the competences either to
the Government or the region.
With the first option, the Government would assume the function of planning and
purchasing vocational training for jobseekers, instead of the regions, and would assign this
function to the devolved services or, more probably, to the Employment Centre: the purchase
of training and guidance towards training would thus be closely intertwined. This reorientation
should be made compatible with the other regional competences transferred in order to ensure
the coherence of the new remits: in fact, the regions have received, in previous years,
competence in terms of vocational training, but also youth guidance and policies. Transfers to
the Government would therefore be potentially significant.
With the second, the Government would carry out a new stage of decentralisation in
favour of the regions. They would be given a leading role in the organisation and funding of
, as well as a more defined role in the regional management of the
Employment Centre, in the form of agreements conditioning the allocation of certain funding.
However, this perspective would be hindered by the fact that, at least in times of crisis, a unified
approach by the Goverment to labour and employment issues would remain necessary.
Such a development would entail operational risks during the transitional phase, resulting
in particular from the difficulty of unifying the corporate cultures of the Employment Centre staff
and staff in the regions. In the event of recentralising competences to the Government, the
reluctance of local and regional authorities losing their prerogatives would have to be
overcome, in particular, by guaranteeing them a possibility of dialogue and exchange of views
on results achieved. In the case of increased decentralisation, a framework guaranteeing equal
rollout in the different regions should be found and the procedures for operating the
Employment Centre reinvented with a stronger regional presence.
Four priorities should guide public action in the area of the integration of young people:
reaching out to
groups, better targeting of schemes according
to profiles, ensuring their quality and improving coordination between actors. At the same time,
it is necessary to finalise, with consistency, the structuring of employment integration measures
with the question of young people’s income in the framework of the fut
scheduled to be rolled out from 1
March 2022. On these different
issues, given the scale of the financial resources provided and the scale of the challenge for
integrating young people, the imperative of performance, in both quantitative and qualitative
terms, must guide the Government action more closely, particularly with regard to the funding
it grants to the various actors.
The ultimate objective of integration into employment will be better achieved if
institutional changes are undertaken to overcome persistent coordination difficulties. The
proposed changes come within different timeframes: while
trialled fairly quickly, a redistribution of competences between the Government and regions
must form part of medium-term overall planning.
REFERENCES TO REPORTS OF THE COURT OF
ACCOUNTS AND OF THE REGIONAL CHAMBERS
In addition to the assessment carried out in recent months on youth employment, the
Court has carried out controls in recent years and published the following reports:
A Public Finance Strategy to Exiting from the Crisis
, communication to the Prime Minister,
L’Établissement pour l’insertion dans l’emploi (
Agency for integration into employment,
, communication to the National Assembly Committee on Finance, General Economy
and Budgetary Control, June 2021;
Relations between the Ministry of Labour and non-profit stakeholders: coordination to be
, 2021 annual public report, March 2021;
Management of the Employment Centre, ten years after its creation
, public thematic report,
Access to employment by young people: building pathways, adapting support
thematic report, October 2016;
Measures and budget invested in favour of young people leaving the school system without
Communication to the National Assembly Committee on Finance, General
Economy and Budgetary Oversight, January 2016.
Several works prepared by the Regional Chambers of Accounts have also been used,
Final observations of the Pays de Loire Regional Chamber of Accounts on the
in Le Mans conurbation, 2021;
Final observations of the Pays de Loire Regional Chamber of Accounts on the
La Mayenne, 2021.
This report is available
on the Court of Accounts website: