Friday, August 12, 2005

Allez a l'ouest, jeune homme

More Frenchmen voting with their feet; for more work, less time with family:

Fed up with a country they describe as rigid, racist and old-fashioned, French youngsters are opting for a new start in Britain, Canada, America or New Zealand where they can find housing and jobs more easily than in France.

Unemployment among the under-25s in France stands at 23.3 per cent, and 40 per cent of 18-30 year-olds describe their financial state as "difficult".

Many cite French employment practices as being at the root of the problem.

....The French tradition of offering university graduates low- paid short-term work experience, rather than full-time employment, is also blamed for the precarious financial situation in which many young French people find themselves.

....Sociologist Olivier Galland believes a cultural gap is opening up between the young and the rest of French society.

"Eighteen- to 30-year-olds have an image of a rigid, authoritarian country lacking flexibility," he said. "They are looking for a more flexible hiring system... and they head for those countries where the culture of little jobs is more developed."

Young French people are also drawn to move by a climate of tolerance and dynamism which they can miss in French society.

Which may be why Paul Krugman likes France so much.

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