Le Figaro has selected 5 emblematic professions of these workers who ensure the continuity of life in the country, despite the containment established to fight against the coronavirus epidemic.
Caregivers, cashiers, truckers, cleaning agents, police … These women and men are today in the front or second line facing the Covid-19. “Containment has sent home all non-vital activities and has brought back the” back office “(…), the backbone of the economy that keeps the machine running”, political scientist Jerôme Fourquet recently explained to Le Figaro.
Already, some union organizations are asking for an increase in wages for “essential” occupations. But by the way, how much do those who dedicate themselves currently earn, and whose withdrawal would seriously jeopardize the smooth running of the country? Who are they ? A comparative study of the Dares from March 2016 (the last one which refers) provides some elements of response. We have selected five trades regularly mentioned in this context of health crisis.
They work in hospitals and nursing homes to care for the sick and support our elders. Over the 2012-2014 period, the number of nursing assistants reached 598,000 jobs (91% of which were women). It is the public service (State, communities, public hospital) which is the main employer of caregivers (53% of jobs). Part-time work is widespread in the profession (23% of the workforce) and only 9% of full-time caregivers report working more than 40 hours per week.
The median salary (which divides a group into two equal parts) reaches 1,500 euros net per month in the profession. 11% of caregivers earn less than 1250 euros net per month, 31% between 1250 and 1500 euros and 51% between 1500 and 2000 euros. At the same time, the median salary in France (all trades combined) reached 1,800 euros over the 2012-2014 period. Caregiver jobs also have “atypical” working hours: 78% of caregivers work on Saturdays, 67% on Sundays and 22% at night.
With a median monthly salary of 2,000 euros net for full-time employees, the profession of nurse (87% women) is a little better off than that of nursing assistant. For medical staff (doctors, dentists and pharmacists, excluding midwives), the average monthly net salary in full-time equivalent amounted to 5,492 euros in 2016, according to the latest Drees report.
These women (the vast majority) and these men are on the front line in supermarkets and allow the French to do their shopping. Over the 2012-2014 period, 195,000 people were employed as cashiers and 100,000 people were employed in self-service. Of these 295,000 people, 79% are women. 43% of the workforce in the profession work part-time, often taxed.
For cashiers working full time, the median salary is 1,300 euros net per month. 41% of cashiers and self-service employees earn less than 1,250 euros net per month, 38% between 1,250 and 1,500 euros and 17% between 1,500 and 2,000 euros. In terms of work pace, 90% of employees work on Saturdays and 35% on Sundays.
They travel the roads to bring the goods to the stores. They also drive buses and trains. The Dares study mentions “vehicle drivers” (road haulers, delivery drivers, drivers of light vehicles and public transport). Over the 2012-2014 period, 773,000 people worked in this occupation (90% men) including 318,000 truckers. It is a relatively “old” profession since 31% of drivers are 50 or older.
For drivers working full-time, the median salary is 1,700 euros net per month. 10% of drivers earn less than 1250 euros net per month, 18% between 1250 and 1500 euros, 45% between 1500 and 2000 euros and 24% between 2000 and 3000 euros. The hours of the profession are particularly restrictive: 61% of drivers work on Saturdays, 36% at night and 28% on Sundays.
They too are still active and continue to survey the country for cleaning. Over the 2012-2014 period, nearly 1.3 million people worked as maintenance workers (70% women). These workers can be public officials responsible for maintaining schools, hospitals and collective establishments, or private employees responsible for cleaning office or business premises. The majority (55%) of maintenance workers are salaried in the public sector. In total, 40% of the workforce work part-time and 38% are aged 50 or over.
The median salary of the profession is 1400 euros net per month. 28% of maintenance workers earn less than 1250 euros net per month, 42% earn between 1250 and 1500 euros and 27% earn between 1500 and 2000 euros.
Police and firefighters
They strive to enforce order by verifying travel certificates or continue to extinguish fires. Over the 2012-2014 period, the Dares identified 382,000 police, gendarmes, firefighters and soldiers (86% men).
For these professions, the median salary is 2,100 euros net per month. 8% of the workforce earn between 1,250 and 1,500 euros per month, 30% between 1,500 and 2,000 euros, 52% between 2,000 and 3,000 euros and 6% more than 3,000 euros. Here again, these professions exercise so-called “atypical” hours: 62% of the workforce work night shifts, 74% on Sundays and 87% on Saturdays.