Posted on: 20 January 2017 By: Ray


A recent French official report said only 10 percent of the national workforce’s jobs were threatened by digitization, and half of all jobs would be transformed by the change. Meanwhile, French firms represented the largest foreign group at Las Vegas’ Consumer Electronics Show and investment in French tech firms reached a record high last year.

The French Conseil d’Orientation pour l’Emploi (COE) was set up in 2005 to advise the Prime Minister (government) on the causes of unemployment and job creation.  It published on 10 January a report on the likely impact of the digital economy on the labour force. It concluded that only 10 percent of the current labour force’s jobs were threatened by it, and it would transform and modify half the remaining jobs.

The jobs most threatened of disappearing due to the spread of artificial intelligence, robotiation, 3D printing, mass data processing “big data” etc., are  “manual and less qualified ones” such as less qualified workers, maintenance workers, cashiers, says an article in French local paper La Voix du Nord, quoting the COE report.

Job creation to outweigh losses

The COE’s president, Marie-Claire Carrère-Gée  says “these job losses, which may be significant, will be more than compensated by for job creation in France. Up to us – economic players, citizens, government – to gear up to make this happen”.

The second part of the report, due out in Spring, will look at impacts on working conditions, labour skills, and provide government and citizens with a sound diagnostic to prepare the policy decisions to be made in the fields of employment, training, social protection, support for innovation and localization of economic activities.

Big French presence at Vegas CES

At the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show (CES 9-12 January), French minister for digitization Axelle Lemaire gave an extensive interview to VentureBeat. She said French companies were the largest foreign group at the show, after the US : “Numbers speak for themselves, and the number of French tech start-ups at the CES is growing each year: 66 in 2015, 128 in 2016, and 178 this year. In 2017, 32 percent of startups attending the CES will be French, the second delegation in Eureka Park, just after the U.S., but far ahead of other start-up nations like Israel, South Korea, or China.”

She says France’s blue-chips (CAC40 companies) now “have really understood that they need to address their digital transformation and to rely on the potential of more agile and innovative start-ups ecosystems to prepare for their future”. “But when you look at the increasing numbers of big French companies coming to the CES this year in order to develop partnerships in an international tech environment, it’s clearly a sign that not only start-ups, but the whole country’s economy, are now embracing the digital age.”

Lemaire mentioned the setting up of a €1 billion Franco-German public fund to support the provision of late-stage venture capital for European start-ups. The article says that “according to a report from CB Insights, funding to tech companies in France topped $1.5 billion in the first nine months of 2016, a new high, with three months still to go.”

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Rea more :

Articles in La Voix du Nord, Les Echos, Ouest-France, France-Inter (audio)

Web page of the COE devoted to this report

Link to the report

France’s digital minister delivers a progress report from CES on efforts to build a startup nation”, VentureBeat, Chris O’brien@Obrien, January 4, 2017

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