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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Les Français aiment les fonctionnaires

by Y.H.

The French Like their Civil Servants

Translated Thursday 30 August 2007, by Jonathan Pierrel

Job security and services for the people: young people have a very positive image of the civil service.

It is probably one of the biggest obstacles to the destructive governmental measures: although the French do not find their civil service beyond criticism, they give it their utmost support, as revealed in opinion polls year in year out. Thus, according to a survey conducted last year by the polling organisation IPSOS for La Gazette des communes, when the candidate Sarkozy had already announced his plans to only replace half the retiring civil servants, a majority (51%) want most of them, if not all, to be replaced. Contrary to the idea that the Sarkozy’s party, the UMP, hammered out, most of the people surveyed did not think that there are too many civil servants: 90% think there are too few of them in the public health system; 66% think there are a “sufficient” number or “not enough” of them at the municipal level; and the same is true, according to 54% of the surveyed, for State civil services.

The attractiveness of this sector cannot be denied: 8 out of 10 French parents encourage their children to become civil servants if they so wish. This proportion has tended to increase during the recent years. And most young people (70% of those aged between 15 and 30) themselves regularly express their wish to work in the civil service. The reason why? Guaranteed employment, of course, which is, despite decreasing in job security in government jobs, still linked to this sector: accordingly, 84% of young people associate the civil service with job security. But that is not the only reason. According to them, other values are strongly associated with it: “Providing services for the people” (72%), “Protecting the general interest” (66%). This does not prevent it from providing good services (according to 62%). All this is enough to make the private sector, put to disgrace, turn green with envy.

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