Air France, Accor, Altran, Arkéma, Renault, Rexel and Sopra Steria all have one thing in common: These seven French companies have just been “listed” by the government for “presumption of discrimination in hiring,” reported BFM TV.
The vice-president of the National Rally, Jordan Bardella, expressed his anger at the decision to list and expose the companies, in an interview with LCI. “There are discriminatory practices, it is true, they must be combated, it is necessary to pursue in the field of law and justice, but I do not believe that throwing the companies that do it under the bus is a good solution.”
He was annoyed, adding that it was “shocking” that the government “exposed to the public” the names of all these companies. He conceded that it may be scandalous to have difficulty in finding a job because of a North African name, but he argued for a “republican meritocracy”.
“You could of course come from a difficult, sensitive neighborhood, from a highly communal suburb and also do well at work, through effort and merit.”
On Thursday, February 6, a study on 40 large French companies and conducted by researchers from the University of Paris-Est-Créteil highlighted “significant and robust discrimination according to the criterion of origin against the candidate presumed North African”.
With the exception of Renault, all the companies complained and said they were “outraged” by the “manifest weaknesses of the methodology used which led to erroneous conclusions”.
“Of all the companies tested, it is estimated that the success rate of the candidate whose name has a North African sound is 9,3 percent against 12,5 percent for the candidate with a European sounding name” which represents a “25 percent less chance” of having success, argued the Ministries of Labor and Housing, as well as the Secretariat for Women’s Rights, on the outcome of this study.
“These tests correspond to 10 349 fictitious applications or requests for information sent”, they said. These requests for information, concerning receptionist and maintenance technician positions, were sent in pairs: one with a European sounding name and one with a North African sounding name.
However, the researchers themselves recognize the limits of such a methodology. In fact, the applications were sent to managers while some companies have “applications or web solutions that assist human resources departments in the recruitment stages”.
In addition, these hostess and technician jobs are sometimes outsourced by companies. The companies complained that they were not directly asked to denounce the process. Air France said they “totally challenge the methodology and conclusions of the report” which, according to the manufacturer, “absolutely does not reflect the culture, values and practices of the company”.
An Altran spokesperson, for her part, pointed out that her company “could not afford to discriminate in an engineering market where there is a shortage”. As a reminder, France Inter had already revealed the results of this study, conducted on a wider panel of 103 companies, without naming the names of the “bad students”.