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'49 CVs and cover letters, but still no job'

Joshua Melvin · 30 Jan 2014, 18:26

Published: 30 Jan 2014 18:26 GMT+01:00

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With a youth unemployment rate that hovers at around 25 percent, it’s an especially tough time to get a job in France for recent college graduates. It’s not impossible, but landing that first gig is going to take some persistence.

On average freshly-minted graduates have to send out 27 CVs and cover letters before they are hired, according to a study released on Thursday by French opinion polling institute IFOP. A year ago it took 40 percent fewer tries, when the average was 16.

But it can be worse and is for some would-be workers. For nine percent of new graduates the magic number in 2013 was 50 CVs and cover letters, the study said.

Among the students who’ve been on the market for three years since completing five years of post-baccalaureate studies, about 51 percent had gotten a job by this month. While the remaining 49 percent were still looking.

These preliminary results show signs that things have gotten worse for these young people. Just one year ago only 45 percent were still looking for a job. The market is looking “less good” for these recent graduates, the study found.  

Increasingly, French graduates are heading abroad to get their first experience.

Not surprisingly the time it takes for find a job for young people has also gotten longer. It’s about 11 weeks, which is seven days longer than it was this time last year. But for 22 percent of job hunters the search has gone on past three months.

The tough market is taking a toll on the recent grads optimism. About 57 percent said they were pessimistic about finding a job in the next six months and 13 percent have given up hope.

Story continues below…

The youth unemployment rate has remained high as adults with experience and professional connections have been forced back on to the market. France is currently dealing with a record high 11.1 percent unemployment rate.

A new database released on Thursday by France’s national statistics agency Insee shows young workers once had an easier time breaking into the labour market, newspaper Le Monde reported. In 1982 about 45 percent of people aged 15-24 had a job, but that number had dropped to 28.6 percent by 2012.

Longer periods spent at school was a factor in the fall, but so was a tight labour market that increasingly could not absorb them.

Joshua Melvin (joshua.melvin@thelocal.com)

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