Employment and health crisis in Bordeaux

Updated on 18 November 2020

The impact of COVID-19 on the economy is unprecedented. This has led to difficulties and slowdowns in terms of employment. However, actors are committed to offering job offers while respecting the sanitary measures put in place. This year’s JobConnect event will be held entirely online. This event is an unmissable moment of French Tech. Dedicated to recruitment, it connects companies and candidates from the innovation sectors. Among the profiles sought are graphic designers, developers, communicators or salespeople… Thus, on November 25th, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., more than 90 companies will offer their job offers in CDI, CDD and alternating contracts. Fully digitized the interviews will take place in the form of videoconferencing and will last from 10 to 15 minutes. An event that gives a new impetus to employment and dynamism in the Bordeaux region in full containment.

The health crisis still has a strong impact on jobs in Bordeaux as in the rest of France. While it was experiencing a slight decline before the crisis, unemployment rose again. A moment of preventive nervousness in the face of the unknown or radical decline in prolonged activity, only the next few months will tell us. In any event, the slowdown in activity and the ability to recover depend on economic sectors and geographic areas. Furthermore, beyond the immediate observation of damage in areas such as catering and hospitality, it is important to observe the impact of one sector’s activity on others in order to anticipate the fallout and plan the actions to be taken.

In this globalized context, the recovery and health of the entire economic landscape also depends on global dynamics. Which at the moment does not offer high visibility, yet urgently necessary for international trade.

The vulnerability of employment, a consequence of the health crisis to anticipate

The recent study by France Strategy determined an index of job exposure during and after confinement. By combining data on the increase in local unemployment, the vulnerability of trades or the estimated loss of economic activity, we can draw a picture of France and its employment areas.

In April, for example, almost half of the employment areas saw an increase of more than 3 percentage points in job seekers without any activity, compared to the previous year. These results are significantly higher in areas with strong seasonal activity, particularly related to tourism (Alpes, Corsica, Côte d’Azur, Lourdes, Saint Nazaire…). Which increase by more than 4 points or even more than 6 points for the hardest hit.

Beyond this raw data, information on vulnerable trades makes it possible to understand a decline in diet. This includes non-priority activities, slowed in particular in favour of priority activities, occupations exposed to health risks, or the links of a global production chain, thus dependent on a generalized and globalized recovery of activity.

A resumption of employment and activity that is struggling to be felt, including in Bordeaux

Despite the deconfinement and the incentive of the authorities to return to work, it is clear that the result remains sluggish. Thus, according to France Strategy, “the March-June map, including both the containment phase and the first phases of deconfinement, is not significantly different from the map covering only the containment period. It shows an average loss of activity cushioned by the first phase of deconfinement, but the rebound observed in May does not lead to normal activity in most sectors.”

Moreover, according to the most promising sectors, not all regions of France can expect the same recovery. Neither in terms of area of activity, nor in terms of the time frame for full recovery. It is therefore appropriate that the arrangements put in place adapt to the particularities of the territories. Thus, the South of France and especially the coasts expect a lot from the activity of the summer. Especially since in this period jobs in the local economy increase by 50 to 100%. The north of the country is focusing more on the recovery of industries that rely heavily on this activity.

To support the recovery and employment of executives and young graduates, Apec and Solidarité Nouvelles face unemployment announce their partnership for the joint implementation of actions and devices available to their target audiences. The goal, to offer better visibility to offers to facilitate a faster return to work.

In Bordeaux, a slow recovery in employment and economic activity

On the Gironde, recruitment professionals have noticed since the first phase of the deconfinment a start of recovery. This is the case, for example, of Aquila HR interim agencies (3) which are seeing new offers, particularly in the construction and industrial sectors. However, not all players in the sector are involved in this recovery. For example, for construction, small businesses, subcontractors and craftsmen are currently the best off. On the other hand, many large companies are still at a standstill. Audrey Bruyère, director of the Aquila HR agency in Pessac, explains this two-speed recovery by the fact that the relaunched construction sites are mainly those of individuals.

In B to B, on the other hand, projects are rather postponed because are no longer the priority of the moment. They also face a shortage of raw materials. In particular, it is this urgency that allows the industry to gradually resume, as a supplier to many other industries, dependent on the materials produced.

It is difficult to predict the next major steps in the recovery. The job market currently has no visibility and is progressing rather on a day-to-day basis, at the rate of customers who are still moving a lot blind.

Overall, however, the partial unemployment schemes and other aid schemes put in place seem to have helped to pass the threshold for the most fragile companies. However, the situation remains delicate because if the immediate assistance they have available has allowed them to offer them a reprieve, it is now a real recovery that organizations need to ensure their sustainability (investments, current expenses, etc.).

Rising demand and job opportunities, an optimistic sign for post-health crisis

To counteract the evidence of a chilly and jerky recovery, it is also important to offer a more optimistic view of the situation. Thus, while the number of job offers had been halved during the confinement, it has been going back a long way since 11 May. Qapa, in its June barometer, reveals a growth in the number of job offers on its platform of more than 44%. If it has not yet returned to pre-crisis levels, this is at a minimum evidence of a revival of economic activity. It should be remembered that over the past two years, the growth in the number of job openings, particularly in New Aquitaine,has been very encouraging.

At the same time, new candidates increased by more than 7% in 3 weeks. Applicants include, as usual, students who are looking for assignments between the end of their course and September; Job seekers at the end of the law; partially unemployed employees looking for additional income to compensate for the financial loss.

At present, it is difficult to claim to know the future of the labour market or even that of the companies that make up the economic landscape. This health crisis will in any case have disrupted the established order. One can choose to see the leading companies lose their super, or choose to get excited about the flowering of new companies. After all, with each obstacle, its share of opportunities…


  1. Study of France Strategy “Economic Vulnerability of Employment Areas in the Face of Crisis”, 9 June 2020

(2) Apec, “Apec and SNC sign partnership agreement, 4 June 2020

(3) Interview with Audrey Bruyere of Aquila HR in Pessac, June 10, 2020

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