Fibra: the issue of employment takes center stage again

The deployment of fiber optics can break all records on French territory, the digital infrastructure sector, which brings together all those interested in this “project of the century”, still has many obstacles to overcome to achieve its goal of generalization fiber in 2025.

Beyond the burning issues of copper switching and improving service quality, the 13,000 companies tasked with deploying fiber in France regularly face a major problem: an endemic workforce shortage.

In fact, the fiber project mobilizes an enormous amount of financial resources, but also human resources. So much so that the Infranum federation, which supervises the industrialists in the sector, foresees a peak of 40,000 jobs to be mobilized in 2022 to complete the deployment of fiber in a large majority of territories. Suffice it to say that the needs are immense for the sector, which hired 9,700 new employees in 2020, instead of the 5,500 announced.

The sector mobilizes

However, one question does not stop shaking the industry: the one after. The fiber deployment project, no matter how intense, will come to a halt, or drastically slow down, in the coming years. This raises the question of the future of part of the jobs in the sector. If the industrial effort is unique in Europe, the sector must anticipate the gradual slowdown in labor needs as the deployments are completed ”, recognizes Infranum’s management, which has been mobilizing in this regard for some time.

While sector players see international growth levers to contribute to the dynamism of the sector and mobilize jobs, this will not be enough to mobilize all fiber professionals currently involved in the deployment of fiber in the market territory. .

The challenge posed by employment in the sector has also been raised to the ears of the executive. Three points should concentrate our efforts: the copper-fiber transition, the improvement of the quality of the connections and the anticipation of the post-2021 period, in particular with regard to employment “, the Secretary of State slipped to Numérique Cédric O el last October. , on the occasion of the Very High Speed ​​Summer University.

A new EDEC to fix the problem?

To prepare for the future of the sector, the stakeholders in this dossier have just concluded a new Employment and Skills Development Commitment Agreement (EDEC). This “will ensure the doors of access to employment and training for new jobs in the digital infrastructure”, we believe on the side of Infranum. The organization estimates that “13,000 companies, most of them very small and medium-sized, and more than 140,000 direct jobs are concerned.”

With the aim of improving the attractiveness of the fiber businesses, anticipating the needs of its players and supporting the employees involved in the fiber deployment in France, this new EDEC, which will run until 2024, will feature ” an envelope of 1.2 million euros equal to 50% by the investment plan in skills implemented by the government.

“This new EDEC will allow us to support the development of our sector by anticipating the deployment needs of new networks and digital services. Our sector will thus be able to continue carrying out ambitious projects at the service of all territories ”, says Nicolas Guérin, Orange’s general secretary, also president of the digital infrastructure sector, apart from the signing of this new EDEC. . Will the new agreement be enough to stop the current and future labor challenge of the sector? Response in the next few months.

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