50 years of change in the workplace
In the early 1960s, the French labour force was overwhelmingly male, with a large blue-collar and low-skilled component. Often, only the (male) head of household worked outside the home. It was the reign of the large industrial firm, characterized by a Fordist or Taylorist organization of production. Most employment contracts were open-ended and for full-time jobs. Today, employment is more “fragmented” in terms of economic-activity statuses and arrangements between employment and unemployment, and in terms of working time, patterns of work, forms of compensation, and production units. In the past fifty years, the labour force has become feminized, service-sector-oriented, and urbanized. It is more skilled but also less young. Workplace constraints have gradually changed with the rise of flexible arrangements. There is less physical fatigue but greater stress at work. The population censuses offer data for describing these broad trends in greater detail.