May 22, 2022

The prolongation of the health crisis undermines the morale of business leaders

Fatigue, uncertainty, worry… the state of mind of business leaders is not really looking good at the start of 2022. The extension of the health crisis for more than two years, daily records contamination, the repeated waves plunged a large number of sectors into a thick fog. Added to this are supply difficulties, feverish energy and raw material prices.

According to the last Great consultation of entrepreneurs carried out by OpinionWay for CCI France, La Tribune, and LCI, the indicator that measures optimism inside companies lost 7 points between December and January to stand at 80, a level well below its long-term average (100).

It thus regains a level not seen since May 2021. After hovering around 100 between summer and November, this indicator continues to fall, having lost nearly 25 points since November. The appearance of the Omicron variant in South Africa and its spread throughout the Old Continent has clouded the outlook. Most economic institutes have revised their growth projections downwards in 2022. This week, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the latest update of its projections expects tricolor GDP growth of 3.5% against 3.9% last fall.

60% of leaders encounter difficulties related to the wave of contamination

Of the entire panel questioned by the polling institute, six business leaders out of 10 expressed at least one difficulty and 4 out of 10 expressed several difficulties at the start of 2022.

Among the most frequently cited obstacles is first and foremost the introduction of compulsory telework three days a week for 56% of the companies surveyed. Then come absences related to contact cases (29%), supply difficulties (24%), cash flow problems (17%) or inventory management (11%). It must be said that the various waves of the pandemic have caused major disruptions between supply and demand in a large number of sectors since the spring of 2020.

On the other hand, staff management difficulties (8%) or recruitment problems (8%) appear at the bottom of the table. Of course, there can be strong disparities between sectors. The implementation of remote work, for example, reveals a spectacular gap between companies with 0 to 9 employees (57%) and those with more than 10 employees (34%).

Two-thirds of bosses oppose the sanctions announced by the government

Faced with recalcitrant companies in the application of health measures, the executive had decided a few weeks ago to toughen up the tone. Despite the reinforced government instructions, the telework did not make notable progress in early January, according to a recent interactive Harris poll for the Department of Labor.

During the week of January 3 to 9, among working people who could telecommute easily, 60% had thus telecommuted at least partially (58% in mid-December), the figures increasing more in Île-de-France (rising from 62% to 69%).

The government has since provided for sanctions for companies that do not play the game, with the bill transforming the health pass into a vaccination pass adopted by Parliament. The text provides for the possibility of administrative fines for companies that do not comply with health instructions, in particular with regard to teleworking. These fines may go up to 500 euros per employee, within the limit of 50,000 euros.

Teleworking: these sanctions (almost) impossible to apply for the government

Presidential: a lower proportion of leaders consider purchasing power and employment a priority

The contagiousness of the Omicron variant and health issues seem to take precedence over the economic and social themes of the presidential campaign. Less than 90 days before the first ballot, the proportion of business leaders who believe that purchasing power, employment and the environment has been declining since the fall. This dizzying decline shows thatdespite the approach of the ballot, the leaders show little hope in this regard” point out the authors of the barometer.