The professional retraining of women


At first glance, more than 8 out of 10 female employees (82%) say they are satisfied with their current professional situation, but only 24% say they are very satisfied. However, this first measure of general satisfaction is not homogeneous according to the categories of female employees. Situations of precariousness, perceptible through the level of income, the type of contract of work, the time of work, or low level of diploma, are clearly identified as factors of professional dissatisfaction.

Furthermore, only 56% of female employees are satisfied with their remuneration, i.e. just over 1 in 2.. These last two indicators are to be compared to the real wage inequalities between men and women (17% difference in full-time equivalent in 2019 according to INSEE), which increases with age, and therefore justify the dissatisfaction.

The detailed assessment of their quality of life at work also highlights other divisions: if 72% to 89% of employees have the feeling of doing a useful job, of being well integrated in their company, of having realistic work objectives and of a workload adapted to their time of work, to regularly acquire knowledge and to be complete, Only 64% of them feel that their work is recognized for its fair value, and more than one in two employees (56%) say that they are stressed in the context of their work..


57% of employed women sometimes dream of professional recovery, either in the form of a change of profession, sector or professional status. More precisely, there are more women aged 25 to 34 (67%), those who work part-time (63%) and those with fixed-term contracts (74%), but also those who exercise a full-time work of 50 hours or more per week. week (65%), and inevitably those who are dissatisfied with their current professional situation (85%).

64% of employees who dream of recovery cite professional frustration or boredom as the main reason. The second reason mentioned is that of suffering at work, which concerns no less than 1 in 2 women. Faced with these problems, only a minority of employees (43%) approach the subject of recovery as a personal challenge.


In any case, among those who dream of recovery – by definition the most motivated – a lot Barriers to change are identified:

  • First, discouragement and fear for the future for 45% of them
  • 45% also report a lack of desire and inspiration
  • Financial limitations and time limitations are then mentioned by no less than 42% of them and come in position
  • Finally, 27% mention the fact that they are still attached to their current work environment

Faced with these many obstacles, solutions are nevertheless welcomed to encourage or at least strengthen the determination of women to change career paths: more than 6 out of 10 female employees (61%) think that support for professional retraining, in form of coaching, for example, could help take the step in retraining.


Parallel to the many challenges that await women who want to go through professional retraining, they clearly identify the objectives and the benefits that will result from it: Among those who dream the most of professional recovery, personal and professional fulfillment is more favorable for 74% of them, whileempowerment and the leadership comes in 2th position, monitoring of autonomy and flexibility.

Beyond expectations, the methods of carrying out professional retraining suggest a new division, with more than 2/3 of women (68%) wanting to remain employed but in another job or sector – security requires – and only 32% who plan to leave. the workforce, to start a business (16%) or to become a freelance, self-entrepreneur (16%).


Chloé Tegny, Head of Studies in the Opinion and Corporate Strategies Department of Ifop, Corporate & Work Experience Division

It is thus clearly seen that a dilemma arises in the professional aspirations of women, between security and mobility., in connection with a more degraded professional experience (physical and psychological) in women than in men. In effect, the precariousness of work concerns a non-negligible part of the employed female population – 80% of part-time jobs are occupied by women, 10.6% hold fixed-term positions against 6.5% of men. Their level of remuneration is also lower, due in part to a professional evolution that focuses mainly on feminized, difficult, undervalued and socially attractive professional sectors (care profession, personal service, cleaning, etc.). Beyond the financial limitation, a greater propensity to stress and health problems at work, managing the home and more specifically parenthood are all additional obstacles to the professional retraining of women, which gives more weight to the notion of job security, compared to men.. As Flora Baumlin and Romain Bendavid* show, these gender disparities in employment produce a “mirror effect” in women’s professional aspirations: where men are more inclined to consider other types of professional status than salaried employment, “taking their risk “, and where there are more internal perspectives of movements. towards a more qualified position, women struggle to find the right balance between professional mobility often suffers, financial security and job security.

* Flora Baumlin, Romain Bendavid, The paths of equality, Women, men and work, Editions de l’Aube, Jean Jaurès Foundation, March 2022

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