In search of seasonal workers, sea and mountains want to play together

At the edge of the slopes or at the seaside, it’s the same problem everywhere. For tourism stakeholders, whether in the mountains or on the coast, recruiting seasonal workers has become a real headache. The phenomenon has further increased since the health crisis for hotels and restaurants which employ around 300,000 seasonal workers each year in summer and 100,000 in winter, according to figures from the Observatory of Accommodation and Catering Professions. But due to a lack of candidates, no less than 65,000 positions could not be filled last year, plunging many establishments into depression.

Each having its season, the sea and the mountains have tried to combine their forces to find candidates. “Communities have tried to pair up but it has never really worked,” says Frédéric Sévignon, regional director of Pôle Emploi Bretagne. Based in Brittany, Brittany Ferries had also initiated discussions with Compagnie des Alpes, which operates around ten ski areas, without the project seeing the light of day. Not upset, the shipping company set out again in search of mountain partners, with the help of Pôle Emploi. And this time, the track has just come to fruition with the launch of the system “A season on the bridges, a season on the mountains. »

Retain seasonal workers

Presented Tuesday in Saint-Malo, aboard the ferry Brittany which provides connections to Portsmouth (England), it will allow around ten seasonal workers to work throughout the year. From April to October, they will board the Breton company’s ferries. And when winter sets in, head to the mountains to work in partner hotels and restaurants in Haute-Savoie. “This should allow us to retain our seasonal employees,” emphasizes Jean-Luc Vigouroux, director of human relations at Brittany Ferries. This is a challenge for us because if they come back every year, we don’t need to train them. And they also learn other skills in the mountains. »

Originally from Pays-de-la-Loire, Wendy, 29, was attracted by the project. After a season last summer as a hostess on a Brittany Ferries ship, she is currently following a six-week training course on the Groisy campus in Annecy, entirely financed by Pôle Emploi. “I don’t have much experience in service so I’m training in techniques,” says the young woman, who will join a high-end establishment in Haute-Savoie for the winter season.

Seasonal workers fed and housed

A seasonal job where she will be fed and housed, as on board Brittany Ferries ships. “Employers realized that it was impossible to hire if they did not provide accommodation,” underlines Marie-Claude Frossard, delegated territorial director of Pole Emploi in the Annecy-Léman sector. Caroline, 27, will also soon pack her bags in the mountains and cross France, as other seasonal workers are already doing on an individual basis. “I’m used to doing the seasons à la Brittany,” says the young Brestoise. For this winter, I started doing some research in the mountains. But here everything is framed and taken care of (apart from transport – Editor’s note) so I didn’t hesitate. »

Recruiting a thousand seasonal workers each year, the shipping company is well aware that this system will not solve all its recruitment difficulties. And that all these seasonal workers will not agree to go to the mountains in winter. “But it’s the start of something,” says Jean-Luc Vigouroux. The start of a sea and mountain partnership which could indeed give ideas to tourism stakeholders. “You just have to find the right model and duplicate it,” assures Frédéric Sévignon.

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