Mission equality is not mission impossible - Dresden studies inclusionary practices in Nantes, as part of CITIES GROW


It can be great to get feedback on your CV, but how many jobseekers would have the confidence to give an employer feedback on a job advertisement? “I’m sorry the qualifications you’re looking for in this position don’t fit my training, can you adjust them and get back to me?” Yet this is one of the techniques the Maison de l’emploi uses to help the unemployed find work in Nantes, albeit in a far more nuanced manner.

On a study visit to Nantes organised by EUROCITIES under the CITIES GROW project, the city of Dresden learned how the Maison de l’emploi works together with companies which share the vision of improving the equality of opportunity for residents of Nantes. And yes, this can even mean helping companies to adapt their job offers in accordance with the qualifications and profiles of the available workforce in the local market.

Dresden is concerned because employment is on the up, more and more people can find work. Of course, that in itself is no cause for alarm, but what’s worrying officials is that at the same time as this upsurge, the level of employment for migrants living in the city is decreasing. By coming to Nantes, Dresden hopes to get a grip of some of the best practices that have allowed this city to be so successful in the integration of its migrant population.


Skills for interviewers and interviewees

Other services that they saw on their visit to the Maison de l’emploi, which has 80,000 registered jobseekers, included skills training and classes on preparing a CV and motivation letter, as well as open access to an internet and printing service, dubbed ‘cyber’, which 30,000 jobseekers avail of during the year. Migrant workers are given assistance with three of the biggest challenges presented by their situation: learning the local language, receiving a work permit and getting recognition for any foreign qualifications which they already hold.

There is also work done with employers, jobseekers and employees to combat discrimination. On the employer’s side, the Maison de l’emploi can connect them with agencies that run anti-discrimination workshops and training. For the jobseekers and employees, there is an offer of legal advice, and the contact information of trade unions, the relevant ombudsman, and even lawyers if needs be.

Change starts at home

The city of Nantes itself has some practices in place to fight discrimination and ensure equality, implementing policies which it decides upon in consultation with a citizen council on antidiscrimination. Within the city administration, the policy against discrimination is transversal to all other policies.

In public procurement, all tenders carry a clause in which the employer guarantees that they will take on unemployed people with low skills, or groups who are at risk of discrimination, while at the same time taking active steps within their company to reduce possible discrimination. The city also works together with private companies and other organisations in the Metropolitan Employment Pact, a network in which each member contributes their own experience in order to coordinate actions to promote workforce equality.

When it comes to their own employment practices, the municipality’s Guide to Recruitment and Charter for Equality at Work, distributed to all its HR services, outlines principles and practices for ensuring diversity in employment. In an expression of its commitment to diversity, Nantes has chosen to adopt the Label Diversité, a national instrument which is awarded for four years and comes with evaluations and audits every two years to assess adherence to the label’s standards and progress made in workplace diversification.

Following two days of study visits, Dresden’s representatives sat down with those of Nantes and CITIES GROW to hash out a preliminary sketch of their own action plan for greater labour market diversity. In spring 2018 the cities will meet again to bring this action plan to the next level, urban leaders working together for a more inclusive, resilient Europe. 

For more information on the CITIES GROW project visit the CITIES GROW page.