Tunisian engineers are popular in French companies

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As the engineering shortage becomes a concern in France – the French economy is estimated to need 50,000 new employees each year – some French companies have decided to turn to African countries. Morocco, Senegal, Madagascar or even Tunisia are of great interest to French recruiters who need gray matter. There are French-speaking engineers there, well trained and in great numbers. A blessing ! Our Tunisia correspondent, Amira Souilem, followed recruiters in Paris who were determined to hire Tunisian engineers.

The ritual is now well established. Every other Saturday, in this Tunis conference center, French recruiters parade in front of several dozen Tunisian engineers. That day, Yannick Wack even offered twenty positions on behalf of the main French banking establishments: “ There were a lot of roadblocks from customers at first, telling themselves : “We have needs, but are we going to go so far as to hire foreign engineers?” We had a fear at the beginning regarding the training, but in fact we found an equivalence. These are people who are not going to be locked in their positions, they are people who are going to be proactive and who are going to want to move forward. »

While the French recruiters lack weapons, the Tunisian engineers only ask to offer theirs. Like the two young men you meet near the well-stocked buffet: “ Tunisia is only going backwards, the country is no longer advancing. There, it turns out, there are opportunities in France, but I’ll go anywhere. Everything except Tunisia in fact. » « Leaving is now a general culture in Tunisia. Even our employers here are aware of this, and it suits them because they know they can’t pay us as much as we want and therefore we’re going to work shuffling. »

Tunisian engineers on the one hand. French recruiters on the other. And in the middle: Saber Mahbouli, colossus in his forties. Very talkative and easy to contact, the man has created a structure that facilitates contact between his colleagues and French recruiters. His company has placed more than a thousand Tunisian engineers in around fifty associated companies, including big names in the CAC40: ” All the clients that come, say “I want ten, I want fifteen”. I have a client who asked me for a thousand. Hundreds of thousands of engineers are missing, there is a real, real shortage in Europe. I do not know why. I think that computing is not perceived as a noble profession in France, while for us in Africa, in general, it is a noble profession. »

While in Tunisia the debate is growing about what is called “brain drain” here, he prefers to see things differently: ” I myself went to France and came back, so where is the brain drain? All the “success stories” we have in Tunisia, in TI, are people who left and came back. I could not find any example of someone who has done something ambitious, impactful in Tunisia, in IT, and who has not gone abroad. »

Waiting for a possible return to the country, these engineers know that they will be able to get rid of their career and their salary. From 300 euros in Tunisia, the salary of a beginner – scarcity forces – will be multiplied by at least ten in France.

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