France Looks for New Foreign Invasion
Green, Paula L., Global Finance
When one is considering what is quintessentially French, many things come to mind. One characteristic that is not among them is a dedicated work ethic. For The Invest in France Agency, whose role is to bring foreign investment into France, that is a problem. Instead of simply shrugging and saying, "C'est la vie," however, the agency is splashing out $25 million on a campaign aimed at showing investors and businesses that France is a great place to get some work done.
Clara Gaymard, the president of the Paris-based agency, is intent on dispelling the myths that surround the French economy and its business climate. "The number-one myth is that there is no flexibility in the work environment...that it is impossible to fire anyone," says Gaymard, who launched the agency's global marketing campaign at a luncheon at the French Consulate in New York City last month. In case anyone was still in doubt, she added: "It's not true. It's a myth."
The campaign also aims to lay to rest two other stereotypical images of French workers: that they are always on strike and are unproductive. In this case, the evidence stacks up in France's favor: France loses fewer days to strikes than the United Kingdom or the US, and it has the second-highest hourly productivity rate in the world, ahead of the United States. …