Assisting redundant employees in the framework
of the Occupational Transition Contract program :
expertise and experience
This article, part of a collective research study on the role of expertise in implementing employment policy programs, focuses on the activities – specifically, making judgments and interacting with others – of public-sector personnel working in the framework of one of France’s many experimental employment programs, the Occupational Transition Contract. This unique, innovative project is in many respects in the spotlight of French current events. The special expertise of public agents working to assist redundant employees may be observed in how they successively or simultaneously use empathy, understanding and an ability to objectify throughout their interactions with persons « enrolled » in the program. After detailing the program’s potential opportunities, we apply Christian Bessy and Francis Chateauraynaud’s sociology of perception to study the dominant type of expertise used in it. We then bring in components of disposition sociology to bring to light the segmentation distinguishing actors from one other, the point being to explain regularities in types of expertise and how those may oscillate depending on the conditions in which the expertise is proffered and the varied, polymorphous profiles and experience of members of the small groups in charge of establishing and implementing the Occupational Transition Contract in particular areas of France. Attention to these activities and to interaction between program « referents » and participants brings to light how labor norms and accords have been profoundly transformed in the shift from the « lifelong job » notion to that of « sustainable employability ».