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Finance and COVID, when employees are in solidarity with their employer

In the financial sector, employees want to show solidarity with their employer in times of crisis. In any case, this is revealed by a study by Denjean and Associates, accounting, consulting and auditing (1). Conducted in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis, this study highlights the expectations of finance students and recent graduates in CSR. Far from the traditional image of shark or wolf, the new generations of financiers give companies a prominent place in social and environmental responsibility. In response, they also feel committed to protecting their business and the nation. However, the results are disparate and suggest different realities…

Lower wages in finance and COVID, employees in solidarity for the company

As a crisis, solidarity is growing, including within companies. Also, 29% of students and young employees in finance say they are willing to reduce their salary during confinement to preserve the company. Figures that demonstrate the desire of new generations to be able to project themselves into the future of the company; and their investment in making it work.

study expectations employees finance CSR companies denjean associates
Study infographic:CSR finance graduates’ expectations of finance students and graduates,Denjean and Associates, November 9, 2020

This suggestion also joins some initiatives of executives who lower their salaries in solidarity with employees during COVID. Fixed remunerations but also bonuses and benefits are concerned. The aim is to show a united front with employees who are partially unemployed. Which suffer a loss of part of the net salary and days off during confinement in particular. The opportunity also to indicate that their future to themselves is also linked to the economic situation of the company. For example, Michelin executives have reduced their remuneration by 25% (3); 50% (4). Similar steps have been taken in many other companies such as Fiat, Disney, Boeing… Or franchise networks.

In Bordeaux, the players and the coach of the Girondins de Bordeaux agreed to reduce their salary from 40 to 50%. On the UBB side, efforts have also been made. (5)

The Covid, pretext to lighten the ranks?

According to the study by Denjean and Associates, in addition to maintaining their employment, a proportion of respondents are therefore also in solidarity with the company for ethical and social reasons; not just preserving their only job. This requires that the company deserves in their eyes an outpouring of solidarity. This is a finding that can easily be imagined to be valid in many other industries.

Thus, the solution of the wage cut has been proposed by different companies, such as Ryanair for example. Although completely legal in the current context (2), this initiative is not always well received by employees. Which may consider not to be those to whom the primary effort lies, especially in large companies.

In this context, demonstrations have taken place in Bordeaux against companies that would take advantage of the Covid to lay off and reduce wages. This situation is at a minimum of a lack of communication. Among the protesters, employees of CNB Mérignac (aeronautics) or GETRAG, in Blanquefort.

Moreover, while this initiative may be more accepted by solidarity workers in small businesses, as human beings are often at the heart of these organizations, it is often those who have the most difficulty in being able to implement this solution.

employees solidarity company employer CSR trust commitment
Young graduates and finance employees will be able to engage in their company’s CSR policy to contribute to major societal issues (80%), feel useful (77%) or develop their understanding (71%).

Business finance and protection, sacrifices and give-and-take solidarity

Whether or not employees want to give up part of their benefits or salary also depends on human factors. Thus, the solidarity of employees towards their employer is linked in particular to their confidence in the company. Also, according to the Denjean and Associates study, CSR is at the heart of the concerns of the new generations.

The company is placed first in providing solutions to sustainable development issues, according to 73% of students and 65% of young graduates, well ahead of political power (39% for students and 57% for young graduates).

Denjean and Associates Study

Employees seek to make sense of both the company and their work. A give-and-take relationship, however, is not always achieved. In fact, only 37% of young graduates say they are satisfied with their knowledge of their employer’s CSR policy. Even more difficult, for 67% of them, their company implements CSR actions for a communication objective, only.

Yet 35% of finance students and recent graduates say they do not consider working in a company that does not have a CSR policy. For the most part, the economic power of companies automatically gives them the responsibility to get involved. As a result, younger generations expect their employer to guarantee good working conditions for its employees (79%); improve its environmental impact (71%); position itself on ethical issues (61%).”


  1. Study: CSR finance graduates’ expectations of finance students and graduates,Denjean and Associates, November 9, 2020
  2. Article L2254-2 – Labour Code ::”In order to meet the needs of the operation of the company or in order to preserve, or develop employment, a collective performance agreement can: […] arrange remuneration within the meaning of Article L. 3221-3 in accordance with the hierarchical minimum wages mentioned in 1st of Article L. 2253-1; […]”
  3. “Michelin: executives are reducing their remuneration.” Resource Centre on Business and Human Rights, article published on 6 April 2020
  4. “Sodexo: executives halve their remuneration.” Resource Centre on Business and Human Rights, article published on 2 April 2020
  5. “Agreement on a pay cut”,UBB Rugby, article published on 25 June 2020
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