From the moment a professional exercises a manual trade, in France, he is considered a craftsman, even if the activity in which he specializes is a secondary activity. A craftsman in France employs less than 10 employees in his company. The activity of craftsman is accompanied by qualifiers allowing it to be defined more precisely. A distinction will be made in particular between arts and crafts, master craftsmen, etc. and the activity related to crafts is, as INSEE specifies, an independent activity of production, processing, repair or service provision. In addition, several craftsmen can join forces within the same team.
It is interesting to note, with regard to the definition of crafts, that there is no European definition of craft enterprises. The European Commission simply states, in its recommendation of April 3, 1996, that craft businesses continue to be defined locally, because of their specificities.
Focus on figures for crafts in France
Figures from the DGE (Direction General Enterprises) of 1 January 2014 indicate that 1,200,000 craft businesses generated added value of 107 billion euro, representing almost 10% of the value created by non-agricultural and non-farm market activities. financial.
For the most part, craft businesses concern professionals working alone, 62% having no employees. In terms of activities, services have the upper hand, representing 65% of craft businesses in France.
Notable differences also exist in terms of profile, with a majority of craftsmen entrepreneurs being over 50 years old.
Today, crafts occupy 12% of the French working population.
Thousands of craftsmen… and diverse and varied professions
If there is a specific characteristic of craftsmanship in France, let us remember the wide variety of trades it concerns. In pole position, we find trades in the building industry, which cover almost half of craft activities with 450,000 companies (49% of craftsmen). Among them: plumbers, locksmiths, painters, electricians… and as many professions related to installation, repair and day-to-day troubleshooting services for professionals and individuals.
Next come services, which represent just under a third of craft activities in France today (29%). These include the trades of shoemaker, dressmaker, jeweler or trades related to beauty and aesthetics.
Production, although poorly represented compared to the specialties mentioned above, concerns 14% of the craft trades. These include trades related to the processing and manufacture of raw materials, whatever they may be.
Facing industry, artisans specializing in food are bakers, chocolate makers, butchers, poultry and fishmongers, 8% of whom represent French gastronomy in all its splendor. Catering professions where know-how and quality take precedence above all.
The field that we tend to immediately associate with craftsmanship comes last: it is artistic craftsmanship, which encompasses nearly 200 different trades. These relate to traditional manufacturing, restoration or creation.
The future of crafts
If craftsmanship rhymes with tradition, it is important to remember that craftsmanship is constantly evolving, varying according to needs, demand and technological developments. For example, professions related to ecological products, the environment and ethics are on the rise. Technologies allow the manufacture and production of tools to be more efficient, thus optimizing the productivity of artisans while maintaining the traditional and authentic aspect of their trade.
Crafts are still little known and subject to many received ideas. The fact remains that craftsmanship allows many individuals, whatever their level of diploma, to flourish in a field that they know, that they love and in which they fully exploit their potential. Thousands of men and women who are eager to make their know-how available to individuals and professionals who know how to recognize the quality of the services provided or the products offered.
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