What is an independant consultant ?

Independant professionals

Freelancers correspond to a particular professional category. They do not have any hierarchical superior. They have no contract of employment nor paycheck.

Generally, protections for freelancers are not as strong as those for employees. Self-employed persons depend directly on their turnover to obtain remuneration for themselves. In France, there are over 3.1 million self-employed workers according to INSEE .

There are several ways to be a freelancer. The number of self-employed persons in France has increased in the past decade. There are several reasons for this increase.

Choosing the legal status

A freelancer has three options for his/her activity :

A sole proprietorship, also referred to as micro-entreprise (micro-company). They just have to fill a form on the website of the Centre de Formalités des Entreprises . The consultant works under his or her own name and does not create a dedicated company.
In France, many sole proprietorship businesses start every year. However, a lot of people stop their activity after a few months.
The creation of a society, by choosing between a one-person limited liability company (EURL) and a simplified single shareholder company (SASU). These statuses incorporate the characteristics of limited companies and simplified joint-stock companies while presenting only a single partner. The person must contact the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) depending on where they live and fulfil all the necessary formalities.
These statuses are usually used for liberal professions, retailers, entrepreneurs and artisans.
A wage portage contract, which allows to quickly undertake projects without having to carry out any particular formalities such as creating a business. Indeed, an independent consultant is an employee and thus benefits from a contract.
It is important to note that an independent consultant will no longer be “independent” if he signs a wage portage contract. He or she will then become an employee under this wage portage status.

The activities of consultants

A consultant is a professional who carries out assessment, audit and advisory missions. Usually, a consultant works on complex or even confidential missions. His/her human qualities are extremely important.

In fact, a company requests a consultant when it does not have certain skills in its business. An independent consultant, thus, must possess solid experience.

Experienced professionals always consider becoming a consultant. In this way, they are going to provide strategic advice on cost accounting, corporate law or human resources.

Young people can also start working as a consultant: the IT sector represents a very interesting opportunity and senior consultants work less on the challenges of new technologies as well as on computer programming.

The employment situation in France

Entrepreneurship attracts people and is no longer perceived as temporary. Being an entrepreneur is not seen as a limited period of a professional career. Some professionals no longer hesitate to seek sustainability in entrepreneurship.

At the same time, the open-ended contract (CDI) is not perceived as the ultimate goal. The CDI is more seen as a fixed contract. French employees want professional flexibility and mobility.

Certain employees note the absence of career development with a CDI. Resignation and termination by mutual agreement are widely used to end this type of contract.

This situation was confirmed by a study from Odoxa dated April 2018 . 28 % of the working population are generally dissatisfied with their relationship with their superiors. This figure is 36 % when it comes to company management.

French employees note a lack of appreciation and evolution in their work. For a majority of French workers, entrepreneurship thus seems to be an answer. In addition, 75 % of workers believe they possess acknowledged expertise in the labour market.

A new attraction for self-employment

According to a 2018 social statistics survey by Ipsos, self-employment attracts 50% of the working population in France . This excitement is focused on certain sectors. Conventional independent activities (artisans, shopkeepers…) are not those that benefit from this infatuation.

The digital, environment and health sectors are, according to Ipsos, the future driving force for job creation. At the same time, these sectors seem to be conducive to the development of independent activities.

The attractiveness of self-employment only covers attractive sectors. Certain employees are still struggling to become self-employed. This means having less protection and more uncertainty.

France, a land of specialists

Since the 1960s , France has experienced a change in the work sector. Manager positions and intellectual professions tripled between the 60s and today. The number of graduates also experienced a very high increase. Finally, the services sector now covers 70 % of the jobs in France.

Thus, France has an increasingly better skilled labour force. These experts want more flexibility and agility at work.

France has become a country with more and more self-employed persons. Graduates are attracted by entrepreneurship and consulting. But they want further protection.

In a number of cases, wage portage meets the needs of expert consultants. It allows to combine the freedom of entrepreneurship with the safety of wage employment.

Wage portage consultants

The Convention Collective de branche des salariés en portage salarial (dated 22 March 2017) lays down obligations with regard to degrees and qualifications for wage portage consultants.

Consultants under this system are graduates with third-level education, corresponding to +2 years after high-school education.

If the employee has over 3 years of experience in the same position or the same sector, he or she does not have to have third-level education.

Therefore, it is usually experts and managers close to retirement who opt for wage portage.

Umbrella companies do not stop at degrees when it comes to selecting their consultants. In fact, qualification and professional experience must be proportionate to the consultant’s sector.