Headcount Management vs Workforce Planning : what are the differences?

The legislative changes Strategic Workforce Planning to Jobs & Skills Management brought about by the 2017 Macron Ordinances has produced an impact on management of skills. Our article highlights these differences.
The Strategic Workforce Planning becomes Jobs & Skills Management : what are the differences?
Like Sage, build a concrete Strategic Workforce Planning concrete and mobilizing
Request a demo

In the everyday life of human resources professionals, the terms Strategic Workforce Planning and Jobs & Skills Management are often used interchangeably. Yet, although they refer to similar concepts and approaches, there are crucial nuances between the two.

The Strategic Workforce PlanningAlthough perceived as an "old" term, it remains the most common one in common parlance. The notion of steering skills has its origins in the Répertoire Opérationnel des Métiers et des Emplois(ROME) introduced by the ANPE in 1993. Since then, volume planning has been accompanied by a qualitative aspect in the support provided to each individual. This evolution was enshrined in the 2002 law on social modernization, followed by the law on social cohesion known as the "Borloo Law". 

Essentially focused on long-term workforce planning, the Strategic Workforce Planning is evolving in 2017 to place greater emphasis on managing career paths within the company. The Jobs & Skills Management thus aims to promote internal mobility, encourages the development of personalized career plans and actively supports employees' professional development.

Let's take a closer look at these developments and differences: 

Reminder of the provisions of the Strategic Workforce Planning

What are the provisions of the Strategic Workforce Planning ?

The provisions of the Strategic Workforce Planning are framed by 2 successive laws: the Programming Law for Social Cohesion (2005) and the Law on Social Dialogue and Employment (2015).

The Gestion Prévisionnelle des Emplois et des skills (Strategic Workforce Planning) has legally disappeared, so let's speak in the past tense. It was first and foremost an essential legal tool, giving the organization a lever for anticipating future needs in terms of skills and workforce. Although its deployment was made compulsory for companies with more than 300 employees in the past, this approach had already been practiced in various forms since the 1960s (when it was referred to as "Gestion Prévisionnelle du Personnel ou des Effectifs").

The Borloo law (2005)

The 2005 Borloo law marked a turning point by making it compulsory for large Strategic Workforce Planning for large companies. Under article L 2242-20 of the French Labor Code, these companies were required to engage in three-yearly negotiations involving the main internal players, such as the employer, union delegates and the works council. The aim of this obligation was to encourage social dialogue and anticipate and prevent social risks, including redundancy plans. In addition, the law extended this obligation to professional branches and territories, encouraging a broader, coordinated approach to skills management.

The Rebsamen law (2015)

Ten years later, the 2015 Rebsamen law strengthened the provisions of the Strategic Workforce Planning by including measures to improve social dialogue. This law, named the "Law for Social Dialogue and Employment", simplified the consultations of the Economic and Social Committee (CSE), reducing the number of mandatory consultations from 17 to 3. From now on, consultations will cover :

  • The company's strategic orientations.
  • The company's economic and financial situation.
  • Social policy, working conditions and employment.

The aim of this simplification is to make social dialogue more effective, and to allow companies to set their own consultation timetable, provided that these consultations take place at least every three years. The Rebsamen law has thus enabled more flexible and structured management of human resources, with greater integration ofaspects linked to quality of life at work and diversity.

From the Strategic Workforce Planning to Jobs & Skills Management

Legislative developments Strategic Workforce Planning to the Jobs & Skills Management
The legislative evolution of Strategic Workforce Planning to the Jobs & Skills Management

Which law is behind Jobs & Skills Management ?

The reform of the Labor Code, marked by the Macron Ordinances of 2017, has led to significant transformations in terms of employment management, notably the replacement of Strategic Workforce Planning by Gestion des Emplois et des Parcours Professionnels (Jobs & Skills Management).

The Macron Ordinances of 2017

In 2017, France was facing an economic situation characterized by moderate growth and a labor market in the throes of change, with digitization gaining momentum. In response to these challenges, the Macron Ordinances introduced Jobs & Skills Management, aimed at making job management more dynamic and adapted to new economic challenges.

Jobs & Skills Management emphasizes dynamic management rather than simply forecasting skills. Unlike the Strategic Workforce Planningwhich focused on the planning of employment needs skills, Jobs & Skills Management integrates the notion of " career paths " and encourages continuous training. This approach aims to enhance employees' employability , not only as part of the company's strategy, but also through external personal projects. The aim is to give employees the tools they need to evolve and adapt to changes in the job market throughout their careers.

As with the Strategic Workforce Planningthe law introduced a three-yearly obligation for negotiating Jobs & Skills Management. However, this periodicity may be relaxed by the social partners, without exceeding a four-year period (article L2242-20 of the French Labour Code). If negotiations fail, or in the absence of an agreement at Jobs & Skills Management, minutes must be drawn up. This document must mention the parties' proposals and the Jobs & Skills Management measures that the employer intends to apply unilaterally. Failure to reach agreement may result in sanctions against the company.

Who can benefit from Jobs & Skills Management ?

Gestion des Emplois et des Parcours Professionnels (Jobs & Skills Management) applies to companies with at least 300 employees, groups (as defined by the legislation on group works councils) with at least 300 employees, and Community-scale companies or groups with an establishment or company with at least 150 employees in France.

Want to know everything there is to know about Jobs & Skills Management ? Here's our complete guide.

What are the differences between Strategic Workforce Planning and Jobs & Skills Management ?

There are 4 differences between Strategic Workforce Planning and Jobs & Skills Management:

The notion of ecological transition

With the Macron Ordinances, Jobs & Skills Management now includes the ecological transition as an essential component of skills planning. This systemic change calls for greater adaptability on the part of companies. In practice, this means that companies need to develop specific skills related to environmental issues and devise strategies to support these transitions. Taking account of the ecological transition is now an imperative if we are to remain competitive and responsible.

Taking individual needs into account

Unlike the Strategic Workforce Planningwhich focused on global adaptation of the company or branch, Jobs & Skills Management emphasizes more cross-functional solutions to meet specific needs. This implies a detailed, almost real-time vision of the company's know-how, often obtained via a flexible mapping of skills, which is regularly updated. In short, Jobs & Skills Management encourages genuine talent management, by adapting to individual employee needs.

Continuing education replaces vocational training

In the face of rapid digitization and accelerated obsolescence of skills, Jobs & Skills Management relies on the permanent adaptation of knowledge. Continuing training has thus become a priority lever for ensuring employee employability. Rather than being limited to one-off training courses, the emphasis is on continuous, evolutionary learning, enabling employees to remain at the cutting edge of developments in their profession.

Periodicity and conclusion of the agreement change

As with the Strategic Workforce PlanningJobs & Skills Management requires three-yearly negotiations between management and employee representatives. However, this periodicity can now be extended to four years, depending on the wishes of the social partners. Furthermore, negotiations may not result in the signing of an agreement. In this case, minutes must be drawn up, detailing the proposals of each party and the measures that the employer intends to apply unilaterally.


The Jobs & Skills Management represents a strong managerial act to promote continuous reskilling. The aim is to ensure that each individual sees his or her skills block renewed at a rate of 30% per year. As Loïc Touranchet, a lawyer specializing in employment law at Actance, points out:

Within the space of 3 to 5 years, this approach gives the company the unilateral power to carry out the appropriate conversions towards businesses that are of value to the organization.

In this sense, Jobs & Skills Management should not be seen as a mere administrative obligation, but as a genuine strategic lever to drive the necessary transformations and embark the entire company on a dynamic of development and adaptability. It offers companies greater flexibility and adaptability, essential if they are to remain competitive in a constantly changing economic environment.

You may also like
See all articles