Greece no longer has the highest unemployment rate among EU members; At 13.2% at the end of August, it is second behind Spain’s 14%, although it is almost double the European Union average.
But despite the continued high unemployment rate, companies are struggling to hire both highly skilled and unskilled workers.
According to official figures, the number of unfilled jobs – that is, jobs offered by companies for which there was no supply – increased in the second quarter of 2021 by 117.8% per year. compared to the same period last year.
Part of this is attributed to the global phenomenon of the post-pandemic job exodus which has hit other countries even harder, such as France and the United States. But it is also an internal structural problem.
Employers told Kathimerini that the shortage is most acute in construction, manufacturing and tourism. There is a lack of supply of qualified technicians such as pipefitters, plumbers and machine operators, but also service personnel such as waiters and receptionists.
Some employers blame temporary factors, such as the income support provided to employees in industries hard hit by the pandemic, which have made non-work a more attractive option. Almost all blame the lack of connection between post-secondary education and the market, exacerbated by the lack of technical schools.
Others point out that as the protracted financial crisis and depression, which wiped out nearly 30% of Greece’s GDP, gave way to the recovery, their businesses found that, especially high-skilled young people, had either migrated abroad or, for many of those who remained in the country, had never entered the labor market and lacked experience.
In addition, the lack of technical schools means that companies themselves have to undergo on-the-job training, which they see as a waste of time and money. A few argue that younger employees prefer seasonal, temporary or part-time jobs.
Officials and public think tanks are also highlighting another factor, low wages, which discourage people from looking for work, although employers retort, perhaps on the defensive, that they are currently offering jobs. pay much more attractive than in the past and also have high non-wage costs, such as social security contributions.