Corruption, Favoritism Still Driving Greeks Out of Country

(Photo: U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Michael Battles)

ATHENS – Bedeviled by Greece’s constant corruption, among the worst in the European Union, and held down by a system that uses political favoritism instead of meritocracy, Greeks keep fleeing to other countries in search of work, a better life and respect.

That was shown in the fifth annual survey by ICAP People Solutions which asked 942 Greeks living in 43 countries – conducted between March 27 and May 8 – why they left and would come make them return.

ICAP said that the results of this year’s survey are more or less the same as in previous years, said Kathimerini, showing the brain drain toll as 95 percent of respondents have university degrees – while the majority work in Europe, most in the United Kingdom.

Some 60 percent said they moved abroad after already having worked in Greece. Most are employed in the branches of information technology, banking, finance and insurance, ahead of business services, science and research, and education.

Referring to the results at ICAP’s recent Human Capital Summit, Christos Ioannou, Director of Employment and Labor Market Affairs at the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises, insisted Greeks abroad won’t come back unless they are hired and paid according to their abilities.

In March, a report showed nearly six in ten Greeks who live and work abroad wanted to come back. That was in a survey by the National Documentation Centre, one of Greece’s biggest institutions that collects and preserves scientific and cultural content and data in digital form.

Concerning the reasoning that would make these ex-pats return, the Centre’s report says 70% mention the quality of life in Greece and 42% their desire to be close to their families.

However, what would propel these people’s process of repatriation would be a wage increase, say 44% of them and finding jobs in their specialization, say 36% of respondents.

Regarding the intent to return to Greece, a very high percentage (86%) is interested in initiatives related to the transfer and objective continuation of good practices, knowledge and technology in Greece.

In addition, 84% are interested in collaborating with Greek universities and research centers, 80% are interested in collaborating in research & development activities, 75% see access to mobility programs for scientists favorably, 71% would pursue work in Greek companies, official bodies and organizations, while 70% say are interested in a professional cooperation with Greek companies for the creation of specific products.

From a total of 2,697 scholarship fellows, one in five (20%) returned from abroad, where they lived the last five years for work and study.