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As Greece’s Economic Crisis Lessens, Skilled Jobs Go Begging

Αssociated Press

(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

ATHENS - While Greece is slowly recovering from a near decade-long economic and austerity crisis that brought record unemployment and sent scores of thousands fleeing to other countries looking for work, most Greek businesses said they can’t fill jobs.

Some 77 percent surveyed by the ManpowerGroup for 2019 said they have difficulty recruiting and finding candidates for vacancies, an 11-year high for the annual poll, said the business newspaper Naftemporiki.

That put Greece third behind Japan and Romania in trying to find skilled employees after losing many of its best and brightest and youngest during an exodus during the crisis, worsened by the country’s clientelist state of political patronage over merit.

By comparison, 61 percent of companies in 2018 reported the same level of difficulty finding qualified people for positions, with technicians the most wanted group and after other surveys showed most of those who left Greece won’t return.

After that comes certified engineers and professional salespeople on the most wanted list with companies reaching out for people skilled in the fields of technology especially but unable to find them, many having already left.

“The difficulty of meeting the required talent is not only a domestic challenge for employers, but also a global one,” said Charalambos Kazantzidis, Manpower Group Greece CEO. “On the other hand, HR must focus on finding and implementing a multilevel talent identification, attraction and retention strategy …”

Among the reasons given for not being able to find skilled people are low wages driven down by austerity measures forced on successive governments by international creditors in return for 326 billion euros ($361.67 billion) in three bailouts and the mass departure of foreign construction workers when that sector was hit hard.