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Economy

Despite High Jobless Rate, Greek Employers Can’t Get Workers

November 22, 2021

ATHENS – Greece has the European Union’s second-highest unemployment rate at 13.2 percent – after long being first – but companies are still finding it difficult to get enough workers, skilled or unskilled.

Official figures show the number of unfilled jobs, those offered by companies for which there was no supply – rose in the second quarter of 2021 by 117.8 percent compared to the same period in 2020 when COVID-19 hit.

That is seen partly because of more people working remotely during the lingering pandemic but employers told Kathimerini that there’s an acute shortage in construction, manufacturing and tourism.

There is a lack of supply of skilled technicians such as pipe-fitters, plumbers and machinery operators, but also services personnel such as waiters and receptionists, they said, with few takers.

Some employers said subsidies given by the government to workers temporarily laid off during COVID lockdowns have been a disincentive for them to go back to jobs or find employment.

Almost all blame the lack of connection between post-secondary education and the market, worsened by a lack of technical schools while some business owners said there’s still the aftermath of an exodus of skilled workers during an economic and austerity crisis from 2010-18 that sent thousands fleeing to other countries.

The lack of technical schools means that companies have to do on-the-job training which is time consuming and expensive for some of them and that younger workers prefer seasonal or temporary employment to full-time jobs.

The still low pay scales are also seen as a deterrent, which has led some companies to offer more attractive packages to lure workers, even as they complained about the high cost of social security contributions and other factors.

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