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Greece, EU Countries Face Brain Drain

k8766179Europe’s continuing economic problems, which have especially hard hit countries such as Greece, Portugal, Italy and Spain, has resulted not only in record unemployment but many young and skilled people and professionals fleeing to other countries for a new life.  Now, the European Union is trying to help some improve their abilities and to stay in their homelands.

In March the EU is beginning a program called Grand Coalition for Digital Skills and Jobs.. The formation and Communications Technology (ICT) sector in Europe faces a paradox. Although employment is at it’s worst, there is a huge lack of skilled workers and employees in the ICT field which needs 700,000 more workers.

The Grand Coalition is an initiative formed by the European Commission to boost mobilization among countries and to educate and train young professionals to work in the ICT sector. The Coalition is bringing together companies in the ICT sector, social partners and educational authorities along with CEPIS (Council of European Professional Informatics Societies) and other similar networks.

The aim of the coalition plan, which will be presented on March 4-5, will be to help young professionals, especially from Greece and Spain, to acquire the new skills and qualifications needed, where unemployment rates are over 60 percent for those under 25. The last two years the number of people in Greece looking for a job all around Europe increased from 2,000 in 2010 to 200,000 to 2012.

At the same time, more than half of university graduates state that they are willing to immigrate and 17% said they have already started looking for a job and contacting possible employers. Equally high rates of employees and workers who want to emigrate are mentioned in Spain not only towards other countries of the EU but to Mexico and other booming Latin American countries.

Although immigration is a solution for unemployed youth and even older professionals, it risks the development and economic growth of the country in the future, analysts said. Not only professionals but also academics with PhD’s from prestigious universities such as Oxford,  Stanford and Yale prefer to leave Greece because the government cut spending for higher education by 50% resulting in some universities finding it difficult to pay even the electricity bills.

That means that Greece not only is losing its best trained work force but those who can train the work force, creating a vicious circle of low investments in human capital and high investments in labor intensive industries, which means worse working conditions and lower living standards.


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