A social mobility report by Eurofound, the EU Agency for the improvement of living and working conditions, shows that Greece, Cyprus, Finland and Poland have changed the most, having seen massive mobility out of agriculture towards manufacturing and services over the last generation or so.
The first of its kind report said the most dramatic changes in a generation happened for people of agricultural and blue-collar origin, which in broad terms can be related to both modernisation and post-modernisation of societies.
For those countries that have seen their rural sector decline most, the following changes are visible over the generations: Greece (-29 percentage points), Poland (-28%), Cyprus (-25%) and Finland (-22%).
In Cyprus, 27% of people were born into an agricultural family, while nowadays only 1.9% are identified as farmers.
Cyprus has a high share in lower-skilled occupations – trade, personal services, unskilled blue-collar and routine jobs. While these make up less than 30% of the working population across Europe, there are substantial differences across countries.
The shares are highest in former socialist countries. However, the figures are also high for Portugal and Cyprus with 39% and 34%, respectively.
The report goes on to say that in Cyprus and Greece the current share of professionals and middle managers among the active population, despite doubling in a generation, has not yet attained the levels that France and the UK had in the previous generation.
In Cyprus and Greece, the ability to purchase private tuition is seen as a crucial factor. Personal relationships and family ties influence the educational and professional choices of children, resulting in the children of wealthy families having more education and training opportunities than those of lower-income families.
That means that upward social mobility a sign of healthy growth, remains stagnant in both countries.
(Source: Cyprus Mail)
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