Greece is looking for up to 80,000 workers in the tourism sector and is trying to utilize international agreements signed with Egypt, Syria, Bangladesh and Pakistan to find some of them.
Despite the fact that a Ministerial Decision was signed in early March, to officially include tourism in the sectors that can accept third-country citizens for seasonal work, authorities have found that the gaps are constantly increasing.
As the Greek financial daily Naftemboriki reported, the size of the problem has already been identified in hotels, where more than 61,000 vacancies emerged from the re-employment applications submitted until the end of January.
Market agents point out that another 20-25 percent should be added to the above number from the employees who will finally find another job by next May-June and will not choose to return to the hotel where they worked during last summer’s tourist season. Thus, the losses will rise to the levels of 75,000-77,000 jobs compared to last year.
The problem is mainly located in Northern Greece and concerns tourism workers coming from Balkan countries such as Albania, Bulgaria, Romania, and North Macedonia. Many of them are expected to choose other tourist destinations for work this year, mainly Croatia, Italy, and Spain.
Reasons for worker shortage in the tourism sector
The large shortage of workers in the tourism sector comes as Greece expects a 20 percent increase in tourism this year.
The shortage is due to the higher salaries and better working conditions in other countries compared to Greece.
“How can foreign workers stay in Greece? In Spain, they work for a basic salary in hotels of 1,600 euros, five days, eight hours a day, which is strictly observed. Here they will get 900 euros, for 14 hours a day, 30 days a month!”, Giorgos Hontzoglou, president of the Panhellenic Federation of Food and Tourism Workers (POEET) told Naftemboriki.
“If the collective agreement of hotel employees is not extended to the entire industry, then the vacancies will increase even more,” he added.
In its latest reports, the Hellenic Federation of Industries (SEV) indicates “the level of employment deficit in Greece is 10 percent compared to the average in the European Union”.
The association’s analysis reveals some professions and specializations for which there is great demand, yet for which companies have difficulty in finding suitable employees.
High-demand occupations are mainly in the manufacturing, information and communication technology (ICT), energy and logistics sectors.
Wanted positions include IT applications specialist, network and telecommunications specialist, computer specialist, purchasing executive, electrician, industrial service technician, automation technician, industrial facility operator, machinery and equipment operator, metallurgical workers, and food industry technologists.