Each year, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reports unemployment and employment stats and findings for Greece.
* Article last updated November 9, 2014
Summary of the main points
— Women, single parents, the disabled, minorities and university graduates suffer most in the area of unemployment. Joblessness amongst Greek women aged 30-54, regardless of educational level and experience, is the second highest in the EU after Latvia. This trend continues in 2012. Unemployment tends to be lower for non-Greek women in Greece because they cannot afford to be selective and do not have families to support them.
— Greece is the only EU member state of the ‘oldest 15’ in which higher education does not increase a worker’s desirability on the job market (only in Turkey, Korea and Mexico is this fact also true). See “Value of a university degree in Greece” for more information.
— There is no demand for highly educated workers in Greece, according to the General Confederation of Workers in Greece (GSEE).
4 3 million workers who make up the work force, 7 in 10 of those lucky enough to be employed are high school graduates.
— Greece’s economy revolves around services, tourism and trade where unskilled workers are more than sufficient.
— The job climate has not changed in 20 years, does not encourage innovation and is not expected to change in the future.
— Greece has an unemployment rate of 64.9 percent among people under 25, now the highest in the 28 EU member states. In this fifth year of recession, up to 900 people lose their jobs every day and this is expected to accelerate.
— The jobless rate is a record-high 27.8 percent, which is more than double the eurozone average and the highest in the EU. Real unemployment is projected to be 30 percent if including contract workers who are not calculated as part of official stats.
— Women are twice as likely to be unemployed than men because the country is still patriarchal.
— Educated business professionals aged 40-60 are now amongst the nation’s homeless, hungry and suicidal, as companies slash salaries and seek the cheapest labor possible.
— Greece’s entry to Tertiary Type A programs (advanced research/education) is 45 percent, which is lower than the average of 60 percent by nations such as New Zealand, Sweden, Hungary and Poland.
— Greece’s budget for education spending is only 3.5 percent, half the average of other OECD countries.
What does this mean?
A low rate of education spending by the government equals lower quality education for the people. While that’s fine for the unskilled climate of Greece, it doesn’t bode well for anyone who has the option to leave for another country where educated and skilled workers are in demand. He/she may actually be less knowledgeable, less competitive, less viable in comparison to candidates from other countries and be forced to return to Greece to face low salaries and unemployment.
The answer is to boost quality education and offer someone a reason to stay (good benefits, better public services and a salary on par with other EU nations) to stop brain drain and raise efficiency and productivity. Greece needs to honor and pay its educated, highly skilled workers, and highly skilled workers are needed to grow this nation’s economy.
As not everyone can afford private education, it’s up to the Greek government to help its people or improve the economic climate. In other words, simplify bureaucracy, embrace high tech industries, decrease corruption, encourage investors, offer incentives for Greeks abroad to come back.
In the meantime, Greece’s best and brightest continue to leave or are now amongst the nation’s homeless.
In the News
“Brain drain in Greece: Country bleeding its brightest” — CNBC
“Ενας στους 3 ψάχνει πάνω από ένα χρόνο για δουλειά” — Eleftherotypia
“I’m 60, I lost my business & work for 1.50 a delivery” — Eleftherotypia
“Young Greeks seek options elsewhere” — NY Times
“Unemployment rate for women twice that of men” — Eleftherotypia
“Educated Greeks rush to emigrate to UK, USA, Canada” — The Guardian
“Ο ένας στους τέσσερις νέους στην Ελλάδα, ψάχνει για δουλειά” — Eletherotypia