Getting a job in Greece is difficult enough for Greek job seekers with the predominance of cronyism, low salaries and rising unemployment amid recession. Do those with non-Greek surnames also face discrimination as early as the CV?
Ethnic discrimination is common worldwide. The International Labor Office found it in Belgium, Germany and Italy. It exists in countries considered progressive and gender balanced, such as Sweden where those who were older, unemployed or had an Arabic or other non-Nordic name received less contact; the UK, where racial prejudice in housing and the labour market was found as early as 1967; and the USA, where candidates with “black” sounding names and other minorities were eliminated from contention during résumé screening.
In a country where native Greek citizens are favored over repatriated Greek citizens from abroad, xenophobia is on the rise, unprovoked violence against persons of color happens daily and fascists now sit in Parliament, is it so hard to believe that ethnic profiling exists?
* Article last updated on January 2, 2013
Do Greek employers discriminate?
The only study on ethnic discrimination in the Greek labor market was done in 2006-2007 by Minas Vlassis and Nikos Drydakis, professors from the Department of Economics at the University of Crete.
In “Ethnic Discrimination in the Greek Labour Market: Occupational Access, Insurance Coverage, and Wage Offers,” CVs with equal education and experience, using addresses from comparable neighborhoods in Athens and similar hobbies and personal characteristics, were sent to the same firms at the same time. To homogenize characteristics by phone, a native Greek was used to answer calls for interviews and questions in both cases. The only difference was one candidate was named Ioannis Christou and the other Nikolai Dridanski.
Their findings revealed that Albanians face 43.5 percent net discrimination in access to employment, 36.5 percent lesser chance of being given IKA and a potential wage of 8.8 percent lower than Greeks, which is 5.3 percent below the legal minimum wage. When questioned directly, 84.4 percent of employers “put the blame” on profit strategies.
This corroborates a poll in which 88 percent of Greeks said they do not have a problem with immigrants in theory, but the same percentage believe they don’t deserve to be issued a work permit. In other words: I don’t mind if you clean my house, landscape my yard, build my house and boost the economy, but forget about getting a fair wage and having rights.
It also explains in part why only half of an estimated 1.2 million immigrants in Greece are legal, even though 70 percent have been here for 5 to 8 years and are entitled to long-term EU-wide residence/work permits. Continuous insurance coverage is required to secure a permit and, of those who managed to apply and pay 150 euros each last year, 300,000 are waiting in a seemingly eternal “pending” file, with thousands being encouraged to apply even though municipal employees know they are ineligible. Greece gets to keep their money no matter what. That’s more than 45 million euros in cash for those keeping track, and the funds are not being used by immigrants as few rarely utilize public services, according to the National Statistic Service (NSS).
Certainly, migrant joblessness is lower in comparison to unemployment amongst Greek citizens, but this is because immigrants do not live in a family home and cannot afford to be selective when and if a job is offered.
Please be clear. Greek employers that discriminate on first sight of names on a CV not only affects foreigners looking a job, but also those of Greek origin who do not use their Greek surname for reasons of marriage or personal choice.
Further, it is usually an indication of more discrimination to come.
* A future post will be a personal experience with discrimination based solely on my CV, an inadvertent experiment from 2003, and linked accordingly.
For related stories, see Jobs in Greece.
Hat tip to MBE for providing direction to two sources and sharing a personal account.
“Greeks increasingly xenophobic: 93 percent against immigrants but ‘not racist’” — Eleftherotypia
“Native-Immigrants Wage Differentials and Occupational Segregation in the Greek Labour Market” – Michalis Demousis, Nicholas Giannakopoulos and Stavros Zografakis
“Immigrants, Migration and Discrimination (Greece)” — Migration Citizenship Education
“Migrant Integration Policy Index” (Greece)” — Sponsored by the EU, British Council
“Ethnic Discrimination in the Greek Rental Market” — Nick Drydakis
“2007: Year of Immigration Reform” (link broken) — Athens News
“Mixed marriages and discrimination” (link broken) — Athens News
“Xenophobic, often racist attitudes of Greeks” (link broken) – Athens News
“Greeks are xenophobic, insecure, TV-addicted…” — Stamos Zoulas