March 31, 2023

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Greece faces severe shortage of hotel and catering workers

More than 100,000 hospitality jobs are expected to remain vacant in the tourism industry in 2023, according to Panhellenic Hoteliers Association (POX) President Grigoris Tassios.

which is once again causing headaches for owners and HR managers in this critical service industry this year due to the shortage of workers in the country. At the same time, advance booking reports show a 20% increase in arrivals this year compared to last year, further complicating the problem.

The race for staff has begun earlier than in any other year, with tourism professionals flooding the internet and social media with advertisements and organizing job fairs across the country, but so far the response has not been as expected.

“Over time, all the professionals in the sector have stepped up to find staff, they are looking more actively, but no one knows where their efforts will lead. In any case, nothing is organized, and I don’t know that any number of workers will come from any country to close the gaps,” explains the president of the Halkidiki Chamber of Professionals, Yannis Koufidis, in whose geographical area the problem arose last year sharp enough.

They resort to emergency solutions to avoid closure

For another year, entrepreneurs in the hospitality and food service sectors will be forced to resort to emergency solutions in order to “hold on” and operate either by reducing existing tables or by bringing in family and friends to cover the missing staff. Also an option is to reduce the number of dishes on the menu, and reduce the opening hours of the institution, he told the newspaper. ethnos Thassos Zizopoulos, president of the Hellenic Chefs Federation. “We will have problems again this year. Professionals will not close their establishments, but they will operate inefficiently. They will enlist the help of their mother, cousin, aunt, but this does not mean that they will provide high-level services. He will be forced to patent, and depending on the entrepreneur, the equation begins, ”Zissopoulos emphasized.

Part of the laundry and cleaning has been done by foreigners for years, while entrepreneurs will have to hire foreign workers for other jobs this year as well. Hospitality employers are asking to import at least 80,000 workers from third countries such as Bangladesh, Pakistan and the Balkans to fill vacant positions, the daily newspaper reported. cathimerini. It is estimated that more than 100,000 workers from other countries could come to Greece and fill vacancies in hotels, in specific positions in catering (kitchens), in receptions, as waiters, as well as vacancies in positions such as laborers in open air.

Employers are asking the Ministry of Labor to give permission to attract workers to Greece for the summer. However, workers’ representatives strongly objected, arguing that 80,000 foreign workers would change the labor landscape both in terms of labor rights and wages. The Supreme Labor Council (ASE) has declared itself incompetent to issue an opinion on the matter.

People prefer eight-month contracts in municipalities to tourism business

Mr. Tasios attributes the shortage of workers to the fact that many workers have moved abroad during the pandemic and the strong seasonality of the profession, which makes it unattractive. “It’s not just a matter of wages,” he replies, “but also a matter of seasonal conditions, where too many 25-26-year-olds don’t want to work in the sector because they choose other jobs with different skills.” According to Tasios, constant applications for 8-month contracts from local authorities create another deterrent. “In the municipal contract for 8 months, workers are hired for less pay than in the tourism business, but people know that they work five days a week and have working hours in the public sector, as opposed to 12-16 hour days in private companies in peak season.”

PS 100 thousand foreign workers in the service sector, the same number in agriculture. And this despite the fact that in Greece today there are about a million unemployed. Maybe officials of the appropriate profile should think about other methods? And then somehow it turns out ugly.

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