July 22, 2024

Athens News

News in English from Greece

DW: "Who will make the beds?". Labor shortage ahead of upcoming tourist season

Following the 2023 tourism season, which brought in some 33 million international visitors, the government expects 2024 to be another record year for visitor numbers.

Already, the number of reserved places is 10% more than in the previous year, Deutsche Welle notes in its report. “But who will make the beds for visitors? – asks Gerd Heller, Athens correspondent for the financial magazine Handelsblatt. – There were more than 53,000 job openings in the hotel industry in 2023 “And this year their number may increase even more.”

Labor shortage

“Labor shortage is a growing problem. […] The tourism industry is not the only industry that needs more workers: the construction sector is short about 13,000 workers, and the agriculture sector is short 113,000. Employers tell the State Employment Service that the total number of vacancies is about 400,000 – while the total number of workers in Greece is 4.27 million.

At the same time, the labor shortage is surprising at first glance, since Greece ranks second in EU highest unemployment rate after Spain,” continues the German journalist. But both the high unemployment rate and the labor shortage are due to the same reason: the economic crisis of the last decade.

In addition to economic problems, demographic issues also arose during these years: “About 600,000 mostly young Greeks went abroad. […] Between 2010 and 2020, the population declined by 5.9%. […] And economists estimate that Greece will lose half a million workers by 2040.”

Government plan

Although “Conservative Prime Minister Mitsotakis has made the demographic issue a priority”government programs and benefits “will have an impact on the labor market in several decades.” “Business can't wait that long” – comments the HB correspondent.

This is why the Greek government plans to enter into agreements with other states that will allow tens of thousands of foreign workers to migrate to Greece. “Immigration Minister Dimitris Kairidis even wants to integrate illegal immigrants into the labor market: anyone who has lived in Greece for at least three years can obtain a residence permit if they have a legal job. […] However, the plan is controversial even among members of the ruling party. Critics argue that legalizing hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants will lead to increased migration flows. But perhaps this is exactly what Greece needs.”

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