According to a survey conducted by the Bank of Greece some sectors of the economy, which during the last three years have showed "strength" and have reported the fewest job losses, can become the “engines”, which will pull Greece out of the crisis.
In contrast, among the sectors with the biggest losses from the crisis, accompanied by job losses, are construction and manufacturing. Since the beginning of the current economic crisis, from the third quarter of 2008 until spring 2011, a loss of 434,000 jobs was reported, which were not distributed evenly across all sectors and significant differences were noted, according to the "endurance" of each sector.
The study of Costas Kanellopoulos, an employee in the "Research" Department of the Bank of Greece, shows certain sectors, which produce goods and services for international markets. They have shown some "endurance" against the crisis and have reported relatively small loss of jobs, this is why they can be considered as the "engines", which will pull the country out from crisis.
These are sectors such as agriculture, which throughout most of the period has increased employment and actually still supports it, the food industry, the pharmaceutical industry, and hospitality, which are closely tied to tourism.
According to the study, in the sectors where an increase in employment is recorded, no significant administrative obstacles for entry in the industry are reported. Moreover, these industries could be aided even more by, for example:
- Subsidies for additional employment in dynamic sectors
- Relevant programmes for vocational training
- Promotion of generic drugs that are mainly produced by local pharmaceutical companies
- Activities supporting development, by generating stable investment projects
- Reducing the time for final approval of private investment and real reforms that will facilitate entry into professions of these branches
The study indicates a typical example – in order for new members to enter the register of farmers they need to go through many procedures, such as attending professional training programmes, certification by the tax division that at least 35 percent of the farmer’s annual income comes from agriculture, that at least 30 percent of the farmer’s annual working time is spent for agriculture, FII insurance (Farmers Insurance Institute) etc.
Also the successful exit from today's economic crisis can be aided by encouraging the development of effective networks for marketing and distribution of agricultural and industrial products through cooperation agreements of producer groups, farmers, industrialists, exporters or retail chains.
Streams of employment
In the last three years of crisis there have been 346,500 new appointments per year, which are equivalent to 7.8 percent of employment. Many of them are concentrated in the hotel and restaurant businesses (71,000), construction (53,800) and trade (47,000).
In addition to these sectors, where there is seasonal employment,a tangible number of new jobs each year open in agriculture (31,000),the food industry (10,200) and education (23,200). These figures for new jobs against a general reduction in employment indicate that there are labour market dynamics and a significant adjustment of employment to the needs of businesses, which may lead to the creation of sustainable jobs.
Conversely, the percentage of appointments is quite low for banks and insurance companies (2.6 percent), energy (5 percent) and in most sectors of manufacturing.
Leaving the labour market
According to the Labour Force Survey each year a total of 487,500 people or 11 percent remain unemployed or outside the labour market. This indicates that during the period of the survey the number of remaining unemployed is much higher than the newly hired.
Small and large companies
74 percent of unemployed persons come from small firms, or 11.1 percent of employees each year remain unemployed.
The survey of the Bank of Greece shows that small companies with up to 19 staff members, create many more new jobs (8.1 percent of employment compared to larger companies with more than 50 employees where this rate is 6.1 percent).
Given that small firms dominate the Greek economy in terms of employment, it is clear that 77 percent of new hirings are in companies with staff of up to 19 people. This difference between the scale of the company and the number of newly hired employees, which can be seen in other countries, is probably due to the relatively high rate of start-up activities in small firms, which is inevitably associated with new employments, while large companies with long and stable activities do not account for greater movement of employees. Movement of employees is restricted when the company has been operating for a long time because it has already chosen the optimal number of staff. Accordingly, more layoffs are reported in small firms.
Based on the characteristics of newly employed, it seems that men are less - 7.4 percent, compared to women - 8.4 percent. Women predominate in the field of services, and men in the agriculture industry.
The newly employed are mostly young people, nearly 45 percent of new recruits are under 30 years of age and 45 percent - from 31 to 50 years of age. On the other hand, people left without a job, are mostly men - 300,000 and women – 187,000. This large difference is due to the fact that the crisis has mainly affected the construction industry, where those employed are mainly men.