The first ads for full-time jobs with major industrial groups in Greece started appearing in May. These mostly concern multinational companies that had announced the implementation of investments during 2015 but postponed them due to the torrential political developments last year.
Now that the first bailout review is over, the multinational managers have reactivated their hiring projects, expecting that in the next few months at least, and maybe up to the end of 2016, there will be relative calm in the economy. There also are certain Greek companies which, after completing loan restructurings in the last three hard years (2013-15), are redrafting their strategies.
The first new job ads have been mainly in the sectors of transport, tobacco, mining, fish farming and retail commerce. Still, most hirings by Greek companies concern positions abroad, as they realize they cannot rely on a wheezing economy where consumers’ purchasing power has sunk.
Many entrepreneurs have told Kathimerini they will start to hire new full-time employees in the next few weeks. For the first time since the summer of 2010, their business instinct is spurring them to take advantage of the apparently calm summer in politics so as to strengthen their presence in international markets. As an ICAP survey has shown, in the period from 2010 to 2014, Greek businesses suffered a loss of over a third of their assets. They posted huge losses of 26 billion euros between them in those five years.
Of course the business community remains worried about the tax hikes for corporations and taxpayers that could create new and unforeseeable conditions in Greece this fall. Therefore more companies are aiming to bolster their international presence while remaining defensive in the domestic market, where – if the central bank is right – this year will turn out to be the eighth of the last nine (2008-16) with the economy in recession.
Listed companies’ first-quarter data showed a slight increase in hirings, mainly by large enterprises (with an average of more than 1,000 employees) and export-minded medium-sized firms.
Employees at listed firms have paid a high price during the economic crisis: From 369,000 employees at end-2007, the number of staff at listed companies dropped to 307,000 in September 2015. This figure is likely to have dropped below the 300,000 mark in the first half of this year. That means more than 70,000 jobs have been lost at the 217 Athens-listed companies alone, among which there are some 30 or more which the market classifies as zombies, for showing no signs of life recently.