Only one in two Greek workers has skills that correspond to market needs, with 77 percent of employers saying they have difficulties finding the right employees, according to a study carried out by the Greek office of Ernst & Young, the Athens University of Economics and Business (AUEB) and Endeavor Greece.
The state of affairs is largely attributed to the structure of the Greek education system, which does little to encourage vocational studies aimed at fulfilling the needs of the economy.
Two out of five Greek students end up following three basic study directions, according to the study: 13 percent choose the humanities, 12 percent go for social sciences and another 12 percent for educational sciences.
Overall 53 percent of all students choose areas of study and sectors that do not contribute toward the country’s prospects for growth, researchers found.
For instance, only 4 percent of students choose information technology even though the sector is a dynamic one with rising demand; last year, the number of people hired into IT jobs increased by 22.7 percent.
Interest in sectors that have been traditionally attractive remains high despite a massive shift in the economic reality. For instance, there was a 20 percent increase in the number of students studying architecture between 2008 and 2015 even though the Greek construction sector all but collapsed during that time.
In presenting the results of the study Tuesday, Giorgos Doukidis, a professor at AUEB and Athens University, spoke of “a distortion of the educational system.”
Despite Greece’s high rate of unemployment – it has dipped slightly since the peak of the economic crisis but remains at 23 percent – 77 percent of employers said they struggle to hire suitable staff.
According to Panos Papazoglou, managing partner at Ernst and Young in Greece, the main problem cited by employers is a lack of technical skills (29 percent of those polled cited this as an issue), followed by inadequate experience (cited by 27 percent of employers) followed by a lack of personal skills (12 percent).