Hirings in the Greek labor market may have increased by 172,064 last month, but more than half, or 57.39 percent, concerned flexible forms of employment, according to the Labor Ministry’s Ergani database. This dire situation reflects the trend that became clear last year, when 54.87 percent of hirings were in the form of part-time or shift work.
That development is seen as having been spurred by the increase in social security contributions.
A recent Bank of Greece report has warned that part-time work appears to be evolving from a medium-term solution for containing unemployment into one of the most serious problems facing the Greek economy.
While Greece’s part-time job rate was the lowest in the European Union in 2015, at 9.4 percent, it is largely seen not as a deliberate choice for most people, but rather the only option for those unable to find a full-time job. Involuntary employment has soared in Greece from 46 percent in 2000 to 71.6 percent in 2015, one of the highest rates in the EU. The practice has an adverse impact on state finances as well as the sustainability of the social security system, as public revenues are automatically reduced.
There was net growth in jobs in December, with 15,315 more hirings than departures, compared to 11,132 more hirings in the same month in 2016. Hirings amounted to 172,064, which was 16,928 more than in December 2016, while departures came to 156,749, or 12,745 more than a year earlier.
More importantly, Ergani showed that a remarkable 41.78 percent of December hirings concerned part-time work, while another 15.61 percent were in the form of shift work.
This contributed toward the record increase in jobs last year – the highest since 2001 – by 143,545, up by 7,285 from 2016. Of a total 2,400,398 hirings throughout 2017, 1,316,980 were part-time or shift employment, while full-time hirings accounted for just 45.13 percent. And this is why the record growth in jobs has not reversed the negative image of the labor market.