COMMUNITY

Young Greeks unwilling to return

NIKO EFSTATHIOU

TAGS: Employment, Education

Amid concerns about the negative economic and social repercussions of the brain drain, a new survey by Greece’s KPMG chapter has found that four in 10 of the Greeks who left the country during the crisis years have no intention of returning.

Although some 427,000 young Greeks emigrated between 2008 and 2016, a public debate about the impact of their departure has yet to take off. With the results of a survey titled “Brain Drain & Gain,” KPMG has sought to profile the average Greek emigrant of the crisis years and determine the conditions under which they would consider coming home.

The survey, whose results were presented at Athens College Friday, recorded the responses of 300 Greeks who live and work abroad, most aged between 25 and 35.

Commenting on the findings, the general manager of KPMG Greece, Peggy Velliotou, emphasized the need for systematic and close cooperation between the government and the country’s universities and businesses if the brain drain is to be reversed.

A third (34 percent) of respondents said they had been students abroad during the crisis years and decided to find a job in the same country, while 19 percent said they had been unemployed and decided to emigrate.

The majority work in finance, banking, accounting and research and technology and the most popular destinations are the UK, the Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates, with those opting for the US or Australia usually doing so due to family connections in those countries.

As for the potential incentives for young emigrants to return to Greece, apart from better salaries, most respondents pointed to the need for a better working environment and corporate culture, more meritocracy and economic reforms to boost entrepreneurship.

Last week, at the annual E-Kyklos conference in Athens, diaNEOsis research analyst Fay Makantasi profiled the average Greek emigrant during the crisis as a young, unmarried university graduate. That survey found that respondents would consider coming back to Greece if there was a political and financial shift.

In a special report this week, the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV) stressed that overtaxation is a huge disincentive to both employers and workers in Greece.

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