The answer to the economic effects of Greece’s demographic problem lies in the increased use of the country’s human resources, given that less than three in four people of working age are actually employed.
According to the findings of a recent study, the country has a particularly low share of the economically active population working or seeking work, compared with most other European states.
“On the one hand this is negative, but on the other it means Greece still has some scope for offsetting the negative effects of aging, by bringing more people into the labor market, either through the reduction of unemployment or the increase of women’s employment,” says University of Thessaly professor of demographics Vyron Kotzamanis, who led the study.
“The wealth in a country is produced by those who actually work and not by those who are at the right age to work,” he says.
In Greece, just 73.4% of those aged 20-64 are financially active, only bettering the rates in Croatia (71.2%), Italy (70.8%) and Poland (70%) among the rest of Europe. This compares with 87.6% in Sweden, and 85.9% in Iceland and Switzerland.
Kotzamanis points out that the demographic data usually examined do not reveal the whole truth about the situation in the economy and the labor market. Analysts usually focus on the ages between 20 to 64 years old, while there are many pensioners still working and “young people” who are dependent on others, including many women who do not work even though they belong to the productive age bracket.
The study has found that there are 37.5 people aged 65 or over for every 100 people in the 20-64 age bracket. However, based on the the ratio of the financially active population in Greece, there is scope for a great improvement.
“If that improvement is achieved, it would, to a great extent, offset the adverse effects of demographic developments in the decades to come,” says Kotzamanis.