Such is the difficulty hotels face in finding adequate staff for hiring that more and more businesses are turning to bonuses for any of their employees who can bring an acquaintance or friend along to work.
This practice started shortly after Easter, when it became clear that despite the war in Ukraine, tourism in Greece was recovering dynamically and may well exceed the record figures of 2019 by the end of this year. It was initially adopted by large luxury hotels in Athens and Thessaloniki, before gradually expanding to the Attica Riviera. In recent weeks, however, it has been widely used by large chains with many thousands of beds throughout the country.
In most cases the bonus amounts to 200 euros for each employee who manages to attract a newcomer to the company. However, the condition that the new employee stays for at least a month has also been added, as there were many cases where employees brought people, took the cash, and then the new-hire left after two or three days.
The use of such methods should not be surprising, as just a week ago the Confederation of Greek Tourism Accommodation Entrepreneurs (SETKE) asked the ministries of Labor and Finance to allow retirees and public sector teachers to be allowed to work in tourism without suffering the penalties the law provides for.
Tourism companies have faced problems finding staff to meet their growing needs at hotels and other accommodation units for at least two years. The problem in tourism has been quantified by the Institute of the Greek Tourism Confederation (INSETE): A study published in March revealed that at the peak of the summer season of 2021, 53,249 positions were vacant out of the 244,124 provided, according to the organization chart in hotels. That is, the shortage rate was 22%, as more than one in five positions was not filled. The percentage is similar in all hotel categories and ranges from 21% to 24%. Almost 26,500 vacancies concern waiters, receptionists, laundry staff, bartenders and technical support and maintenance.