Tourism season starts with 80,000 job vacancies

Even well-paying restaurants struggling to find enough workers to meet tourism demand

Tourism season starts with 80,000 job vacancies

This year’s tourism season has begun with about 80,000 job vacancies in hotels and restaurants, so while tourism in Greece shows excellent prospects for 2024 according to the first data from summer bookings, there are serious concerns.

The Panhellenic Federation of Workers in Food Service and Tourism (POEET) is already sounding the alarm as vacancies in the sector, which employs more than 400,000 workers, have been steadily increasing in recent years, to reach an estimated 80,000 today.

The Public Employment Service (DYPA) aspires to cover some of these shortages through the new “Jobmatch” platform, while solutions are also being sought by bringing in workers from third countries. The latter has met with resistance from sector workers, who have hinted at the possibility of strikes even during the tourism season, asking the state for immediate and drastic measures.

In 2021 the vacancies numbered 57,700, in 2022 they reached 60,000, last year they exceeded 60,000 and this year they are estimated at 80,000. Of these, 53,000 concern hotels and 30,000 the food service sector.

Even if the planned 11,000 transfers of workers from third countries are implemented in their entirety, all the vacancies cannot be filled, nor can the skills required be secured.

In fact, as the problem evolves into a permanent one, it is expanding. The intensification of work in previous years, in order to offer the service to tourists with fewer staff, is making employees in the sector extremely skeptical of working again this season under the same conditions. Therefore, most are looking for job elsewhere, with the same or even lower wages but better conditions.

In this landscape, even serious businesses that respect labor conditions and collective agreements are struggling to find hands, especially when many are reportedly choosing to work uninsured or underinsured, so that they do not lose their right to the unemployment allowance for seasonal workers.

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