Engineers look for work abroad

Four in 10 graduates from the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) are looking for work abroad, according to a survey conducted for a conference on job prospects for civil engineers, which is due to take place in the capital Thursday.

Some 600 NTUA graduates were questioned as part of the survey. The results show that 42 percent of respondents said they were already looking for work abroad, a development that experts attribute to the collapse of the construction industry in Greece.

?They are asking for Greek engineers in large numbers in France and Germany,? the NTUA?s vice rector of academic affairs, Tonia Moropoulou, told Kathimeriniri. ?They have an advantage in that they study for five years. There is more demand for graduates who have studied for five years; they earn a higher salary too.?

Moropoulou underlined that employment opportunities for engineers in Greece had become severely limited over the last few years as a result of the sharp decline in building activity. Almost 160,000 jobs have been lost in the construction sector during the crisis.

About 400,000 people were involved in the sector in 2008, but this has dropped to 242,000, which is lower than the number of Greeks working in the construction industry in 1998. About 6,500 jobs are being lost in the sector each month.

Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) data show a 28.8 percent drop in the number of building permits issued in 2011 compared to 2010, falling to 35,746.

The total surface area contracted 42 percent and volume fell 38.2 percent. The total drop in volume since 2007 amounted to 72.4 percent. The last time that a rise was posted was in 2006.

The lack of employment opportunities has led to a drop in the number of university entrants opting for civil engineering degrees as their first choice.

Last year, 844 senior high school students applied for places at the NTUA, which were 175 fewer than in 2010.

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