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Greek Hotels Report Worker Shortage

ITEP’s president, Konstantina Svinou, and general director, George Petrakos.

While unemployment rates in Greece were high and thousands of jobs were available in Greece’s hospitality sector last year, many positions remained unfilled, according to a study presented by the Institute for Tourism Research and Forecasts (ITEP) on Monday.

The study, conducted by ITEP behalf of the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels, last year found that the surprising number of 7,000 positions in Greek hotels remained unfilled out of a total of 21,821 job vacancies. Hotels with positions that remained vacant were seeking managers, sales and marketing executives, accountants, cleaning staff, food and beverage staff, receptionists, IT specialists and technical support staff.

“Out of 21,821 vacant job positions in Greek hotels throughout Greece, only 73 percent – 15,852 – were covered,” noted ITEP’s general director, George Petrakos.

It is noted that the study was conducted at the end of 2019 on a sample of 897 hotels throughout Greece. The study concerns the reference period of January-October.

ITEP’s data showed that the hardest-to-find workers were actually not related directly to the hospitality industry. Accountants and IT specialists proved difficult to find as only 55 percent and 57 percent, respectively, of those job positions were covered. Popular job positions, but still not covered completely, were vacancies for cleaning staff (76 percent of vacant jobs covered), managers (73 percent), sales and marketing executives (74 percent) and food and beverage staff (74 percent).

According to the hoteliers, the reasons that the Greek hospitality sector recorded 27 percent of unfilled job positions last year include the very high rents requested for accommodation available for long term lease, expensive transport (ferry and airline tickets) and also the lack of skilled workers in the industry.

Commenting on the lack of skilled workers, the president of the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels, Alexandros Vassilikos, pointed out the gap that exists between tourism and education and training in Greece.

“Tourism education must go hand in hand with businesses to fill this gap,” he said, underlining the need for the country’s tourism education to be updated in accordance to international standards.

ITEP’s president, Konstantina Svinou, added that Greece’s seasonality is perhaps another reason that discourages hospitality workers to work in hotels, especially those located on islands. “Accountants and IT workers, for example, may think twice about moving to a destination and work for a seasonal hotel that will be open for only so many months a year,” she said.

About the Author
Nikos is Greek-American born in New York, USA, and has lived in Greece for over 30 years. He is the managing editor of Greece's leading monthly travel and tourism guide, the Greek Travel Pages (GTP) since June 2008 and of news site GTP Headlines since its launch in September 2012. Nikos has also served as international press officer for the City of Athens and for the mayor. He has a degree in Mass Media and Communications, specializing in Journalism. Nikos is a native English speaker and speaks Greek fluently.

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