Revised Law Allows Greek Tourism Enterprises to Hire 3rd Country Nationals to Meet Staff Shortages
Tourism businesses in Greece will be able to hire employees from third countries to meet staffing demands after a relevant bill was revised to include the sector, the government announced this week.
Under the new ministerial decision [24424/07.03.2023 (FEK Β΄ 1314)] aimed at addressing the growing problem of staff shortages, the tourism sector can employ third country nationals to fill empty positions. Terms and conditions will be announced shortly.
The news comes as the tourism season in Greece is ready to kick off with an estimated 75,000 positions still empty up from 60,000 a year ago and from 53,000 in 2021 and in view of an increasing number of tourist arrivals.
Tourism professionals and industry bodies have repeatedly complained of staff shortages and last year the government launched the Public Employment Service (DYPA) portal listing available positions in tourism, the majority of which concerned hotels and F&B services.
The issue of shortages was made public last year by former president of the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE), Andreas Andreadis, who called on the government to take immediate action noting that “the quality of our tourism product is at risk”. In response to Andreadis, the Panhellenic Federation of Catering and Tourist Industry Employees (POEET) said the reasons jobs in tourism were not being filled had to do with the working conditions, the pay and the seasonality of posts. The Hellenic Hoteliers Federation and the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels sent a letter to government officials requesting changes to the law.
Greek hoteliers, meanwhile, say that despite the higher wages, they are still unable to find staff such as waiters, chambermaids, gardeners and janitors. Finding employees has been an issue for several years. In 2021, 22 percent or one in five positions at hotel businesses in Greece remained vacant, a report released by INSETE found.
In May last year, Greece’s Labor Inspection Body (SEPE) started carrying out inspections at hotels to ensure laws and security regulations were being implemented.
Last year, Kikilias announced the opening of 50,000 jobs in tourism to be offered to Greek expatriates or to Ukrainian refugees while one local tourism body proposed the recruitment of pensioners and teachers to fill shortages.
In view of the revised law, Greek worker unions are now expressing concern about potential pay differences between Greek employees and third country nationals particularly in view of collective labor agreement signed last year.
Greece is not the only country facing tourism staff shortages. Earlier this month, a study presented at ITB Berlin by the newly formed Tourism Employment Expansion Mandate (TEEM) project – an initiative of Jamaican Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett and the Global Travel and Tourism Resilience Council – found that 68 percent of travel and tourism businesses worldwide are currently understaffed while 88 percent of the industry acknowledges workforce deficiencies.
The Greek Travel Pages has a dedicated online job-find service that helps tourism industry enterprises and job placement services in Greece find the right people. If you’re looking for a job in the Greek tourism industry, check out GTP Careers in Tourism.