Study examines employment trends in Greece
In September 2007, the Labour Institute of the Greek General Confederation of Labour and the Confederation of Public Servants published its annual report on the Greek economy and employment. The report includes a detailed study of employment and unemployment in 2006. For example, the unemployment rate declined to 8.9%, and women represented 70% of the increase in employment from 2005 to 2006. Most of the overall recruitment occurred in the public sector.
Since 1999, the Labour Institute (Ινστιτούτο Εργασίας, INE) of the Greek General Confederation of Labour (Γενική Συνομοσπονδία Εργατών Ελλάδας, GSEE) and the Confederation of Public Servants (Ανώτατη Διοίκηση Ενώσεων Δημοσίων Υπαλλήλων, ADEDY) has published an annual report on the Greek economy and employment trends. The 2007 report (GR0710029I) includes a study on employment and unemployment in Greece.
Basic quantitative data
According to second quarter data from the Labour Force Survey of the National Statistical Service of Greece (Εθνική Στατοστική Υπηρεσία Ελλάδας, ESYE), in 2006 the unemployment rate in Greece declined to 8.9% from 9.8% in 2005; the number of unemployed people was just over 427,000. The labour force, which totals 4.88 million persons, represents 68.2% of the working population aged 15–64 years, while the 4.45 million people in employment constitute 62.3% of the working age population – see the figure below.
Basic characteristics of employment and unemployment, 2006 (%)
Source: ESYE, Labour Force Survey, second quarter 2006
Basic characteristics of employment
Paid employees comprised 63.7% of all employed people in 2006; more than one fifth (21.6%) were self-employed and a further 6.5% worked as assisting, unpaid family members. Compared with 2005 data, all categories of employed people increased, with the exception of self-employed persons, and paid employment represented the biggest proportion of this increase. The increase in paid employment in the economy as a whole since 2005 was almost entirely due to the public sector, representing about 96% of the total increase. In the private sector, the number of paid employees grew by only 2,100 persons. Higher employment in the private sector resulted mainly from increases in the categories of employers and assisting family members, accounting for 48% and 44.5% respectively of the total increase in this sector.
It is noteworthy, however, that the proportion of permanent employment is declining in the public sector, while it is increasing in the private sector (GR0709019I).
Basic characteristics of unemployment
Unemployed people who have never worked constituted 36.7% of all those unemployed. More than half of unemployed persons were long-term unemployed (57.5%). Unemployed people aged under 29 years represented 44.6% of all unemployed persons, and the unemployment rate among these young people amounted to 17.8% in 2006. Most people (88.6%) entering the labour market in 2006 had a secondary or third-level education, and they had previously been either unemployed (86%) or economically inactive (92.4%).
Employment in enterprises employing fewer than 10 people
Employment in very small enterprises with up to 10 employees represented over three fifths (62.4%) of employment in the whole economy in 2006, and paid employees in such enterprises represented over two fifths (42.6%) of all paid employees. Paid employment in enterprises employing fewer than 10 people was lower than in 2005, and thus the increase in overall paid employment was due to an increase in the number of paid employees in companies with over 10 employees. Conversely, the increase in the number of people employed in the categories of employers and assisting family members was due exclusively to the changes that occurred in enterprises with fewer than 10 employees.
Employment and unemployment of women
Women’s proportion of total employment stood at 38.8% in 2006. Women represented 67.8% of assisting family members, 40.9% of paid employees, 30.5% of self-employed people and 19.5% of employers. Of part-time employees, 69% were women.
The unemployment rate of women was more than twice that of men: 13.4% and 5.6% respectively. Women constituted about 60% of all unemployed people, unemployed persons up to the age of 29 years and unemployed people who have worked in the past. Furthermore, women accounted for almost two thirds of long-term unemployed persons and unemployed people who have never worked.
Nevertheless, INE considers as encouraging that women had a substantial share in the positive changes that occurred from 2005 to 2006 in both employment and unemployment: women represented 70% of the increase in employment, and the decline in unemployed young people under 29 years was due exclusively to a fall in the number of women in this category.
In 2006, Greece had the second highest unemployment rate of the 15 EU Member States before enlargement of the European Union in 2004; only France showed a higher unemployment rate. The unemployment rate in Greece exceeded the EU15 average for the first time in 1998, but since 2002 the two figures have been converging, since in Greece unemployment is declining and in the EU it is displaying medium-term stability: the EU15 average unemployment rate rose from 7.2% of the labour force in 2001 to 7.4% in 2006.
Sofia Lampousaki, Labour Institute of Greek General Confederation of Labour/Confederation of Public Servants (INE/GSEE-ADEDY)