Stark pessimism among working age population

Surveys of employed and unemployed people in Greece carried out by V-Project Research Consulting in February and May 2010 found much pessimism about the country’s current and future economic situation. Respondents’ personal economic situation had worsened between the surveys, with many feeling at risk of poverty and having a sense of insecurity. Long-term unemployment and the high proportion of economically dependent workers are particular problems in Greece.

Two surveys on the development of working conditions in Greece in the context of the economic crisis were carried out by Greek consultants, V-Project Research Consulting (VPRC), in February and May 2010.

About the surveys

The first survey, Working conditions and wages at the juncture of the economic crisis (in Greek), was published in February 2010. It was based on quantitative research conducted by means of personal interviews and structured questionnaires on a sample of 1,035 people (employed and unemployed) aged at least 18 years. The survey was carried out between 17 February and 19 February 2010.

The second survey, Greek society’s attitudes towards the economic crisis (242Kb PDF), was published in May 2010. It followed the same approach but involved a sample of 677 people. The survey was carried out between 6 May and 7 May 2010.

Results

The surveys led to the following main conclusions.

  • There is stark pessimism in Greece about the present and future economic situation of the country (Figures 1–3).

Figure 1: Compared to last year, the economic situation of the country …

Figure 1: Compared to last year, the economic situation of the country ...

Notes: Figures are percentage of total sample. DK/NA = I do not know/did not respond.

Source: VPRC, May 2010

Figure 2: What are your expectations for the economic situation of the country next year? Do you believe that the situation will …

Figure 2: What are your expectations for the economic situation of the country next year? Do you believe that the situation will …

Notes: Figures are percentage of total sample. DK/NA = I do not know/did not respond.

Source: VPRC, May 2010

Figure 3: How much time do you think Greece will require in order to exit from the current economic crisis?

Figure 3: How much time do you think Greece will require in order to exit from the current economic crisis?

Notes: Figures are percentage of total sample. NA = did not respond.

Source: VPRC, May 2010

  • There is also much pessimism about the personal economic situation (Figures 4 and 5). Between February and May 2010, the number of employed and unemployed people who said that their personal economic situation had worsened increased by nine percentage points.

Figure 4: During the past 12 months your personal economic conditions …

Figure 4: During the past 12 months your personal economic conditions …

Notes: Figures are percentage of total sample.

Source: VPRC, February 2010

Figure 5: In the last year, your personal economic situation …

Figure 5: In the last year, your personal economic situation …

Notes: Figures are percentage of total sample. DK/NA = I do not know/did not respond.

Source: VPRC, May 2010

  • There is a pervasive sense of insecurity and pessimism about the future (Figures 6 and 7).

Figure 6: How secure do you feel when you think about your future in the years to come?

Figure 6: How secure do you feel when you think about your future in the years to come?

Notes: Figures are percentage of total sample. NA = did not respond.

Source VPRC, February 2010

Figure 7: Do you believe that your personal economic situation next year will …

Figure 7: Do you believe that your personal economic situation next year will …

Notes: Figures are percentage of total sample. DK/NA = I do not know/did not respond.

Source: VPRC, May 2010

  • A high number of respondents (32%) said that they felt very much at risk of poverty (Figure 8).

Figure 8: In the current economic situation, do you feel exposed to the risk of poverty?

Figure 8: In the current economic situation, do you feel exposed to the risk of poverty?

Notes: Figures are percentage of total sample. DK/NA = I do not know/did not respond.

Source: VPRC, May 2010

  • Long-term unemployment is felt to be a major problem. According to the research, the average search time for first-time employment seekers or for those who have lost their job is 19 months. However, 28% of these people are not registered with the Greek Labour Force Employment Organisation (OAED).
  • A high percentage of people are classed as an economically dependent worker (that is, self-employed but dependent on a single customer/employer). A total of 8% of respondents replied ‘yes’ to the question ‘Are you employed by an enterprise on service contract basis even though you work regular hours? (that is, standard working hours, seven days a week etc)’. Compared with previous research conducted in 2008, this number had fallen by 1%.
  • Age is a decisive factor for economically dependent work: the highest number of economically dependent workers is concentrated in the age group 55–65 years (14%) and the second highest in the age group 25–34 (10%) (Table 1).
Table 1: Working regular hours every day on a service-provider contract, by age group
Age group Proportion of people doing economically dependent work (%)
18–24 6
25–34 10
35–44 7
45–54 5
55–65 14

Source: VPRC, February 2010

  • According to the data provided by the respondents, the average net income for all sectors and from all forms of employment (primary and secondary) amounted to €1,090.70 per month.
  • There was a significant discrepancy between the earnings of employees in the public and private sectors. According to the answers given, the average net earnings of employees in the public sector amounted to €1,385.14 per month whereas employees in the private sector earned on average €1,029.05 per month.
  • Collective agreements are a significant factor in determining and safeguarding wage levels (Table 2). This finding is particularly important given that, in the context of efforts to deal with the economic crisis, a series of legislative measures has been pushed forward since the beginning of 2010 to amend the institution of autonomous collective bargaining (GR1005019I, GR1007019I).
Table 2: Pay levels in the enterprise where respondents work/used to work
  % of sample
As specified by the collective agreement 71
Less than the amount specified by the collective agreement 11
More than the amount specified by the collective agreement 11
Not applicable 7

Source: VPRC, February 2010

Sofia Lampousaki, Labour Institute of Greek General Confederation of Labour (INE/GSEE)

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