Women workers make up majority of ‘700-euro generation’

A survey conducted on behalf of the Greek General Confederation of Labour outlines the profile of the ‘700-euro generation’, that is, workers with net monthly pay of less than €750. These are mainly women aged 18–24 years, who are not organised in trade unions, do not take part in strikes and work as paid employees in the private sector. The survey also found that economically dependent work is common among young workers in particular.

About the survey

A survey entitled ‘Work and trade unions’, carried out by the company V-Project Research Consulting (VPRC), gives a profile of workers whose net pay is less than €750. It is a quantitative survey commissioned by the Greek General Confederation of Labour (Γενική Συνομοσπονδία Εργατών Ελλάδας, GSEE) and was conducted in the period from 14 June to 10 July 2008. A method of individual face-to-face interviews was implemented, using a structured questionnaire, based on a sample of 1,300 employed and unemployed people aged over 18 years.

Survey results

Profile of low-paid workers

According to the survey, 25% of employed people have net earnings of less than €750 a month. Workers in this category constitute a group whose features are quite homogenous: 75% are private sector employees, 67% are young people aged 18–34 years and 64% are women (Table 1).

Low income is accompanied by particular difficulties in exercising collective bargaining rights: 89% of workers with net monthly earnings of less than €750 are not organised in trade unions and 75% of these workers do not take part in strikes.

Also high is the level of dissatisfaction among this category of workers: 70% state that they are dissatisfied with their jobs, while a similar proportion do not appear to see any way out of this situation as they report dissatisfaction with their prospects for career advancement.

Table 1: Profile of workers earning less than €750 net a month
Characteristics Proportion of ‘700-euro generation’ concerned (%)
Not organised in trade unions 89
Private sector employees 75
Do not strike 75
Dissatisfied with career prospects 70
Dissatisfied with their jobs 70
18–34 years old 67
Women 64

Source: VPRC, 2008

Prevalence of economically dependent work

The survey also shows that a relatively new form of atypical employment – known as economically dependent work – is widespread among young people aged 25–34 years. More specifically, the following results were found:

  • 9% of respondents stated that they issue invoices for services rendered (ΔελτίοΠαροχήςΥπηρεσιών, DAPY) on a steady basis and for one employer;
  • economically dependent work with invoices for services rendered is more common among workers aged 55–65 years and young people aged 25–34 years (Table 2);
  • economically dependent work is a feature not only of the private sector but also of the public sector. Overall, 10% of workers in the private sector and 8% of workers in the public sector stated that they are economically dependent workers and issue invoices for services rendered.
Table 2: Working steady hours every day for one enterprise and issuing invoices for services rendered, by age group
Age group Proportion doing economically dependent work with DAPY (%)
18–24 years 4
25–34 years 12
35–44 years 10
45–54 years 5
55–65 years 14

Source: VPRC, 2008

Commentary

The issue of the ‘700-euro generation’ arose in recent years in conjunction with difficulties in entering the labour market – for graduates of third-level education in particular. It is also linked to the development of atypical and flexible forms of employment, and an increased prevalence of the ‘working poor’.

Greece shows one of the highest unemployment rates among young people in the 27 Member States of the European Union. For example, in the second quarter of 2009, the unemployment rate for young people aged 15–29 years was 17.7%, while the equivalent rate for workers aged 30 years or over stood at 6.7%. Furthermore, unemployment has affected young women to a much greater extent than young men: in the second quarter of 2009, the unemployment rate for men aged 15–29 years was 13.9%, whereas for young women it was 22.6%.

In addition, studies have shown that the proportion of overqualified workers is particularly high among third-level education graduates. This is associated with a failure to link education with the labour market and the fact that it is mainly young people – many of them women – who perform the various types of flexible and low-paid jobs. It is no accident, therefore, that nowadays about half of women aged less than 27 years in Greece and half of men aged under 30 years still live with their parents. The traditional profile of ‘youth’ in this country lasts not only beyond the statistical cut-off point of 24 years but, for many people – young men in particular – well beyond the age of 30 years.

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

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