Gender and career development — Greece

  • Observatory: EurWORK
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  • Published on: 10 december 2008



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The traditional career concept remains prevalent in Greece, and the development of new forms of employment does not seem to lead to a greater diversification of career paths for both men and women. Despite the existence of a protective and innovative legislative framework, in practice the policies aiming at promoting equal opportunities for men and women at company-level remain an exception.

1. Changing concepts of careers

Research suggests that current career patterns are still strongly influenced by traditional concepts of careers. Traditional concepts are often described as hierarchical models, with continuous service and regular promotion progress up through a series of levels within an organisation, or between organisations. However, new forms of employment are likely to lead to a greater diversification of career paths for both men and women.

a) Is the traditional career model appropriate to your country? How have women’s careers complied with this traditional model?

b) Please provide research evidence on whether the traditional concept of a career in your country is changing or whether it remains largely entrenched. Are traditional careers changing as new forms of employment are introduced? If there have been recent changes, what types of change are occurring?

(Answer to questions 1a and 1b) By and large, the traditional career model could be said to still predominate in the Greek labour market. In this framework, a woman’s career advancement and promotion – with some exceptions – are made very difficult, compared to a man’s career prospects and potential. Although theoretically there is quite a well developed statutory framework which protects working women and bridges any gaps observed during their working life, in practice the existence of multiple direct and indirect discrimination in the labour market and the often inadequate operation of protective institutions deprive women of opportunities for careers enjoyed by men and/or make smooth re-entry into the labour market difficult. In effect, the statistical data show that, despite the increase in women’s labour market participation, women occupy a large proportion of jobs that are precarious, low skilled and low on the hierarchy of production (assisting family members, etc.) (Ketsetzopoulou, M., Female employment 2002, in Mouriki, A., et al. (eds.) The social portrait of Greece, 2001. Athens: National Centre for Social Research – EKKE). Furthermore, even though women’s participation in the labour force has increased, this does not translate into increased participation in important sectors of social and economic life (science, research, decision-making, high-ranking jobs, etc.). Even in the services sector, where a significant increase in female employment has been noted, a trend towards proletarianisation has emerged, since in the main women are employed in low-ranking, unskilled jobs (Ketsetzopoulou, M. & Simeonidou, H., 2002, Gender equality: the position of women in the public and private sector, in Mouriki, A. et al. (eds.) The social portrait of Greece, 2001. Athens: EKKE). This situation has not changed with the development of new forms of employment, since in Greece employment under such schemes (and not only for women) is synonymous with precarious, uncertain, etc. employment. One characteristic example is part-time employment, which is not a choice, at least in the same way that it is a choice in other countries, given the low pay. On the other hand, the new forms of employment associated with highly skilled jobs are not developed enough to allow us to talk about a reversal of the traditional career model.

2. Data on segregation and mobility

Please provide details of employment for men and women by industrial sector and full and part time work for 2005 and also for men and women by socio-economic classification 2005.

Employment by sector in 2005: Women
Sector Employment Full-time Part-time
Agriculture, livestock farming, hunting and forestry 232.735 197.582 35.153
Fishing 1.576 1.576  
Mines and quarries 1.076 1.076  
Manufacturing industries 152.013 145.041 6.972
Electricity, natural gas and water supply 6.742 6.647 95
Construction 6.396 5.574 822
Wholesale and retail trade, automobile repair… 315.334 290.650 24.684
Hotels and restaurants 137.201 124.098 13.103
Transport, storage and communications 47.983 46.663 1.320
Intermediate financial institutions 56.000 54.784 1.216
Real estate management, rentals, etc. 136.029 126.173 9.856
Public administration and defence, mandatory social insurance 111.588 109.476 2.112
Education 189.661 164.474 25.187
Health and social welfare 139.947 134.530 5.417
Other service provision activities…. 74.387 64.601 9.786
Private households employing domestic staff 67.425 50.298 17.127
Extraterritorial organisations and bodies 0    
TOTAL 1.676.093 1.523.243 152.850

Source: National Statistical Service of Greece (ESYE)/Processed by: G. Kritikidis, INE-GSEE/ADEDY.

Employment by sector in 2005: Men

Sector Employment Full-time Part-time
Agriculture, livestock farming, hunting and forestry 300.344 284.520 15.824
Fishing 12.632 12.632  
Mines and quarries 17.099 16.891 208
Manufacturing industries 407.003 403.046 3.957
Electricity, natural gas and water supply 30.248 30.093 155
Construction 361.303 354.759 6.544
Wholesale and retail trade, automobile repair… 464.871 459.024 5.847
Hotels and restaurants 166.895 158.672 8.223
Transport, storage and communications 221.069 219.054 2.015
Intermediate financial institutions 56.984 56.566 418
Real estate management, rentals, etc. 153.004 150.102 2.902
Public administration and defence, mandatory social insurance 231.774 231.152 622
Education 122.040 115.651 6.389
Health and social welfare 77.960 76.710 1.250
Other service provision activities…. 79.378 75.601 3.777
Private households employing domestic staff 2.623 2.623  
Extraterritorial organisations and bodies 614 614  
TOTAL 2.705.841 2.647.710 58.131

Source: National Statistical Service of Greece (ESYE)/Processed by: G. Kritikidis, INE-GSEE/ADEDY.

NUMBERS EMPLOYED DURING SECOND QUARTER 2005 (by occupation)
  TOTAL MALE FEMALE TOTAL (%) MALE (%) FEMALE (%)
1 MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENTARY BODIES, SENIOR EXECUTIVES 451.276 335.041 116.234 10,3 12,4 6,9
2 MEMBERS OF SCIENTIFIC, ARTISTIC & RELATED PROFESSIONS 608.461 317.119 291.342 13,9 11,7 17,4
3 TECHNOLOGISTS, TECHNICAL ASSISTANTS 342.078 170.681 171.397 7,8 6,3 10,2
4 OFFICE WORKERS 498.719 210.978 287.741 11,4 7,8 17,2
5 SERVICE PROVIDERS & SALESPEOPLE 611.354 286.667 324.687 14,0 10,6 19,4
6 SKILLED FARMERS, LIVESTOCK FARMERS, FORESTERS AND FISHERIES WORKERS 525.352 299.902 225.449 12,0 11,1 13,5
NUMBERS EMPLOYED DURING SECOND QUARTER 2005 (by occupation)
  TOTAL MALE FEMALE TOTAL (%) MALE (%) FEMALE (%)
7 SKILLED TECHNICIANS 676.006 614.254 61.752 15,4 22,7 3,7
8 OPERATORS OF FIXED INDUSTRIAL EQUIPMENT, MACHINERY 323.801 291.006 32.794 7,4 10,8 2,0
9 UNSKILLED WORKERS, MANUAL WORKERS AND SMALL TRADESMEN 283.968 125.147 158.822 6,5 4,6 9,5
UNCLASSIFIABLE PERSONS 60.922 55.046 5.876 1,4 2,0 0,4

b) Please provide details of any survey evidence which shows the percentage of women in management and senior management positions (including the number of women who are Board Directors) by industrial sector.

According to data from the recent report of the European Commission on employment in relation to equality ( Report on equality between women and men, 2006. European Commission, Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities), the percentage of women in management positions fluctuated at very low levels in 2004 (around 25-26%), while showing a slight increase (of around one or two percentage points in relation to 1999).

3. Data on training and qualifications

In the Gender Perspectives Annual Review 2000, data was collected on the education levels of men and women across the member states. For member states that were covered in the 2000 annual review, we would like to update these figures. For new member states we would like to collect equivalent figures. Please refer to the 2000 annual review for more details (www.eiro.eurofound.europa.eu/2001/03/update/tn0103201u.html).

EMPLOYEES’ EDUCATION LEVEL IN 2005
Women
Employment Tertiary education Secondary education Primary education Never went to school
1.676.097 662.314 643.860 360.807 9.116
Men
2.705.840 782.307 1.268.281 645.067 10.185

b) Please provide information on the amount and duration of training provided by employers for men and women employees in 2005, by part time and full time work.

No recent data are available on in-company training. However, according to data from the latest European Commission report on employment in relation to gender (Report on equality between women and men, 2006. European Commission, Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities), women’s participation in lifelong learning in 2005 (for the four-week period before the research was carried out) fluctuated at very low levels (of around 2%). However, in this case no significant differences between men and women were noted.

4. The social partners and gender and careers

By and large it could be said that despite the positions put forward from time to time by the social partners, the actions announced and the initiatives they have taken, the issue of gender divisions in the labour market and any discrimination against women has not been a priority for them.

What are the views and opinions of the social partners in your country with regard to: i) gender segregation; ii) training and qualifications to promote equal career opportunities amongst men and women; iii) tackling gender discrimination in careers; and iv) encouraging the adoption of policies on gender and careers at company level?

On various occasions both the trade unions and the employer organisations have stated their positions on the abovementioned issues (or more generally on issues regarding female employment and the need to eliminate inequalities in the labour market). For example:

Trade union organisations (indicative)

It appears that one priority for the Greek General Confederation of Labour (GSEE) is the issue of reconciliation of working and family life. As GSEE notes in its demands for the 2006-2007National General Collective Labour Agreement (EGSSE): Reconciliation of working and family life is a vitally important aspect of quality of work, which at the same time relates to supporting and safeguarding equality between men and women.

As far as working mothers are concerned, GSEE is demanding that regulations be enacted and measures taken to open the horizons for working women for participation on an equal footing in the labour market, in decision-making, in production, in economic and social outcomes and in social organisations. Apart from measures on female unemployment, GSEE is demanding: a) elimination of gender-based division of labour and of discrimination in jobs, pay and training. b) Additional measures to protect motherhood. c) Creation of and support for extracurricular initiative centres, with initiatives by the state, labour centres/social bodies. d) Extension of the institution of all-day schools, one effect of which will be the improvement of the conditions for reconciliation of work and family for workingwomen.

)

In the context of his welcome address to the event held on the occasion of the signing of the Cooperation Protocol between the General Secretariat for Equality of the Ministry of the Interior, Public Administration and Decentralisation, the Federation of Greek Industries (SEV), the General Confederation of Greek Small Businesses and Trades (GSEVEE), the National Confederation of Greek Traders (ESEE), the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EBEA) and the Hellenic Network for Corporate Social Responsibility (EKE Network) regarding the promotion of equal opportunities for women and men in companies, the President of SEV stated the following: We at SEV believe in and promote equal treatment and equality of opportunity for men and women, for reasons not only of justice but also of cost effectiveness…. That is why SEV supports institutions and initiatives that correspond to the social awareness of contemporary enterprises and help create a work environment in which everyone enjoys equal rights, equal opportunities and the same incentives…. Important steps have been taken in the direction of equality, but undoubtedly many more must be taken. Women are not second-class employees. And putting this position into practice is not only a question of laws and initiatives. It requires – I stress once again – a change in mindset, a change in mentality.

The former President of SEV, in a speech at a conference of the General Secretariat for Equality on the subject of Gender equality and competitiveness: the role of companies (2005) stated that: The immediate implementation of the principle of equal treatment in the workplace may perceptibly benefit a company, since all kinds of discrimination directly translate into missed opportunities. When a company restricts the existing pool for drawing the necessary talent and human resources, it will not be in a position to benefit from its existing and/or future opportunities for growth. In any event, management of the diversity as well as the implementation of integrated equality schemes by companies falls within the context of their corporate social responsibility and at the same time has indirect and long-term positive effects on the company’s economic growth, as well as on promotion of social well-being.

ESEE has also proposed five measures to boost female employment: a) fully recording the actual labour market and the branches of the economy where the biggest percentages of undeclared work are seen, b) the model for supporting 25,000 part-time public service jobs must also be implemented in the private sector with all costs met for one year. The target group must be unemployed women over 35 wishing to enter the labour market, c) a programme to boost female employment, in retail trade in particular, d) creation of day nurseries in city centres, e) emphasis on social economy and boosting of female entrepreneurship aimed at creating micro-enterprises of this kind.

b) What policies have the social partners developed to promote career opportunities for women within their own organisations (internal)?

Although promotion of equality between men and women within the trade unions and employer organisations is frequently advocated, the statistical data on women’s participation in the so-called “power centres” shows the opposite to be the case. Although we have no data on the employer organisations, the data provided by the Research Centre for Gender Equality (KETHI) on women’s participation in the trade unions [GSEE, Confederation of Public Servants (ADEDY)] give a good indication of women’s participation:

GSEE CONGRESSES
  PARTICIPANTS MEN WOMEN %
25th (1989) 574 550 24 4,18
26th (1990 541 520 21 3,88
27th (1992) 497 478 19 3,82
28th (1995) 444 420 24 5,4
29th (1998) 431 405 26 6,03
30th (2001) 437 413 24 5,49
31st (2004) 473 441 32 6,77

Source: Research Centre for Gender Equality (KETHI).

GSEE ADMINISTRATION
CONFERENCE TERM TOTAL MEN WOMEN %
21st 1981-83 45 44 1 2,22
22nd 1983-86 45 43 2 4,44
23rd 1986-88 45 43 3 6,67
24th 1988-89 45 43 2 4,44
25th 1989-92 45 41 4 8,89
26th *        
27th 1992-95 45 40 5 11,11
28th 1995-98 45 41 4 8,89
29th 1998-01 45 43 2 4,44
30th 2001-2004 45 44 1 2,22
31st 2004-... 45 40 5 11,11

* The 26th was not an electoral conference.

Remarks:

1. The elections of the 24th conference were cancelled by decision No. 605/89 of the Athens Magistrates Court.

2. During the 1989-92 term 2 men resigned and 2 women took their places.

3. During the 1992-95 term 1 man resigned and 1 woman took his place.

4. During the 1995-98 term 1 woman resigned and 1 man took her place.

5. During the 1998-2001 term 1 man resigned and 1 woman took his place.

Source: Research Centre for Gender Equality.

GSEE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
TERM TOTAL MEN WOMEN %
1981-83 15 15 0 0
1983-86 15 15 0 0
1986-88 15 15 0 0
1988-89 15 15 0 0
1989-92 15 14 1 6,66
1992-95 15 12 3 20
1995-98 15 14 1 6,66
1998-01 15 15 0 0
2001-0 15 15 0 0
2004-... 15 15 0 0

Source: Research Centre for Gender Equality.

ADEDY ADMINISTRATION
CONFERENCE TERM TOTAL MEN WOMEN %
27th 1989-92 85 80 5 5,88
28th 1992-95 85 76 9 10,59
29th 1995-98 85 75 10 11,76
30th 1998-01 85 72 13 15,29
31st 2001-… 85 77 8 9,41

Source: Research Centre for Gender Equality.

In order to give some indication of the situation in the employer organisations, we would mention that only one woman is a member of the ESEE Board of Directors (on the audit committee) (the presidium and board of directors are made up entirely of men), whereas of the 20 members of the Board of Directors of SEV only 2 are women. Furthermore, of the 90 members of the SEV General Council (a consultative body) 13 are women. Finally, there is one woman member of the 53-member Board of Directors of GSEVEE.

c) What policies have the social partners, either individually or jointly developed to promote career opportunities for women in other organisations (external), with regard to: i) gender segregation; ii) training and qualifications to promote equal career opportunities amongst men and women; iii) tackling gender discrimination in careers; and iv) encouraging the adoption of policies on gender and careers at company level (for example, EQUAL)?

d) Are there any other examples of social partner activities directed at improving career opportunities for women, generally or specifically (for example, EQUAL)?

(Question c and d)

(Indicative) Joint initiatives

First and foremost the collective labour agreements may be considered to be the basic expression of the joint initiatives taken by the social partners to promote equal opportunities for men and women in the labour market. One indicative example is the National General Collective Labour Agreements, which contain regulations and/or commitments (on the taking of initiatives) that touch on the above questions.

The Cooperation Protocol signed by the General Secretariat for Equality, SEV, GSEVEE, ESEE, EBEA and the EKE Network may be considered the product of a joint initiative among various partners (except for the unions). This initiative is aimed at taking actions with a view to recording, building awareness of and finally addressing the phenomenon of unequal treatment of men and women in access to employment, and also in certain occupations, in vocational training, in career advancement, pay levels and terms and conditions of employment in general.

(Indicative) One-sided initiatives

From the side of the trade union organizations, GSEE, mainly via the Institute of Labour (INE) and the Vocational Training Centre of INE, has and continues to be a member and/or coordinator of various partnerships selected by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security to implement the EQUAL initiative in Greece.

It is also worth mentioning that the competent committees promote the policies and actions of GSEE on equality. After the 25th Congress of GSEE in March 1989, the first Women’s Secretariat was set up and began to operate in GSEE, and by decision of the second national conference of GSEE on women in December 1995 a Women’s Trade Unionists’ Network was set up in the Labour Centres and the Federations, with the political, financial and moral support of the Administrations.

From the side of the employer organizations, both SEV and GSEVEE are members of partnerships that were selected by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security for the implementation of the EQUAL initiative in Greece. For example, SEV was (in 2002-2004) one of the partners in the ATHINA Development Partnership, responsible for the implementation of a project regarding employment of women technicians in Greece (organisation of an Observatory for Women’s Employment in the technical professions, dissemination of the institution of Equality/Diversity Advisor in Greek enterprises, pilot training and mediation programmes for the placement, at the project’s expense, of women technicians in companies, promotion of new, alternative employment and training models). It was also a partner in the project entitled Equal Opportunities and Development: Creation of a mechanism to facilitate and support the process of incorporating the principle of equal opportunities in the employment environment, whose main objective was the creation of a mechanism to facilitate and support the process of incorporating equality policies in the company environment, through policies and practices for human resources management and development.

Also worth mentioning are initiatives such as the Charter of Rights and Obligations for Enterprises adopted by SEV in 2005. This Charter points out that it is an obligation of every enterprise to help create jobs, implement a meritocratic system for evaluating performance, promotions and pay, ensure good and safe working conditions with equal rights and opportunities for all, and respect the balance between working time and personal life.

5. National Centre view

Please provide a commentary on key developments in gender and careers in your country. In particular please give your assessment of the impact of legislation on promoting gender equality in careers and outline the biggest barriers to promoting gender equality in careers.

By and large, we have seen that in Greece the predomination of the traditional occupational careers model, in conjunction with multiple direct and indirect discrimination, create obstacles for the career development of women and their opportunities to occupy senior management positions in the job hierarchy. Although the statutory framework is quite well developed and affords some protection, the picture in enterprises, organisations, etc. is very different. For the time being the so-called good practices would appear to be an exception to the rule.

(Christina Karakioulafis, INE/GSEE)

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