Brain Gain report: Greece aims to bring back its best and brightest

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Brain Gain report: Greece aims to bring back its best and brightestPrime Minister and New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis wanting to recruit some of Greece’s best who have their name and mark in other countries

ATHENS – Losing hundreds of thousands of people who fled Greece during nearly decade-long economic and austerity crisis, their country wants some of them back, especially young, skilled professionals as the country’s population is shrinking fast.

With Prime Minister and New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis wanting to recruit some of Greece’s best who have their name and mark in other countries, the Labor Social Affairs Ministry announced a plan to get them to return.

The centerpiece is subsidizing otherwise meager monthly salaries that were cut repeatedly during the crisis that began in 2010 with European Union funds, for professionals and other skilled people, said.

Greece’s labor social affairs ministry on Monday unveiled an initiative aimed at repatriating some of the thousands – according to some estimates, tens of thousands – of younger, highly skilled professionals that emigrated from the country over the past decade during a punishing economic, political and social crisis.

Other highlights of the initiative, called Rebrain Greece: The Technological Transformation of the Labor Market, include a target of initial recruitment of 500 expatriate Greeks with recognized international scientific and professional experience and post-grad academic credentials – and aged between 28 and 40, said the business newspaper Naftemporiki.

Eligible employers are companies active in the Greek market that could make use of an element that offers a minimum 3,000-euros ($3324.45) per month salary, almost three times what some state teachers and doctors get.

Entrepreneurs especially have been held down by the country’s notorious clientelist state that rewards those with loyalty to ruling parties and not on merit as Mitsotakis said would be the hallmark of his government even as was accused of making political appointments.

In March, this year, the consequences of losing talented people were noted in a report from the company Oxford Analytica that found in 2016, about 20,000 people aged between 25 and 29 left Greece. About 14,000 others aged between 20 and 24 also left the country in the same year, data from analytics company Oxford Analytica showed. These figures are roughly twice as much as they were prior to 2010.

“Some kids are educated, and they don’t find jobs, so they are going to (the rest of) Europe, which is a loss for Greece. But we hope they come back again in 20 years,” a 57-year-old man identified only as Nikolas told CNBC in the famous shopping parade Ermou Street.

In June, a study from ICAP People Solutions about the brain drain phenomenon found that critics said Greece’s leaders hadn’t promoted people with skills, favoring their friends and others who could benefit them.

The crisis was a key factor in their leaving but not as much as the inability to get ahead or deal with the endless corruption which requires payoffs and bribery and other wrongdoing as a means to prosper.

Respondents who said they emigrated for professional reasons, but then returned to Greece, cited “family reasons,” such as obligations with parents or children.

The profile of younger professionals who left Greece for jobs abroad showed that 92 percent are degree holders, and 60 percent said they emigrated after having first worked in Greece.

The majority selected the United Kingdom, followed by other European Union countries to continue their career although some have picked the United States as well as Australia, which has a sizeable Greek heritage population.

Most of those who departed left for jobs in the Information Technology sector, construction, energy, and financial insurance, followed by education and healthcare the study showed.

Roughly half said they have worked abroad for more than three years, and one-third said they do not intend to return to Greece on a permanent basis.

The electronic survey of 1,068 Greeks living in 61 countries showed that 53 percent have Masters degrees, while 20 percent have completed undergraduate studies. Another 8 percent have PhDs.

Around half are under the age of 35, while 23 percent are supervisors, 10 percent are senior executives and another 10 percent are managers.

The overwhelming majority (88 percent) of those questioned have been living abroad for more than a year, with 59 percent having prior work experience in Greece.

Read more at thenationalherald.com

RELATED TOPICS: GreeceGreek tourism newsTourism in GreeceGreek islandsHotels in GreeceTravel to GreeceGreek destinationsGreek travel marketGreek tourism statisticsGreek tourism report

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons License: CC-BY-SA Copyright: Tilemahos Efthimiadis

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