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Tourism / The season starts with 55.000 job vacancies

The hotel industry is looking for 55.000 employees this tourist season in order to fill the existing business gaps, as its bodies emphasize. The problem with job vacancies this year appears slightly increased compared to 2021, when in a recent INSETE survey, at the peak of last season, 53.249 jobs were not filled out of the 244.124 jobs provided according to the organization chart in hotels. That is, the shortage rate was 22% or more than 1 in 5 jobs.
In fact, the hotel units have been engaged in a peculiar "endurance race", so that those who have not yet opened can be opened in the next period, but this is not to the detriment of the quality of the services provided. Soon, the FDI's research tool, the Institute for Tourism Research and Forecasting, will publish a survey describing the magnitude of the problem. Speaking to the Athens Agency, the president of ITEP, Konstantina Svinou, notes that since 2019 the problem had become apparent, since even then 20.000 vacancies had been counted in hotels, which finally filled the 16.000 jobs.
The pandemic exacerbated the problem
Since then, the pandemic has mediated, which has essentially maximized the existence of the problem this year, as it is emphasized. The contraction of the tourist season of 2020 and 2021 created conditions of insecurity for the majority of employees and led many of them to change jobs. Many foreigners who already worked in hotels, as Mrs. Svinou reports, left Greece and headed to other European countries. According to the president of POX (Panhellenic Hoteliers Federation), Grigoris Tassios, in recent statements stressed that the coronavirus pandemic, pushed many seasonal tourism workers, mainly between the ages of 25-35, to look for work in other sectors and mainly in them offered twelve-month and five-day work.
Former employees in hotels were directed to the short-term lease
At the same time, the boom in short-term rental in Greece, which was accompanied by a sharp increase in the supply of accommodation beyond the "traditional hotel", absorbed thousands of employees. As she explains to APE-MPE, the vice-president of XEE Christina Tetradi, now a large percentage of employees in the field of cleaning and catering of hotels chose salaries of more than 100 euros per day, without insurance, from the salaries of hotels. "A villa that is rented for 1.000 euros per day can offer a daily wage of 100 euros. At the same time, for example, a hotel that pays 40 euros per day, gives an additional 30 euros for the employee's insurance and other bookings ", said Ms. Tetradi, trying to shed light on the conditions prevailing in the labor market.
Chef not even for a sample
Giving the stigma of staff shortages, both Ms. Svinou and Ms. Tetradi point out that the lower working levels of hotels, such as catering services (waiters, cooks) and cleaning (maids, etc.) show the biggest shortages. The general secretary of the Athens Attica and Argosaronikos Hoteliers Association, Eugenios Vasilikos, characteristically notes that "there is no chef in the job search market, not even for a sample". Explaining the current situation, Mr. Vasilikos noted that most chefs have opened their own shops this year, while many have sought better salaries in Mykonos and Santorini or other large holiday resorts, leaving job vacancies in Athens. By "shedding light" on those areas, with vacancies, everyone agrees that areas with seasonal hotel units, such as the South Aegean region, Crete, the Ionian Islands, but also the Cyclades, suffer from staff shortages.
Many hotels restrict dining areas
What does this mean in practice? Ms. Svinou states that many hotels that may have 4 and 5 restaurants in the hotel portfolio may close 2 with all that this implies for the smooth operation of the business, and therefore the quality. Another irrational situation that may arise concerns the additional working hours of employees, always paid. It is not uncommon for workers to work weekends, as there is no replacement. "There are no freelance workers to come and work in hotels," says Ms. Svinou.
At this point, Ms. Svinou points out that the hotel industry has been unfairly targeted, in terms of salaries and working conditions. "The bad conditions that have seen the light of day do not concern the hotels, but other tourist businesses", adds Mrs. Tetradi. "Hotels have collective bargaining agreements, which in practice hoteliers give more than they stipulate. At the same time, the living conditions are very dignified for the employees, since a room is provided for two people and in no case are there conditions that offend human dignity, etc. ", says Ms. Svinou.
When asked how the current situation can be reversed, everyone points to the fact that with the recent decision, a product of the cooperation of the Ministries of Labor, Tourism and Sectors, where tourism companies will immediately submit the available positions to the Public Employment Service (OAED) will significantly help increase jobs. In this way it is emphasized that there will be a crossroads with those registered in the register of the Service and thus the filling of the positions will proceed, for the benefit of both the employees and the companies.
At this point, Ms. Svinou emphasizes that if it turns out that there are no Greeks available to fill the jobs, there should be care to come from abroad ", in order to fill the existing gaps. In addition, industry operators are calling for inspections by the Labor Inspectorate, not only in hotels, but also in short-term rental accommodation, where the gray economy is flourishing, with uninsured workers. "There is no hotel with an uninsured employee", notes the vice president of XEE. Ms. Tetradi, always referring to what will be born with the filling of vacancies in hotels, notes that the measure of subsidizing work must be restored. So that the hotelier can hire in May and October.
INSETE: Employment and shortages by specialty
50% of the total jobs that were not filled last year, ie almost 26.500 jobs, correspond to the specialties of waitress, receptionist, waiter, assistant waiter, laundry, barista and technical support / maintenance. Out of the total of 10.050 hotels in Greece, 38% (3.780 hotels) lacked at least one maid position, 30% (3.027 hotels) a receptionist, 27% (2.751 hotels) a waitress and 18% a waiter assistant (1.811) and barista (1.800).
Source: RES-EAP