Executive Search in Greece – 2015 Outlook

Positive Trends Behind the Turmoil

2014 has been a year of promise and renewed optimism in Greece, in that the downward economic trend has been drastically reduced, and the first signs of development have been seen in the last quarter, where official figures show a growth of 1.3%.   Recruitment activity and executive search in Greece, however, remain muted.

Tourism has soared both due to the reduction of prices in the country as well as the political unrest in the region (Egypt, Middle East etc.) and considerable initiatives are in place to export Greek product.  The internal reduction in wages and the gradual relaxation of labor law in combination with the skilled labor in Greece have created a favorable environment for investment in production facilities and other areas by Greek or foreign investors.

The shrinking of the public sector has provided important opportunities for investment by third parties, such as by Cosco and the Chinese in the Piraeus Harbor.  This has triggered a number of side investments and is gradually making the port one of the important entry points of goods into Europe.

However, this is being realized with a great deal of hardship to the people.  The unemployment rate is at 27% — 50% among young people – and is accompanied by lower wages and pensions and a dramatic increase of taxes, especially with regard to the ownership of Real Estate.

Although there are signs of economic improvement in the numbers, and these are also evident in the availability of jobs at an executive level, the effect has not yet impacted the 1.5 million unemployed in the country.   This has created substantial dissatisfaction and a significant swing of public opinion towards more extreme left or right wing schools of thought.

At the time of writing, negotiations over repayment of Greece’s debt to EU lenders were still unresolved.

Overall, the hit to the country’s GDP in the past five years is close to 30%.

February 2015