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18/10/2019: Brain Drain and the Shortage of Talent

I remember almost nine years ago when I left Greece to go to Romania, not because I did not have a good job in Greece but because a very interesting opportunity was presented to me. Back then, Greece was starting to exhibit the first signs of what was about to follow. In all the surveys we run with Senior Executives in Greece, only a very small percentage was willing to relocate abroad, and we could not find executives willing to relocate to Romania. The unemployment rate was at 14% and the Youth unemployment rate was at 32%.  In the following years all of that changed and a very big number of executives and graduates left the country. At the same time, the unemployment rate reached a high of 28% and Youth unemployment of 58%.

Currently, unemployment continues to recover, albeit at low pace; the labor market situation is improving with the unemployment rate down to 18%, but the long-term unemployment remains stubbornly high. (European Commission Mach 2019)

The economic crisis has left little choice to high caliber executives but to seek career opportunities outside Greece. At the same time, employers have done very little to keep talent here. We are constantly asked by our clients to locate talents for them because they are all facing a shortage of good executives. This shortage of talent is a result of people leaving Greece but, at the same time, the required competences required also change very rapidly. Technology is advancing at a very high pace and we need to adjust and constantly be learning. The customer becomes the core in all business sectors, and we must train our people to become the talents we need. In a recent survey conducted by SESMA when participants were asked if they are or intend to attend any form of training in the near future, only 14% replied that their company has planned a training for them. What is very important is that 24% replied that they will attend some form of training on their own. This shows that they feel they need extra skills/competences and, since their companies are not investing into providing those trainings, they are willing to do it on their own. So, investing in our people is a key component to keeping them and helping them become our future talents.

Another factor that makes Greece a less favorite workplace is that, unfortunately, we are very slow in adapting to new work patterns. Flexibility is the key. Working hours, remote work, and work-life balance are part of the decision-making process of joining a company. Additionally, the culture within a large percentage of companies is not good, including several big multinational companies. Why is that? The answer is lack of all the above. So, do you want to keep complaining about Brain Drain and the Shortage of Talent or you want to act upon it? The choice is yours!

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