Expats without a job in hand may struggle to find employment in Greece. Though Greece's unemployment rate is steadily declining, it remains significantly higher than other European countries such as Italy and Spain.
Non-EU expats will find it even more difficult to secure a job. Owing to the extra costs and paperwork involved with hiring non-EU citizens, most companies tend to hire employees from within the European Union. To overcome this, networking is key.
Job market in Greece
Greece's most prominent industries are traditionally within the service sector, which employs the majority of people and contributes the most to the country’s GDP. Industries such as food and tobacco processing, textiles and chemicals also make a significant contribution to the Greek economy.
Greece's tourism industry is thriving, with millions of tourists a year flocking to visit the marble statues and monuments of Ancient Greece, as well as holiday islands such as Santorini and Mykonos. However, jobs in the tourism industry are often seasonal, which can leave expats without an income in the quiet season.
Many expats teach English in Greece. This requires a bachelor's degree and may require a TEFL qualification. Working as a private tutor is an option, but doesn’t guarantee a regular income.
Finding a job in Greece
Most expats arrive in Greece with a job in hand, typically as the result of an intra-company transfer. However, those determined to find a job in the country should get in touch with local businesses and recruiting agencies. Online job portals and classified sections of local newspapers are a good way to scope out the job market, but are often not the best route for securing work. Greeks prefer to do business with people they know, so networking is key to finding a job in Greece.
Work culture in Greece
Expats may find Greek work culture markedly different to their own. Work culture in Greece is traditional and hierarchical, emphasising relationships, networking and first impressions. Successful expat workers present themselves professionally while exhibiting patience, friendliness and directness.
Greeks are known for a more lax approach to finer rules, with meeting agendas and end times typically seen as suggestions as animated deliberations go back and forth. While respect for the hierarchy is paramount, Greeks respect colleagues who are passionate advocates for their business choices.
►Learn about work culture by reading our page on Doing Business in Greece
"It depends on what you are looking for. Lots of work is found by word of mouth, so networking and socialising with other expats is the best thing to do. You never know what could be open in the corporate world or as a freelancer. You can't really compare the corporate opportunities to markets like the States. However, you never know what you may find if the timing is right."
Learn more about the expat experience in Greece in our interview with American expat Marissa.
Are you an expat living in Greece?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Greece. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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