News / Europe

    Greece Suffers Brain Drain as Youths Hunt for Work

    A protester writes graffiti which reads 'Thieves'' outside the Greek Parliament during a peaceful rally for a 15th day, called through a social networking site in Athens, June 8, 2011
    A protester writes graffiti which reads 'Thieves'' outside the Greek Parliament during a peaceful rally for a 15th day, called through a social networking site in Athens, June 8, 2011

    Greece is in economic turmoil and its young people that are hardest hit. Over 40 percent of those aged 15 to 24 are unemployed. Many are responding by leaving their homeland to find work overseas and that could have broad repercussions for Greece.

    Areti is a 28-year-old Greek who worked at an Athens-based production company until two years ago. Since then she has not been able to find permanent work.  

    “What I see now, really many people think about this and one of them is me, is that many young people are seriously thinking to go abroad, to leave Greece once and for all,” said Areti.

    Today, she is living in Athens with her boyfriend. But they have plans to move to Australia in order to find work. She says many of her friends have similar plans.

    The Greek government is implementing an austerity plan that includes spending cuts and tax hikes. Business has plummeted and unemployment has spiked.

    The youngest adults in Greece have been worst affected. A poll conducted last year found that seven out of ten Greek College graduates want to work abroad. And prospects for young people are not getting any better, according to Areti.

    “This is something very sad and very disappointing for Greece," said Areti. "Our parents never wanted us to go abroad and to make families so far away.”

    Lois Labrianidis is a regional economist at the University of Macedonia. He recently published a book about Greek “brain drain”. He says many of the most educated in Greece are leaving.

    “Many more than before are deciding that they don't have real prospects to find a job in Greece," said Labrianidis. "That's why they are leaving the country. They are going to mainly developed countries, mainly the U.S. and the U.K., in order to find a job as professionals.”

    He says Greece is losing its talent and, he says, that bodes poorly for the country’s future.

    But he says there could be good news too. Many young Greeks are heading overseas but he says there are also large numbers leaving big cities and returning to their family homes in the countryside.

    There, he says they are re-joining family businesses or starting up new ventures.

    “If this trend is going to increase I think it's going to be a very positive trend for the rural areas of the country," said Labrianidis. "And at the end, this will help facilitate the development of the country as a whole.”

    But he notes that young people are not heading to the countryside out of choice but because they feel they have to.

    In Greece, young people are angry about the state of the country’s economy.

    Areti says many young Greeks feel the system is corrupt, the private sector is stagnating, and meritocracy is not at work.  

    Thousands have been gathering in a main square outside the Athens parliament for almost two months in protest.

    “I think that when you have a lot of energy and you cannot work, things are going to get worse," said Areti. "Now, you have the gatherings in the squares, tomorrow I cannot say what we are going to have. But I see that there is a lot of anger in all the youth here.”

    That anger has erupted in recent months, with young people and the police clashing on the streets of Athens. With youths at the center of protests across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa over the past year, it’s a demographic the Greek government may have reason to worry about.

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora