After almost ten years of dealing with an unprecedented financial crisis and the subsequent Covid-19 pandemic impact, Greece must now upgrade its position within the technologically, geopolitically and productively evolving new international division of labor and break the recent pattern of geographical human capital flight plaguing the country.
With innovation and digital transformation at the heart of a national development strategy beginning to show promising signs, we must now move on to the next level, the knowledge economy. The country should continue to push on investments with a focus on retaining the existing brilliant minds, the educated professionals and the surplus of graduates, stopping the brain drain which has caused the most productive part of Greek society to leave the country in the past years. It is therefore critical for growth to support the conditions that create high-level employment positions, to provide the incentives to bring back those who have left while at the same time attracting new qualified individuals.
We need businesses with a people-centric core philosophy
In today’s globalized and highly competitive economic environment, creating quality employment positions and providing opportunities for professional development and attractive compensation terms are prerequisites for growth. We need businesses with a people-centric core philosophy, businesses that invest in their human resources, with a focus on maintaining positive employment conditions, offering a career path and providing advancement opportunities. Creating a sustainable high quality employment environment can only be supported by the transformation of the country’s economic model.
In addressing the brain drain, it is very important to upgrade academic institutions with an outward-facing perspective, a focus on technology and research and connect them with the real economy in a meaningful and sustainable way. A major challenge for companies coming to Greece has been the existing disconnect between higher education and the job market, leading to missed opportunities for the companies as well as for the graduates.
Apart from the necessary professional opportunities, a good standard of living and quality of life are equally important factors in the decision for professionals to return or come to the country. Unfortunately, problems with health and education standards, fundamental issues like the timely administration of justice, a lack of transparency and meritocracy, among others, often outweigh the definite advantages of the country’s weather, natural environment, and way-of-life.
It is, therefore, necessary to move towards a more evolved version of our country that is more productive, more efficient, more transparent, more digital, and more extroverted. To achieve this, there has to be proper coordination between the private and public sectors and the education community with a focus on the development of the younger generation using targeted sectoral policies to support employment specialization. It should be noted that in recent years, there have been encouraging developments, along with the considerable opportunities presented by the Recovery and Resilience Fund, which we need to build on. The tools are available, but it is crucial that we utilize them not only to reclaim our skilled workforce but to also transform Greece into an attractive destination for highly skilled individuals.