The shortage of workers in tourism - Causes and pathologies

The tourism sector is one of the most profitable sectors of the Greek economy as it contributes 8% to GDP. of the country (T.T.E., 2020) and employs about 400,000 thousand people (EL.STAT., 2020) ie about 10% of the national human resources, creating job and career prospects for many young people in the industry especially when the Unemployment in our country reaches 16.5% and is the highest compared to other countries of the European Union.

The tourism sector and especially that of hotels is currently facing a major shortage of staff as many employees due to the changes caused by the pandemic and the pathologies of a tourism system that is no longer viable, choose to change their professional orientation, resulting in a continuous bleeding of executives from the sector and young people not choosing the tourism sector to pursue a professional career.

Non-compliance with workers' collective agreements is a common phenomenon in the industry, as many workers are paid less than what the law requires.

Causes and pathogenesis

The contraction of the tourist season that has occurred due to the pandemic in the last two years is one of the main reasons for the exit of workers in tourism as with its contraction in a period of 3 - 4 months at most and the uncertainty prevailing in the sector, they have seen their family budgets decrease dramatically and the influx of new workers has become more difficult.

But the pandemic also brought to the surface certain pathologies that were born in the last decades such as the lack of education in tourism by the educational structures of the state to prepare future executives in the sector for the post-tourism era we are entering.

The non-respect of workers' collective labour agreements is a common phenomenon in the industry, as many workers are paid less than what the law requires.

Working conditions in the workplace that disrupt the personal and work life balance of employees with workloads without any redistribution of tasks (Poor management), are the main causes and pathologies that the tourism sector is bleeding today and with the wishful thinking of those in power, nothing will ever be done.

Greece lives from tourism but has never opened a serious discussion about it.

The state must upgrade, modernize and make the educational structures more attractive in order to create the new generation of tourism executives by providing them with a modern form of education with all the skills they will need to cope with the new era of tourism in Greece.

Ensure compliance with the collective labour agreement to protect the worker.

Adopt a law to establish staff numbers according to hotel category and speciality.*

Retraining of existing executives on the new trends in the field of Management, HR, Marketing and the possibilities of the new tools that the digital age gives us, so that they can connect with the generation of Millennials and the Generation Z who enter tourism not only as workers but now constitute the largest percentage of our visitors.

Should hotels invest in the strategy of Employer Branding as the focus of HR management as it is a necessary prerequisite for dealing with rapidly increasing competition and managing their reputation, which plays a key role in creating effective communication, what we call "employee value proposition" (EVP).

So welcome to the new era of tourism in the Millennials era!

* Proposal of the union of hotel employees of Heraklion Prefecture.


Spokos Vasilis, MSc MSc


3win Action aims to organise actions that will contribute to knowledge sharing and social, environmental and economic sustainability.