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Educated Greeks flock to Sweden to find work

27 Aug 2012, 10:47

Published: 27 Aug 2012 10:47 GMT+02:00

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”We have a lack of engineers here; there are not enough university trained engineers in Sweden to cover the demand,” said Peter Karancsi, of the European Job Mobility Portal EURES to Sveriges Radio (SR).

Fresh figures from the Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket) show that the number of Greeks registering as residents in Sweden doubled in 2011, compared to the year before.

And according to SR, almost 100 Greek medical doctors have received medical licenses in Sweden so far this year, more than from any other EU country outside of Scandinavia.

“I have a better chance fo getting a job here than in Greece,” said electrical engineer Charis Katsakakis, just arrived from Athens, to the broadcaster.

And despite being a recent graduate and not knowing any Swedish, his prospects of finding work in Sweden are good, Karancsi told SR.

“Many of the larger Swedish companies have trainee-schemes and also recruit for the future and there is a great chance of being accepted to these, even if you don’t speak fluent Swedish,“ he told SR.

However, for those without specialized knowledge, the situation is quite different.

“Everything felt hopeless in Greece, but it is no better here. And then I’d rather go home," said 25-year-old Vladimiros Pavlides to SR.

Pavlides arrived in Sweden last autumn but has so far only managed to find a part-time job as a cleaner.

Story continues below…

According to SR, the free movement over EU borders makes little difference when the labour market climate for those without specialized expertise is a lot tougher.

The Local/rm


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Your comments about this article

12:58 August 27, 2012 by towns
"We have a lack of engineers here; there are not enough university trained engineers in Sweden to cover the demand"

That's what you get when students are more interested in pursuing degrees in the Arts and Humanities and degrees like Psychology, Epistemology or Philosophy when you need engineers and technical specialists.

People who choose the easy way through university are in for a nasty surprise when they try to get a job after they graduate. ("OMG if I like study engineering I totally have to learn Calculus? Ewww")
12:58 August 27, 2012 by Abe L
So first they expect EU money to bail them out and then they leave their country to take other people's jobs? There are already plenty of educated people in Sweden that don't speak Swedish looking for a job, it's confusing to see these people state otherwise. At the end of the day it's better for them and everyone else if they where to stay in Greece and help fixing the mess that was made.
13:22 August 27, 2012 by cogito
Though I feel sad for the Greeks, I would like to see many more of these intelligent and graceful people here. Kalós orísate.
13:46 August 27, 2012 by andy_so
I dont see the problam here. Educated people that contribute to sociaty, why not?

Taking other peoples jobs? Appearnatly not, since they dont have enough engneers and doctors.... Sweden can defiantly accomodate people like these.

It more like people that come from war zones (if at all) that cant really adapt to the new life and culture and live of tax money we pay.

May i remind to all the commentators here on the local that we are all immigrants comming to sweden. You, we, are not better then these greeks.

As for the greeks comming to sweden i say welcome (and *cough, cough*, dont spend more than you earn)!
15:30 August 27, 2012 by Freelife
Do the Greeks speak good Swedish or English generally?
17:31 August 27, 2012 by Programmeny
Refering to what the first poster said (@town) I'm obliged to take a stand against such rampant ignorant opinions.

Firstly, you're clearly biased against these kinds of degrees because you consider them to be the easy way and/or inferior to engineering degrees. This is false and wrong for several reasons.

First, it is widely known that people have a certain inclination towards math or a creative/humanistic and social side since an early age. It's very hard and in the same time unproductive to change that. That being said, a person who has always focused on math and liked it, will find an engineering degree to actually be the "easy way" and not the humanistic degree. In the same way, people who have always been good with words, social, and strategic thinkers or have had a different skillset leaning towards a humanistic approach rather than a mathematical one, will always find a humanistic degree to be the easy way, and not an engineering one.

Second, both degrees require substantial amounts of time and effort. None of them are "easy" (well that certainly depends on the college too). But the effort in humanistic degrees is put in: quantitative statistics, qualitative statistics, human psychology, academic writing, presentation skills, strategic thinking and more specialized subjects depending on the field.

Thirdly, YOU CANNOT SEAPARATE engineering and humanistic degrees. There's no easy way out. They are just different, cannot be separated because neither one works without the other.

If you have a world only with engineers and mathematicians and Calculus experts and astronomers then you wouldn't have a nice home because there would be no designers to think, design and create the furniture, carpets and everything there. You would be bored to death because there would be no entartainment industry, no creatives in the advertising industry (which supports many of the shows you watch), no media planners, no media buyers, no marketing researchers which know what the audience wants and when it wants it.

You wouldn't even have a job as an engineer, because a product in its bare form is of no use to anyone. That product needs a final design which is appealing to the eye, that product needs marketing people to actually place it on the market, that product needs packaging, manuals, advertising, that product needs to be known, and needs to be user-friendly. That product needs psychology for ease-of-use and consumer insight behind it.
18:42 August 27, 2012 by towns
@ Programmeny (#6)

My comment derived specifically from individual cases I know who didn't want to go into engineering because they thought it was "hard since you needed math" and ended up going into what they thought was easier and would later be unemployed for well, to this day actually.

Their opinions, not mine.
20:38 August 27, 2012 by muugii
@ Programmeny very good point indeed. @ towns I know some individual cases that other way around, who chose math related majors and ended up without job. Also I know that it would be stupid to generalize such individual cases.
21:57 August 27, 2012 by frenchviking
Welcome to our Greek neighbours! It is good for Sweden and for us to have qualified people coming here to contribute to the economy and pay taxes.

Sweden should encourage more qualified immigrants to come here and limit the amount of immigrants for which the probability of finding a job is low. We need more tax payers to make it possible for Sweden to maintain the social protection as it is.
23:11 August 27, 2012 by muugii
@frenchviking. Those who manipulate the social welfare, who has low skill - so called 'unwanted' are contributing to the system some other way. Having many children, filling odd job positions are contribution as well, those children will grow-up and will maintain this system in future, your 70kr dagens lunch would have been more expensive without those who work for 50kr/tim or less. Yet, you say Greeks are qualified? As I understand they are from a country with over generous public spending(which is the reason of their failure), that means they are accustomed to welfare system in some degree, so their intention to come here could be Swedish attractive welfare system as well. Anyway, highly qualified people choose emerging markets as their target, not Sweden alike.
00:36 August 28, 2012 by Marc the Texan
Don't believe the hype. There is no shortage of engineering talent. Companies just do not want to pay engineers what they are worth. That is why engineers trade up to management or other industries. Some of us decide to go into business for ourselves. Big business wants cheap labor. If you've been in an engineering field for any length of time, you know all about training your low cost replacements who lack talent, but don't mind low wages.

If you listen to the executive suite, they'll tell you the entire western world is lacking engineering talent. And conveniently enough, some well known, low wage countries are producing a surfeit of engineering talent every year. What an amazing coincidence.

There is a mechanism in the labor market that solves shortages quickly and efficiently. It's called the price system. AKA paying salaries that the market demands.
05:59 August 28, 2012 by SecondGen
I gotta agree with 'Marc the Texan'

Generally speaking, no one is out of engineers, there simply is a shortage of engineers who are willing to work at third world rates.

It's the same way in the USA. Companies complain that there aren't enough trained people, but there really are, they just don't want to pay them close to what they were earning in the past because they can hire H1b at half the rate.

The downward spiral some of my coworkers have gone thru in the last 4 years after IBM sold us to a G.E. joint venture is atrocious, especially when you consider who the 'job czar' is in the USA!
15:38 August 28, 2012 by Swedishmyth
What's the incentive for skilled people to come to Sweden rather than some other Western country such as Germany, Switzerland, US, Denmark etc.?
18:58 August 29, 2012 by D.Volt
Hello i am a greek and im really intrested to emigrate in Sweden. First i would like to answer Mr.Freelife's question most of the greeks speak English but they dont speak Swedish also i will try to answer some questions from the other users aswell. Im 22 and soon i will have my Electric Enginieer Degree. I dont have any chance to find a job here in greece and even if i am lucky enough i will get paid for 400 euro/month not really enough to rent your own studio and i will have no insurance. I cant stay here and try to solve a mess that other people created and gained from it, cause there are many people who gained a lot of black money or they gained jobs as civil servants doing nothing at all and geting some sallaries over 3000 euros/month. I am thinking of Sweden cause of the social protection the good economy and high education level of its citizens. I do not want to steal a job from a Swedish citizen for less money i just believe that in Sweden i will have a chance to get a decent job with my degree and i hope that in sweden my job, if i find one will pay for my insurance dont ask me all the time to do things that i will not get paid for, pay for my overtime and treat me with respect. Those things do not exist anymore in greece (rather i would say they never existed). Also have no fear corrupted greeks who are used on black money not paying taxes and are used in the greek corrupted system will not try to emigrate and even if they try they will not be able to keep up with the loyalist swedish sociaty. I will like to know if there are really job spots in sweden for people like me.
12:15 August 30, 2012 by Migga
@ D.Volt

You are looking to try and settle in a foreign country where you have no ties at all? You don`t have any insight or experience about the culture in the country? You don`t know the language? You have no family, friends or other social ties to the country? You have never worked in the country before? You have never studied in the country before? You have never visited the country before?

I`d say that you are making things alot harder for you. Please don`t become hatefull towards the country or it`s people when things get tough.
14:10 August 30, 2012 by D.Volt
Ofcourse i will not get hatefull, ofcourse i am ready for tough situations, emigrating is not easy at all i dont expect to find paradise there. I have allready some relatives settled there and some swedish people i allready know. Also i will try to do my degree practise in sweden, thats possible. I am lucky for those things. About the culture and the people i am trying to check it out through reading and internet. Even if i hadnt, there arent any other options pretty much when you emigrate you dont have enough information for the place you are going even if you visited the place before. And there is allways the posibility of coming back to greece if i dont like the place(i dont believe this will happen). If i stay here i will not have a job or i will have to work as bartender withought insurance and not enough money to live alone.
14:16 August 30, 2012 by cogito

If you do a search on back TL articles and comments, you will see that Sweden is a hard place for non-Swedes because of rampant xenophobia. Almost any other country would welcome you, your culture and your education. Have you considered the U.K.?
09:48 August 31, 2012 by Migga
@ cogito

So you think the comments on this site is representative of Sweden when anyone around the world could be writing them?
18:07 September 2, 2012 by D.Volt
Well there is allways xenophobia on poor immigrants almost in every country its not strange, xenophobia doesnt exist only in big citys like london where there is a cultural mix but in those cities the living standart is low. You should see how they treat immigrants in greece you will be really suprised. Well yes i gathered some information from other countrys that i have also some ties with some friends and relatives that live there. I am interest in emigrating in a country that has a welfare state with meritocracy and social protection, an educated sociaty where i can live peacefully in a good living standart. Thats why i will try sweden first. I think sweden at the moment can offer me more than other europian countrys. From what i know from my relatives in sweden you are quite friendly and you allready have many immigrants. I cant get a clear point from these posts though some people are wellcoming immigrants and seem preety friendly and other are not so happy about it. I can clearly see though that all opininions are formulated in a genteel way you seem really kind and thats quite enough for me. I am young so i can give it a shot i got nothing to lose i can only gain from this experiance.
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