The great rise in construction in the last two years has led to a great increase in the unutilized amount in technical companies, a great increase in the added value of businesses and the sector, but it has also created a significant problem from the lack of staff. The desertification of the industry in the last decade due to the economic crisis shows its results as the exponential growth of the object caught the industry completely off guard.

According to construction sources, the promotion of large projects both by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport and by other agencies, will require armies of thousands of workers who, however, do not seem to be available in the Greek market.

Today, projects worth more than 10 billion euros are up for tender, while many more are waiting in “queue”. At the same time, the investment in Elliniko has begun to take off with projects that exceed 3.3 billion euros, while the “building” is constantly rising with new apartment buildings under construction “growing” everywhere. It is estimated that in 2024 the unutilized amount of the 5 big groups can climb to 15 billion euros.

Shortages at all levels of employment

At the level of the scientific staff, a so-called brain-gain has been observed, i.e. employees who left Greece and return again seeing the opportunities that open up in construction.

As noted, the shortages are found at all levels of personnel, but the most important problem lies in technical and labor personnel who are, after all, the largest portion of those employed in the construction sector.

In the case of skilled craftsmen and workers who often have experiential knowledge, time is needed for the necessary training from the time someone is hired until they can safely work on construction sites.

At present the extent of this shortage does not seem to have an effect yet as the construction boom is dynamic and new projects are constantly being added to the lists of big budget projects being tendered.

In the market, as executives of the construction industry confirm, companies hiring personnel from abroad are starting to increase, a practice which has been known for years. However, the increase of needs in human resources, also requires further moves such as transnational agreements with third countries (outside the EU).

The same executives stress that an increase in salary costs is imminent due to the lack of human resources as there is already a “battle” for many positions to be filled. They even believe that the losers from this story will be the smaller companies that will not be able to cope with the greatly increased costs.

It should be clarified that the problem with the lack of personnel is not only found in the construction sector but also in other dynamic sectors of the economy such as tourism, services and restaurants. It is a more general phenomenon that appeared after the first wave of the covid-19 pandemic.

The prices of the materials

The other burning issue of the sector is the increased prices seen in raw materials and fuels. Although prices seem to have deflated somewhat, competent sources in the technical sector estimate that they will remain at high levels for the next two years.

At the same time, projects that are executed with contracts before 2021 and especially before 2018, find it particularly difficult to execute the projects due to the large differences in the prices of materials between then and now.

The Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport proceeded with the necessary legislation in 2021 which smoothed the situation and now the operation of the Price Observatory is expected which will fully balance this situation.

The same sources state that its staffing and the placement of the Board of Directors are urgent. pointing out that its orderly operation will require a period of months until it can organize itself and take the situation into its own hands.

The Electronic System for the Determination of the Costs of Production Factors of Technical Works (Price Observatory) will be the one that regulates and adjusts, upwards or downwards, the prices automatically through a transparent and reliable system.

In this way, the systematic classification and uniform coding of construction products and their suppliers will be achieved, as well as the establishment of a reliable invoicing and price monitoring mechanism for construction materials, machinery rentals and hourly wages of construction personnel.


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