Published in STUDIES

C.N. Kanellopoulos, K.G. Mavromaras, T.M. Mitrakos. 2003. | ISBN: 960-341-044-6


The main subject of the study is the analytical documentation and explanation of the relationships between education and the labour market in 1990s. The main dimensions of these relations are related to the extent to which education increases individuals’ labour market attachment, (measured by labour force participation, employment and unemployment) and their pay. Moreover, the transition from education to the labour market includes interesting dimensions regarding the response of the fιρστ to the latter’s needs, and on the graduates’ expectations and desires. In the study before the empirical examination of these issues in corresponding chapters, after the introductory chapter, the relevant theoretical background is presented critically, while summary and conclusions are presented in the last chapter. Some of the main findings of the study are the following.

The population educational level (age 14+) displays a remarkable increase during 1990s. In the age group 25 – 29, which as a rule includes those who have completed their studies and are in their early career years, one out of three has completed secondary education, while one out of five higher education. In comparison to other south European countries Greek population has higher educational level, but lower than the average EE15. On the other hand 12.2% of the 15 – 19 age group have not completed compulsory education (demotiko and gymnasium), even though they should, while this percentage for those aged 20 – 24 turns out to be 10.4%, with clearly lower for the case of females and urban areas. Thus school dropping out from compulsory education is remarkable and higher for boys and rural areas. Women starting from lower levels are gaining higher rates of growth of their educational level. And at the same time broaden their participation in male dominated scientific branches

Unemployment rates are differentiated systematically and inversely to the educational level, even though there are significant differences within the same educational level. While the whole unemployment rate in 1997 as 10.7%, for certain university graduates their unemployment was at such a low level to be interpreted as frictional unemployment, while for other university graduates their unemployment reaches the general level. Taking into consideration that the longer the studies the later they enter the labour market, it seems that all the corresponding young groups face serious unemployment problem, but for certain groups the unemployment problem follows them for many years.

The lion’s share of the most educated personnel is employed into the various service branches, which as a rule produce non internationally traded products, while branches which produce internationally tradable products, like agriculture and manufacturing, do not attract remarkably educated personnel. Such branch and education employment distribution reflects the structure and development level of the Greek economy as well as its development deficit.

Unemployment does not hurt graduates of medicine schools, while graduates of polytechnic, law and economics departments display remarkably declining unemployment rates as they move away from their graduation year. This is the case for human sciences and teachers graduates where unemployment persists even after three years since their graduation.


From those who completed their studies during the period 1996-98 and were employed in 1999 relatively high percentages are concentrated mainly in trade (20.8%), real estate and business (11.2%), hotels and restaurants (9.8%), as well as in manufacturing (11.3%). Employment concentration of those recently exiting educational system is generally higher than that of the total employment in service
branches, while the opposite holds for the rest economic activity branches, especially agriculture, industry and construction as well. It turns out that employment changes between branches of economic activity occur through the direction of new labour market entrants towards branches with increasing employment rather than towards employment declining branches. The various economic activity branches are selective regarding the educational qualifications of the newly hired. Agriculture and generally primary sector attracts personnel with relatively law education, while real estate and business, health and social welfare, as well as education absorb personnel with relatively higher education.

Our findings show that the transition from education to the labour market is not so successful. This conclusion is reaffirmed comparing relevant Greek indices to those of other European countries. The difficulties that face young Greek during their transition to the labour market, as measured by the percentage and duration of employment for the age groups 16 – 19 and 20 – 24, are from the highest in the OECD countries.

Average wages consistently increase along the education level. The higher the education level, the higher the mean wages. Wages as a rule and independently of the education level initially increase with the age up to as certain point, which corresponds to the age of 50 – 60, and then decline. The higher the education level the higher the wage increase during the first employment decades. Wage changes turn out negative during the last employment years.

Returns to education are sizeable and vary between 4 – 7% for males and 5 – 10% for females. While in 1974 university graduates displayed relatively higher returns than other education levels, it seems that they subsequently lost this advantage and regained it in 1999. For 1999, the most recent available information, it is estimated that education internal rates of return remain significant (from 5 – 8% for males and almost 4 – 8% for females) and generally are negatively related to educational level. Estimates of internal rate of return show that secondary education does not fall short compared to the higher one. Thus, the allocation of the limited public resources according to this criterion does not imply transferring of resources from secondary to third education level. The opposite movement might appear more efficient for the population welfare.