12° Nicosia,
14 June, 2024

Workforce crisis grips Cyprus as 12,000 job vacancies surge

Shortages in hotel, catering, and retail industries spark joint appeal to simplify hiring procedures

Maria Eracleous

Maria Eracleous

In the hotel, catering, and retail sectors, an estimated 12 thousand personnel needs have prompted relevant professional associations to jointly appeal to the Ministry of Labour, seeking simplified procedures for hiring staff from third countries. According to sources, this plea follows a worsened situation post the decree on asylum seekers' employment in the labor market, despite the majority of hotels currently being closed. A clear understanding of these needs is anticipated by March, just before the official commencement of the summer tourist peak. The primary concern is the smooth operation of businesses and improved working conditions for existing staff. Shortages in hotels and catering establishments often result in service discounts and impact the economy's growth rate. KEBE's new president, Stavros Stavrou, notes the lack of staff as a significant issue, a topic to be discussed in tomorrow's press conference with professional associations.

Retail outlets:

Marios Antoniou, PASYLE secretary-general, highlights an estimated three thousand shortages in the retail sector. This problem is exacerbated by a decree from the Labour Minister in October, restricting employment for asylum seekers, especially in retail. There's limited flexibility to employ dismissed staff from other sectors, creating challenges. Companies, like those in Limassol, keen on hiring dismissed workers face obstacles. Work permits for staff from third countries face lengthy processes, up to six months. The absence of a clear plan from the Ministry of Labour to address this issue is evident.


The hotel industry faces its biggest challenge, with needs estimated beyond five thousand. PASYXE's director general, Philokypros Roussounidis, reveals staff shortages ranging from 20-40%, impacting the quality of service, particularly during the summer season. Despite 70% of hotels being closed in winter, the problem persists, necessitating immediate action to simplify procedures for permits for staff from third countries.


Fanos Leventis, Pancyprian Association of Leisure Centre Owners, explains a growing problem in both qualified and unskilled staff, with over 3.5 thousand leisure centers in need of 3-4 thousand jobs, especially during the summer season. This translates into every catering business searching for staff, resulting in a shortage of 1-2 employees per business. Large investment businesses remain closed due to the lack of staff, raising concerns.


Despite 12,274 job vacancies in the third quarter, an increase of 33.8%, concerns persist, particularly in administrative and support activities, information and communication, accommodation and food service activities, and wholesale and retail trade. The data, however, is from a sample check relating to the third quarter of 2023, with a timing discrepancy accounting for different estimates of the problem. Staff shortages also extend to specialized jobs, with 1,001 vacancies in scientific and technical activities, highlighting the depth of the issue.

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

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