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17 June, 2024
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Understaffing woes grip Cyprus' Shipping Deputy Ministry

The disparity in salaries compared to the private sector exacerbates the problem


Cyprus' public sector, particularly the Deputy Shipping Ministry, continues to grapple with significant understaffing issues, raising concerns about operational effectiveness, according to a report by Kathimerini reporter Andreas Karamitas published in Wednesday's Oikonomiki edition.

The shortage of personnel, particularly ship inspectors, poses a critical challenge to the Ministry of Shipping, which oversees one of the country's key industries, accounting for 7% of Cyprus's GDP. Currently, the ministry operates on the brink, with sources revealing a severe scarcity of ship inspectors. With approximately 35 inspectors currently in its ranks, five are set to retire this year, leaving only 30 to manage the operational demands of the ministry and staff its foreign offices.

Even efforts to fill existing vacancies, around nine according to recent announcements, fall short of meeting the staffing requirements.

The ministry's responsibilities are wide-ranging, including development and competitiveness of the maritime sector, safety and environmental protection, and integrated maritime ecosystem. Thus, the impact of understaffing within the ministry is more pronounced compared to other sectors dealing with domestic matters.

Furthermore, the disparity in salaries compared to the private sector exacerbates the problem. Potential appointments to the ministry, particularly ship captains, have been rejected due to significantly lower wages offered compared to what they could earn in the private sector.

Efforts to address the issue have been stymied by slow and convoluted public sector hiring processes in Cyprus, as well as freezes on positions due to political decisions unrelated to shipping.

Moreover, the qualifications required for filling these positions, such as experience at sea, are scarce, making vacancies even more challenging to fill and making the private sector much more attractive for potential employees.

The understaffing of public organizations in Cyprus is an escalating problem with severe consequences for their operations. It may lead to increased workloads for remaining employees, affecting the quality and efficiency of services provided by the public sector, loss of specialization and knowledge, and social impacts such as increased unemployment and reduced well-being for employees and their families.

[This article was translated and summarized from its Greek original]

Cyprus  |  shipping  |  positions  |  government  |  employment

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