Career Days “WELCOME 2023” at Serafio of the City of Athens: Job-finding “window” for more than 500 refugee and migrant candidates

– Networking with 42 companies from various sectors

– More than 2.500 interviews in 2 days

With a record number of companies participating compared to any previous year, the “WELCOME 2023” Career Days were completed at Serafio of the City of Athens. More than 500 candidates and 42 companies from sectors including tourism, catering, technology, food production and product transport participated in this year’s 3rd event, which connected employers with refugees and migrants.

The event took place on March 27 and 28 at the initiative of the Athens Coordination Center for Migrant and Refugee issues (ACCMR) with the support of the International Organization for Migration in the framework of the HELIOS program and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The following stakeholders also collaborated for the organization of the event: ActionAid, Caritas Hellas, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), International Rescue Committee (IRC), ITHACA, Solidarity Now, “Nostos” Organization for Social and Cultural Support of Returned Expatriates, Migrant Integration Center of the City of Athens (KEM), METAdrasi.

High demand in various sectors

During this period, there is a high demand for human resources in many production sectors of the Greek economy regarding various specialties. The companies that participated in the event highlighted the importance of ensuring good working conditions and providing additional training, in order to recruit the necessary number of employees, including those without previous relevant experience.

Candidates had the opportunity to introduce themselves and give their resumes to companies engaging with hotel units, catering, transport and storage, sales, food processing, human resources, telecommunications, software technology etc.

Indicatively, the specialties for which companies showed interest in are customer service, salespersons, programmers, cleaners, kitchen staff, waiters, reception staff, administrative staff, drivers, care staff, security staff, technicians, and production/warehouse workers.

These are companies that operate all over Greece, especially in Attica, the Aegean and Ionian islands, as well as in Crete and Halkidiki.

Deputy Minister of Migration and Asylum, Sofia Voultepsi, was present at the event and pointed out:

I believe that we are in a very good position, and we can say that we are training people for specific jobs that are very important for the Greek economy and in which there is a shortage of workers. Greece became the only European country that uses funds from the Recovery Fund for the training of refugees and migrants in sectors of the Greek economy. Every refugee or migrant who can find a job not only solves his personal problem, but also takes part in the development of the country’s GDP. When we pay attention to migration issues, we can face these challenges together and workers can find a job in Greek companies. It is an effort that we will all continue together”.

The Mayor of Athens, Kostas Bakoyannis, who visited the venue of the event, had the opportunity to talk with the representatives of the participating companies. In his statement he said: “Finding work that ensures decent conditions is the biggest and most essential step for the empowerment and self-reliance of people. Being able to stand as equals among equals. Being effectively and fruitfully integrated into society. We sincerely thank everyone who participated in this important event and contributed to its success”.

The President of KYADA and Special Advisor to the Mayor of Athens for the Support and Social Integration of Migrants and Refugees, Melina Daskalakis, emphasized the importance of the active participation of production stakeholders in the effort to integrate migrants and refugees into the labor market. “Businesses, especially in the region,” she said, “are looking for workers and it is the duty of the local government to facilitate the mobility of those interested, so that the demand meets the labor supply, for mutual benefit, but also for the benefit of the local and national economy”.

For his part, the Chief of IOM Greece Mission, Gianluca Rocco, highlighted: “The third consecutive organization of the ‘Career Days’ event validates the constant interest of companies to employ refugees and the continuous need to support and create links between refugees and employers in the country. IOM will continue to cooperate with the Ministry of Migration and Asylum, the City of Athens and other municipalities of the country and with UNHCR in this direction. Growth in sectors such as the private sector and trade is vital for inclusive and sustainable societies and the proper management of migration can contribute in this dynamic and can constitute a driver of sustainable development for Greece, which, like other countries, continues to recover from the pandemic”.

Maria Clara Martin, Representative of UNHCR in Greece, noted: “Career Days are an important step in promoting the employability and empowerment of people, who may have left everything behind, but carry with them their talents and skills, determined to rebuild their lives, work and contribute. We are particularly pleased that this year’s event emphasizes on women. We see again and again that refugee women face multiple discriminations in accessing employment. But when they have the opportunity to work, they can bring about change for themselves, their families and their communities. UNHCR will continue to support the National Integration Strategy and work with central authorities, municipalities, other UN organizations, NGOs, refugee communities and the private sector in order to ensure that refugees can have progress.”.

Parallel activities for companies and candidates

This year’s event had a special focus on promoting equal employment opportunities for women with innovative empowerment workshops from the company “My Ikigai”, the organizations “Woment on Top” and “IRC”, as well as fashion editor Kelly Novak.

METAdrasi provided creative activities for children by meeting their care needs while the parents participated in the interviews and at the same time highlighting the difficulty that mothers with young children and single-parent families face in finding a job. A group of UNHCR employees provided information on labor and legal rights.

In order to facilitate the connection between employers and people with a refugee background, the Adama digital platform has recently been available, which was presented by UNHCR in collaboration with the organization “Catholic Relief Services” (CRS). Businesses were also informed by IOM regarding the labor rights of third-country nationals and the applicable legal framework, while METAdrasi shared useful tips for a more inclusive working environment. At the same time, the companies “Domes Resorts & Reserves”, “World of Hyatt Inclusive Collection” and “Paramana” share good practices for the inclusion of women in the working environment in panels moderated by ActionAid and SolidarityNow.

PARTICIPATING COMPANIES WITH INTERVIEWS: Aegeo Spas, Domes Resorts, McDonalds Sani/Ikos Group, Vasia Hotels, Alterego Facilities Management, FDL Group, MINOIS Hotel, Santikos collection, Vodafone, Anastazia luxury suites & spa, HHotels Collection, Mitsis Hotels, Sarmed logistics, Workathlon, Artemis-ITS, Kanava Hotels & Resorts, NM excellence, SSP Hellas, World of Hyatt, Atlantica Hotels & Resorts Kotsovolos Panas Group, Star Bulk, Yam Antiparos, Atos SA, ManDynamic, Paramana, Teleperformance, Zeus International Hotels & Resorts, Canaves Oia, Manifest Services, Phaea Resorts, TGI Fridays, Costa Navarino, ManpowerGroup, Poseidon Hotel Athens, To koulouri tou Psirri, Creta Farms, Marks & Spencer Safecar,  United cleaning services.

Photos: Marilena Bakouri, Tasos Repouskos | ITHACA