Can we get work in Crete?
Posted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 1:15 pm
My partner currently runs her own small cleaning/property maintenance company here in the UK whilst I am a very experienced retail salesperson/trainer.
Our question is; could we get work in Crete (all year round) and - crucially, what could we expect to earn?
I should say, that we already own some land in the Chania area, but want to 'test the water' by renting for a year or so, before moving out 'lock, stock and barrel'. We are both in our 'forties'!
ANY help/advice would be much appreciated - particularly if anyone has an idea of how much we could expect to earn!
Thanks in advance..
Posted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 4:23 pm
Unemployment is currently high in Crete and even Greeks are finding it tough to find permanent jobs.
Summer work is relatively [stress relatively] easy to obtain in tourism although I suspect that will be more difficult this year as prospects for the tourism in Crete are not as good as usual. Most jobs are with UK tour operators doing meet 'n greet and other tour rep jobs, bar work, waitressing/waitering etc., cleaning hotels and apartments [generally long hours, low pay], labouring, etc.
Winter work is scarce and mostly centred around the 3 months olive harvest where there's strong competition for jobs fro, mainly, eastern Europeans prepared to for long hours of hard graft for low pay.
Year round work is even harder to find unless you have particular skills that are in demand and jobs like those are unlikely to be open to foreigners who don't speak fluent Greek. Apart from that you may find work with an estate agent, especially with one of the many British owned ones, but the property market here is in much the same state as in the UK. Several developers have failed in the last couple of years and agencies have closed down or cut staff so prospects are not great.
There are many existing cleaning/property maintenance companies and they are competing fiercely for work and some have been forced to give up. Some are properly established firms operating legally but quite a few one man bands that may be operating "on the black". That option is not recommended because if the authorities catch illegal operations very heavy books tend to get thrown. Depending on the type of business it can take a lot of time and expense to set up legally.
What would you plan to do with your experience in retail? There's a handful of British owned shops selling foodstuffs but I doubt that you'll find many other opportunities without fluent Greek.
You also need to take account of Greek recruitment policies. Most businesses are small family concerns. Available work goes first to immediate family then, cousins, distant relatives, koumbaros [best man or godparents of one's children], other close friends, casual friends, friends of friends, anyone Cretan, anyone Greek, Greek speaking foreigners, others. OK, that's a bit tongue in cheek but there's a grain of truth to it.
Earnings are generally low. It's widely reported that average take-home is about €800/month and, in the present state of the Greek economy, many workers are threatened with salary reductions and loss of other benefits - what many of the current wave of strikes is all about and inflation is quite high [like the UK, higher than any official figures.].
I'd suggest that you think very carefully before committing yourselves unless you have sufficient financial resources to see you through a couple of years while you try to get established.
Posted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 7:11 pm
Thank you for your prompt and frank reply filippos.
For myself I was maybe thinking of house/land sales for one of the more respected companies. During the two years or so that we spent looking for our land, it seemed to us that this is usually carried out by someone who has purchased a house from the agent/builder - as opposed to an experienced and 'professional' salesperson... (yes they do exist!..). So I suspected there may possibly be an opening - even more so in a difficult market where actual selling skills may make the difference between a sale or no sale.
Of course I may also be barking up the wrong tree which is why I am seeking some advice from those who know much better than us.
I believe (but am not sure) that in Crete builders or agents usually employ 'salespeople' on a 'self-employed' (commission only) basis. However I have been unable to elicit any further information (such as how much they are paid etc.). So if anyone on here has any knowledge of this or can point us in the right direction it would be really helpful.
As for the other half of the partnership.. you have pretty much confirmed what we thought. And no, we wouldn't touch the 'black' market - she would just transfer her skills out to Crete.
Incidentally, we stumbled across this forum by accident, and it seems to be eminently sensible, informative and most importantly, free of much of the sarcasm and biting comments that pervade some of the other platforms/forums for those wishing to move to Crete.
Thanks once again for the comprehensive advice.