articles | 25 August 2017

Cyprus among EU countries that have changed most

A social mobility report by Eurofound, the EU Agency for the improvement of living and working conditions, shows that Cyprus, Finland, Greece and Poland have changed the most, having seen massive mobility out of agriculture towards manufacturing and services over the last generation or so.

The first of its kind report said the most dramatic changes in a generation happened for people of agricultural and blue-collar origin, which in broad terms can be related to both the modernisation and post-modernisation of societies. For those countries that have seen their rural sector decline most, the following changes are visible over the generations: Greece (-29 percentage points), Poland (-28), Cyprus (-25) and Finland (-22).

In Cyprus, 27% of people were born into an agricultural family, while nowadays only 1.9% are identified as farmers.

Some countries have also seen their heavy industries increase their workforce: Cyprus (+7%), Greece (+6%) and Lithuania (+4%).

“There appears to be a pattern, especially in European countries, whereby a decline in farming is followed by growth in manufacturing and industry, then followed by services development,” the report explained.

Cyprus has a high share in lower-skilled occupations – trade, personal services, unskilled blue-collar and routine jobs. While these make up less than 30% of the working population across Europe, there are substantial differences across countries. The shares are highest in former socialist countries. However, the figures are also high for Portugal and Cyprus with 39% and 34%, respectively.

The report goes on to say that in Cyprus and Greece the current share of professionals and middle managers among the active population, despite doubling in a generation, has not yet attained the levels that France and the UK had in the previous generation.

In Cyprus, there is almost no class dissimilarity between men and women and their parents. A reason why the differences in class movement distribution for women and men is small may be related to the size of the economy. Small countries have less variety of occupations and the labour market has only a limited number of jobs to offer, in only a few sectors.

The report further notes thatthe persistence of a high level of education is over 75% in Belgium, Cyprus, Ireland, Luxembourg and Romania. In contrast, 25 % or more of people achieved a high level of education in Finland, Ireland, Spain and the UK.

In Cyprus and Greece, the ability to purchase private tuition is seen as a crucial factor. Personal relationships and family ties influence the educational and professional choices of children, resulting in the children of wealthy families having more education and training opportunities than those of lower-income families.

Source: Cyprus Mail

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