Jobs on the rise?
With a rising trend in job placement advertisements, one would think that Cyprus has overcome its economic crisis and that unemployment levels were falling.
However, that is far from reality with the national jobless rate stubbornly above the 15% threshold, but with some hope for optimism.
The latest Labour Force Survey (LFS) showed that in monthly seasonally adjusted figures, unemployment decreased marginally from 15.9% in May 2013 to 15.3% in May 2014.
“We are still not out of the crisis,” said Michalis Antoniou, Deputy Director General of the Employers and Industrialists Federation, OEV.
“What we can say for sure is that there is a clear drop in the rate of rise in unemployment. In other words, things seem to have stabilised. There are many other indicators that will determine a drop in the jobless rate and a rise in employment levels,” he said.
Vacancy ads in recent weeks have included mainly junior and mid-level accountants, lawyers, office administration, as well as the usual dose of franchise operators expanding and seeking to vertically integrate their stores, either retail outlets for clothing or food chains.
But what caught our eye was the advisory firm MAP S.Platis that has been advertising for 14 jobs, a number unheard of for any employer, even in the good old days of high employment levels.
This is an indication that the firm that turned Cyprus into a hub for forex firms continues to grow despite the economic crisis.
“We have obtained licenses for 85 Cyprus Investment Firms since 2006, including the industry’s bigger names whilst we expect some more licenses before year-end – also a couple of big names,” said Dr. Stelios Platis, Managing Director of the firm.
“Our financial services advisory team is today one of Europe’s largest team of experts on European financial services legislation and especially on forex,” he added.
The MAP S.Platis Group currently employs more than 65 people in Limassol and Nicosia, of whom nine have come aboard within the past 12 months.
“We are currently looking for people with experience in forex and/or financial services with emphasis on compliance, as well as firstclass graduates to enter our 3-year management training programme. We are also looking for experienced as well as junior lawyers and accountants,” said Stelios Platis who has posted the vacancies at
. In a similar tone and suggesting a rising trend in business services and providers, FBS Kotsomitis is looking to hire six people in the accounts and administration areas, mainly at its Nicosia premises, but also to administer the company’s new operation of serviced and virtual offices at .
TEMP LICENSE, OUTLOOK BETTER
According to GRS, a leader in the recruitment sector, one interesting development is the regulation of the temporary worker recruitment market by the Ministry of Labour.
“GRS is the only recruitment consultancy in Cyprus that is licensed for providing this service and gaining the license was an important strategic step in ensuring that GRS can continue to provide temporary workers to our clients in Cyprus. We see this as a growth area in the coming years as more and more companies look at how a flexible workforce can benefit their organisation. We note the reasons for hiring a temporary worker range from covering peak times, projects, maternity leave and the ability to have a flexible worker that is not reported on the company’s headcount,” explained Donna Stephenson, co-founder GRS Group
. Looking ahead, she said that the outlook for permanent hiring has been much better than last year.
“If we compare our permanent hiring statistics of 2014 to 2013, we are 50% up on revenue year-to-date in comparison to the annual revenue of 2013, with the final quarter of 2014 to further increase on this by 50%,” Stephenson added.
“For 2014, we are already up 50% on 2013 and 1% up on 2012. We are optimistic and can report that during Q3 we increased our recruiting team at GRS with the addition of four new hires. Our statistics show recruiting activity at all levels from graduate hiring to executive director across mainly professional/business service sectors and a continued hiring year-on-year in the forex, binary trading and CIF sector at all levels,” she added.
As regards the energy sector, GRS cofounder Steve Slocombe said that “over the last 12 months we have seen an increase in the number of vacancies in the oil & gas sector with a range of positions coming up from health & safety, logistics, drilling, administration and accounting. In terms of volumes, it has been steady as many senior
technical positions tend to be filled by the oil & gas companies’ own people who have been brought in from outside of Cyprus.”
“As drilling increases and production and extraction occur, these volumes will grow substantially and this will be even more so if the go ahead is given to proceed with the LNG plant,” Slocombe added.
As regards the disparity between experienced non-qualified staff and younger graduates with no experience, Slocombe admitted that there are less senior positions available in the market place as companies have expanded less and there is less of a demand for senior personnel.
“With less opportunities available and the current economic climate more senior candidates are not as eager to move as they would have prior to 2013 which can create a jobs ‘logjam’ at middle management both externally within companies and externally in the marketplace,” he explained.
“Statistically, there are less managerial/senior positions available than more junior clerical/administrative positions. Having said that, we have placed quite a few senior executives in Cyprus on over six figure salaries over the last two quarters which would indicate new companies are still expanding into Cyprus albeit at less than they were in 2011/12,” Slocombe concluded.
FOREX HIRING ALL YEAR ROUND
Although September is a notoriously good month for recruitment in Cyprus, over the last few years we have seen a shift in this trend with the summer months bringing in a lot more vacancies than in other years gone by,” said Tony Papadopoulos of the recruitment specialist company StaffMatters
. “This trend can be shown in the number of job vacancies we have received from our clients from June to September, almost double compared to January to May,” he added.
“One reason could be that many of the international companies based in Cyprus, such as the financial trading companies (forex and binary options) do not close during summer and these companies seem to do more hiring during this time of the year compared to the earlier part of 2014.”
Papadopoulos added that there has been a marked increase over the last 2-3 months in the number of vacancies from other sectors such as corporate & business service, accounting, legal, shipping, IT, other ecommerce companies “which is a very good sign for the job market in general.”
“For the most part, Forex related job vacancies have dominated the Cyprus employment market for the last few years. The problem is that not all job seekers are interested to follow a career within forex and some forex companies have preferred to hire candidates who bring some experience.
This has meant that a large part of the unemployed community are still struggling to find work.”
Papadopoulos added that the oil & gas industry seems to be gaining some momentum, however more so on the side of service providers to the industry who seem to be hiring in order to have certain key positions covered.
“As for the actual oil & gas companies, we have not seen much movement from the bigger players in terms of mass or substantial hiring as yet, however this may only start happening toward the middle/end of 2015.”
Offering some hope to non-qualified but highly skilled and experienced people in their 30s and 40s, Papadopoulos said that through the economic crisis and all the other difficulties that Cyprus has had to overcome in the last two years, many companies have been more willing to hiring older candidates as opposed to youngsters, “as the companies feel that the older candidate will possibly bring more stability, maturity and longevity to the role and company and in many cases less training will be required with a far less risk of having a quick turnover in this position.”
“But when it comes to sales orientated positions, preference is almost always given to younger candidates as they are perceived to be easier to train and more energetic and motivated to fulfil a role within sales that will require a lot of energy, dedication and motivation,” Papadopoulos concluded.