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. Over the last generation, these countries have seen massive mobility out of agriculture towards manufacturing and services.
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. The rural sector of Greece has declined by 29 percentage points, while that of Poland declined by 28 percentage points, Cyprus by 25 and Finland by 22. In Cyprus, 27% of people were born into an agricultural family, while only 1.9% identify as farmers today.
Cyprus has also seen an increase of 7% in the workforce of its heavy industries, while Greece and Lithuania saw an increase of 6% and 4% respectively. “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 such as trade, personal services, unskilled blue-collar and routine jobs. Across Europe these make up less than 30% of the working population, but there are substantial differences across countries and the shares are highest in former socialist countries, while the figures are also high for Portugal and Cyprus with 39% and 34% respectively.
The report also notes that in Cyprus and Greece the current share of professionals and middle managers among the active population has doubled in a generation, but has not attained the levels that France and the UK had in the previous generation yet.
In Cyprus, there is almost no class dissimilarity between men and women and their parents. This may be due to the size of the economy, since 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 that the persistence of a high level of education is over 75% in Belgium, Cyprus, Ireland, Luxembourg and Romania, while 25% or more of people achieved a high level of education in Finland, Ireland, Spain and the UK.
Via Cyprus Beat