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What to expect when moving to Athens for work

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December 6, 2022
Whether you’ve had the chance to come to visit Athens, have yet to travel to Greece, or were even born here and looking to return – Athens, Greece is once again a top contender for European cities worth moving to for work. No one needs selling on the agreeable Mediterranean climate, accessibility to world-class cultural attractions next to exciting countercultural spots, and delectable cuisine that evolves with the seasons. Instead in the past, it’s been the lack of interesting job opportunities and an archaic public administration that used to drive Greeks abroad for work and made it a rare reality for foreigners to move to Athens.
Thanks to a mix of a pandemic-driven shift to the digitalization of citizen services, and a flourishing startup and tech scene, moving to Athens for work is attracting more people than ever. In this article, we’re exploring what those from abroad can expect when relocating to Athens and what makes this city an unrivaled career and life pivot.

    1. City benefits

    Let’s start with the common points amongst new arrivals and lifelong locals – what the city has to offer its residents. Nestled into the Attican basin, Athens has a striking setting that matches mountain hikes and crystal clear swims in the sea. It’s a city of contrasts from high-end rooftop cocktails overlooking the Acropolis within a short walk of alternative bars hidden in residential neighborhoods. As breathtakingly expansive as the city may appear from its hilltop lookouts, the port of Piraeus and the Athens International Airport make short trips to the Greek Islands and to other European and Balkan destinations incredibly simple.

     

    2. Work culture in Greece

    Perhaps surprising to foreigners without professional contact with Greece, after the pandemic, the labor ecosystem shifted, from a traditional way of working for the majority of companies to a more modern, hybrid, employee-friendly approach. There is also an interesting contrast between generations that have been employed by traditional institutions with more conventional expectations of the employer-employee dynamic, which are now being revisited by a new generation of tech startups in Athens, in addition to added exchange with international colleagues and partners.

     

    3. English-speaking jobs in Athens

    A quick search for English-speaking jobs in Athens brings up a wide range of employment opportunities in client service at locally-based businesses. However, career opportunities are increasingly diverse – especially from local companies looking for international expertise to expand to new markets. Dialectica, for example, recruits talent from all over the world offering several relocation benefits to people joining its office in Athens from other international locations.  With plans to establish a global presence of 1,200+ employees in the coming years, the company keeps expanding around the globe with new offices and growing its local team with 40+ recent graduates and professionals on a monthly basis!

     

    4. Get networking

    Extroversion can practically be considered a Greek way of life. Warm-heartedness naturally leads to networking opportunities in Athens and across Greece meaning that a handshake and a conversation will never be eclipsed by professional social media platforms. When looking for work, make your interests and niche as an English speaker looking for work in Athens known to others. You’ll be amazed how connected locals are to one another and before you know it, you’ll also have a whole network of friends, colleagues, and acquaintances within your first few months.

     

    5. How to start your move to Athens

    It is recommended to start on a move to Athens with a signed contract already in hand. Having a start date and a plan on where you will be working solves some of the biggest question marks and potential sources of anxiety compared to arriving without work secured. Your future employer may be able to assist with your relocation, whether that be helping to sort out housing, guidance with immigration paperwork or having interpretation help when navigating settling in.

    Immigration paperwork can be arduous but varies significantly between Greek returning from abroad, holders of European passports, and non-EU foreigners. With ever-evolving residence permits and visas (ie. the Greek Digital Nomad visa, the EU Blue Card, Greek citizenship by heritage, the Greek adeia diamonis, etc.), it is best to pair up with an Athens-based immigration lawyer for their expertise and also personal follow-up with the corresponding offices.

    Once your residence permit is underway, you’ll want to register with local authorities by obtaining a tax number (AFM) and a social security number (AMKA). When it comes to opening a bank account locally, Greek employers have a preferred banking partner for payroll, who will typically allow you to open an account for free.

    When looking for an apartment in Athens, it is worth considering commuting distances and access to main transit lines or highways. With notoriously bad traffic and higher temperatures over a long summer, you’ll be thankful for living close to your workplace. On the positive side, Athens has some of the most affordable rents (and expansive balconies!) as far as European major cities go. Do continue to watch out for relative costs for common utilities, electricity, and water which unfortunately are not as proportionately cheap.

    Athens, and its suburbs, offer a range of different neighborhoods each with its own lifestyle. For those wanting to be close to the action, with dining and shopping within walkable distance, hot neighborhoods in the center of the city include Petralona, Kypseli, and Pangrati. For those looking for more greenery, relaxed cafes, and a bit more space at home, the northern suburbs of Marousi, Chalandri, and Agia Paraskevi are popular picks. If you’re moving to Greece with the idea of sun and sea in mind, then you’ll want to locate yourself in the southern suburbs anywhere from Palaio Faliro to Voula in order to still be close enough to the city center.

    Of course, finding the most suitable company, that is constantly recruiting international talents and can provide you with a relocation package can help you a lot in integrating earlier into your new Greek reality. Dialectica, for example, through its “Build your future in Athens” program, can ease this process and since there are employees from more than 30 nationalities, through the company’s Employee Resource Group, Expats@Dialectica, which includes local colleagues and members of the team that relocated to Athens to join Dialectica, you can find people to spend time together at work and team bonding activities during and after working hours, in order to become part of this culture in no time! 

     

    6. Conclusion

    It’s a thrilling time for Athens to be back in the expat and international spotlight as a destination to work and live. A globalized workforce is coming to Greece, encouraged by new advances in digital public administration and exciting career opportunities for non-Greek speakers. As with any relocation abroad, it will demand patience and a fair bit of preparation, but what you’ll discover when based in Athens year-round is an unmatched blend of buzzing city life with fresh job opportunities in a re-emerging economy.

     

    Looking to launch an English-speaking career in Athens as a part of Dialectica’s accelerated Client Service Associate program? Discover how working in a leading information services company that offers exciting  relocation opportunities and employee benefits, will allow you to develop a number of relevant skills including teamwork, client communications and project management among others. 

    Launch a career in Athens.

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