BUSINESS
01/04/2012 12:16 pm ET

Amid Euro Crisis, Workers In Italy, Spain Translate Their Resumes Into English, German

An increasing number of workers in the troubled Mediterranean countries of Italy, Spain and Greece are having their resumes translated into English and German, as they seek to move to the more secure countries in the north as the eurozone crisis unfolds.

The number of resumes translated by One Hour Translation, a leading online professional translation service based in Cyprus, spiked 54 percent in Italy, 34 percent in Spain and 29 percent in Greece in 2011, according to the company. Most of these resumes were translated into English, though some also were translated into German.

In some ways the euro is leading Europe to become more integrated through crisis. While Europeans traditionally do not leave their native country, the eurozone crisis has made the United Kingdom and to a lesser extent Germany desirable destinations for southern Europeans who wish to leave their countries' economic troubles behind, said Ofer Shoshan, chief executive of One Hour Translation.

"Most people are trying to go to the stronger economies," Shoshan said. "If you work in a hotel in Greece, there are no people coming. You might as well be working in a hotel someplace different."

Both high- and low-skill workers in troubled Mediterranean countries are seeking jobs elsewhere. This include bankers and consultants as well as hotel workers and nurses, according to Shoshan. The number of resumes his company translated into English increased by about half in Greece and Italy and 61 percent in Spain in 2011. Translations into German rose 25 percent in Greece, 16 percent in Italy, and 14 percent in Spain.

Italy, Spain, and Greece have been crippled by anemic economies, unsustainable borrowing costs and austerity policies exacerbating unemployment. Greece's economy is shrinking 5 percent a year, Italy's economy is sliding back into recession, and the unemployment rate in Spain is 23 percent.

More movement of workers may be a positive development though. Robert Reich, public policy professor at the University of California at Berkeley, said in an interview in early December that Europe needs to move toward having the same labor mobility as found in the United States to enhance economic growth.

"You have to make sure that labor is as flexible as possible," Reich said.

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