Labour market in Italy

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Updated 2023-04-15 21:28

With its rich history, culture and gastronomy, Italy attracts thousands of visitors every year, some of whom end up settling here. However, unless you are planning to retire, study or travel in Italy, you will probably be looking for a job to support yourself. Therefore, before you decide to move abroad, it is important that you understand the current economic climate and labor market in Italy.

Economic context in Italy

Italy is indeed the eighth-largest economy in the world. Still, it has been hit hard by the global financial crisis of recent years, including the Covid pandemic and the war in Ukraine, Italy being a country heavily dependent on Russian gas (20% of its primary energy consumption). After Greece and Portugal, Italy has one of the highest levels of public debt in Europe, corresponding to more than 120% of its GDP. It's worth noting that 24.5% of the unemployed are young people (March 2022 figures / ISTAT), which means that competition for work is fierce.

However, this does not mean that you will not find a job in Italy. On the contrary, since the introduction of a series of employment laws in March 2015, the Jobs Act, the Italian labor market has changed considerably. There is now a better balance between the rights of workers and employers. This important reform notably reaffirms unemployment and pension rights and regulates various existing contracts by abolishing the most precarious ones. This has closed the gap between Italy and its European counterparts, making the country fairer and more attractive to local and international investors.

Finding a job in Italy

International profiles with a very good command of the Italian language in addition to their mother tongue (or even other foreign languages), and a good combination of skills, qualifications and experience stand more chances of finding job opportunities in Italy, especially with multinational companies looking for international profiles.

The economy is strongly service-based, with the service sector accounting for around 75% of its GDP. The main sectors for recruitment in Italy are engineering, technical, catering, teaching, administration, information and communication technology, management, accounting, customer service and tourism.

Preferred employment sectors in Italy

Although the differences are less striking today, there is still a gap between the dynamic north of Italy and the more rural south. The large cities in the North are dominated by industry and are known for their abundance of large private companies (Pirelli, Fiat, Barilla, etc.) but also of SMEs. Thus, many professionals with degrees from the South come to the North to work in the service sector (finance, retail and transport) or in industry (luxury goods such as cars, fashion, design and furniture, which are particularly numerous). The South is heavily dependent on agriculture and, increasingly, on tourism, as has been the case in Puglia, for example, in recent years.

Most jobs in Italy are found in the big cities of the north, such as Milan, Turin, Bologna, Venice, Florence, Genoa and, of course, Rome, although temporary and casual work in tourism is easier to find than permanent contracts in industry. Experts and specialists in the technology and engineering sectors are particularly sought after due to the emigration of the brightest profiles abroad (known in Italy as "la fuga dei cervelli", literally the brain drain), leaving huge gaps in the sectors.

Working conditions in Italy

Work-life balance is crucial in Italy. Employees are legally entitled to a 40-hours working week, 4 weeks of paid annual leave, and 11 public holidays.

Like many European countries, Italy has put in place a range of measures to deal with Covid19. Remote working in the private sector, which was already regulated by a 2017 law, has been the subject of numerous decrees since 2020. Initially mandatory to contain the spread of Covid until 2021, it was then recommended until 2022 when a decree simplified access to this form of agile work in times of health emergency. Thanks to the success of the "hybrid" office/home formula, some companies have also decided to apply this model, for example, Unicredit and Vodafone. Today a new bill is under consideration to go beyond the current law.

For more information on working conditions in Italy, see our guide to working in Italy and our specific articles with tips on working in the biggest Italian cities.

Where to look for jobs in Italy

Italian newspapers, such as the daily Corriere della Sera, regularly publish job offers, not to mention specific job websites on which you can apply before moving to Italy. Here are some examples:

Indeed Italy



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EURES - Job section

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