Globally renowned for its rich culture and outstanding natural beauty, if the prospect of working in Italy sounds appealing, you may find it presents the perfect opportunity to develop your career. Author: Daniel Higginbotham, Editor
Italy is a country that regularly features on the top destinations lists of the leading travel websites. This is unsurprising, as it's a nation that has everything. Steeped in culture and historical significance, by living and working here you'll enjoy its sunny climate, breath-taking landscapes, inspiring architecture and fine food.
While the Italian economy has not kept pace with the growth of other major European countries and competition for jobs is high, Italian-speaking foreign workers with the right combination of skills, qualifications and experience may still be able to find work - especially in cities such as Florence, Milan, Genoa and the capital Rome.
Jobs in Italy
While Italy has the eighth largest economy in the world according to the 2018 International Monetary Fund, it is still feeling the effects of the global financial crisis and has the second highest level of public debt in Europe (after Greece).
The majority of the country's 60 million inhabitants reside in the north, and ambitious graduates are more likely to find work in large northern towns and cities.
The contrast between the north and the south is quite stark - northern Italy is more industrialised and developed and known for its abundance of private companies, while the south relies heavily on agriculture and farming. Unemployment in the southern regions is as high as 29%.
As millions of travellers flock to Italy every year to see its many famous sights, casual work and temporary contracts in the tourism industry are much easier to find than permanent employment in other sectors.
POPULAR GRADUATE JOBS
Most locals are not fluent in English, and therefore it's unlikely you'll secure work without a strong grasp of the Italian language. On the other hand, your English speaking ability will be highly valued, particularly in tourism and teaching. Because of this, jobs teaching English as a foreign language are readily available.
The services sector dominates the economy with wholesale, retail sales and transportation. Driven by the manufacturing of luxury items such as fashion, cars and furniture, industry also accounts for a fair amount of Italy's output. In terms of agriculture, Italy is one of the world's largest producers of wine, olive oil and fruit.
The number of multinational companies in Italy may be smaller than in other European countries but strong Italian brands include automobiles, such as Ferrari and Lamborghini, and fashion designers Gucci, Prada, Versace and Armani.
Vacancies are commonly advertised in local newspapers and magazines as well as on the internet.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) 2017 report Getting Skills Right: Italy highlights the following as areas where Italy is currently suffering a critical shortage of knowledge, skills and abilities:
computers and electronics
education and training
engineering, mechanics and technology
How to get a job in Italy
Networking through friends and family is generally considered the best way to find a job in Italy. Finding work when you're already in the country will be easier, as you can begin making contacts directly - wherever you decide to look for work.
If you're currently employed with a company that has a presence in Italy, you could enquire about possible secondment opportunities.
If this isn't feasible, you could instead try making speculative applications, which are welcomed in Italy as many jobs aren't advertised. If you go down this route, be sure to do your research and send your application to the most appropriate person at the organisation.
For jobs that are advertised, the application is usually completed online and consists of a CV and cover letter, or an application form. All applications should be submitted in Italian unless otherwise stated. To save some time, it might also be a good idea to get your academic transcripts and certificates translated too.
Long interview processes are the norm and generally involve a series of interviews and psychometric testing.
As tourism is such big business in Italy, casual or temporary work should be easy enough to find.
There are plenty of seasonal jobs on offer including bar, hotel and restaurant work. You could find employment in summer camps or holiday resorts and if you possess some skills on the slopes, you could work at a ski resort in the Italian Alps.
The agricultural sector also provides casual summer jobs such as fruit picking and other outdoor activities.
If you have some childcare experience you might consider finding work as an au pair.
As long as you have the funds to work for free, volunteering is a great way to build your skillset and learn a new language. Voluntary work looks great on your CV and gives you the chance to network and build contacts.
For those aged 17 to 30 looking to volunteer abroad, Erasmus+ Volunteering projects are available in a number of different areas such as social care, environmental protection, youth work and cultural activities.
Italy is one of the European Union (EU) countries offering these unpaid, full time positions lasting between two weeks and 12 months. All essential costs (accommodation, food and local transport) are covered by the scheme, and you may be given a small personal allowance.
English teachers are in high demand in Italy, so competition for posts is fierce.
The majority of teaching jobs are available in large towns and cities such as Rome, Florence and Milan, although opportunities exist throughout the country. You could teach in state schools, private language schools, universities or within businesses teaching their staff English.
You can enrol online to study for a relevant Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) qualification, while some teaching jobs may even require a Bachelors degree.
Recruitment for teachers typically begins in early spring for positions available in September/October.
For more information, go to TEFL jobs in Italy, and for a list of language schools in Italy see ESL Base - English language schools in Italy.
There are also opportunities to teach English through the British Council's English Language Assistants programme.
As networking is such an important part of finding a job, a work placement is a great way to build up your Italian contacts. Internships are also useful for sharpening your language skills.
Internships in Italy usually last between three and six months with the country especially popular with those looking to get work experience in fashion, architecture and art.
Internships and summer work placements are available at:
AIESEC UK - a youth organisation that offers career-focused internships for students and recent graduates.
GoAbroad.com - an online search engine for global internships.
IAESTE - traineeships for science, engineering, technology and applied arts students (apply via the British Council website in the autumn).
If you're an EU citizen, or come from Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, you won't require a permit to work in Italy. However, to remain in the country longer than 90 days, you'll need to apply to your local town hall (comune) for residency. They will be able to advise you on the documentation to be submitted along with your application.
Non-EU citizens will require a visa, residence and work permit to live and work in the country. There are different types of visa available depending on the purpose of your stay. When applying, you'll need to submit a completed visa application form, a valid passport, recent passport photographs and supporting documents, which will depend on the type of visa you're applying for.
If you're a foreign national, you'll need to apply for a residence permit as soon as you arrive.
For more information about Italian work visas, contact the Italian embassy or consulate in your home country, or visit the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation website.
This visa information is still valid following the UK's decision to leave the EU and will be updated if changes occur.
In most cases, knowledge of Italian is essential for securing a job.
Proficiency in the language will make life in the country a lot easier too, as many parts of the population don't speak English. English is more likely to be spoken in tourist areas and large towns and cities, but less so in rural areas.
Italian language courses in the UK, as well as many good websites, will help you to learn the language or further improve your skills.
How to explain your qualifications to employers
UK qualifications are directly comparable to those in Italy, so they should be easily recognised by employers. You can find out more about comparing international qualifications by visiting ENIC-NARIC.
What it's like to work in Italy
Family time is an important aspect of Italian culture and as such workers in the country try to strike a healthy work-life balance. According to Eurostat, Italians work 39 hours per week on average (2017 data), with the maximum average working week set at 40 hours plus eight hours of overtime. You'll typically work Monday to Friday 8am to 1pm, take a two-hour lunch and then work from 3pm to 7pm.
All employees are entitled to at least four weeks of paid annual leave as well as 12 public holidays.
There are five income tax bands ranging from 23% on income up to €15,000, to 43% on income over €75,001.
Italia - Livello Nazionale
Breve panoramica del mercato del lavoro
Secondo i dati ISTAT al 1 gennaio 2019 la popolazione italiana ammonta a 60 milioni e 391 mila abitanti, oltre 90 mila in meno rispetto al 2018.
Il numero di cittadini italiani scende a 55 milioni e 157 mila, mentre i cittadini stranieri residenti sono 5 milioni e 234 mila, circa 8,7% della popolazione totale.
Nel 2018 le nascite sono state 449 mila, perciò 9 mila in meno di quanto registrato nel 2017.
Il saldo naturale tra nascite e decessi è negativo (-187 mila), si registra il secondo livello più basso nella storia dopo quello del 2017 (-191 mila).
Invece il saldo migratorio con l’estero è positivo e registra un lieve incremento rispetto al 2017, con l’aumento sia dell’immigrazione (+1,7%) che delle emigrazioni (3,1%).
Il mercato del lavoro risulta molto diversificato su base regionale.
Già nel quarto quadrimestre 2018 si era osservata una lieve diminuzione dell’occupazione, confermata a Maggio 2019, nonostante si sia comunque registrata una crescita congiunturale dei contratti di lavoro (14.000 rispetto allo stesso mese del 2018), mentre torna positivo l’andamento tendenziale della domanda di lavoro ( 4.000 rispetto a maggio 2018).
Nel primo trimestre 2019 si registrano segnali di ripresa nel sistema economico con un aumento delle assunzioni, seppur lieve, in termini congiunturali (+25 mila, 0,1%) dopo due periodi di calo occupazionale.
A fine 2018 il tasso di occupazione destagionalizzato risulta pari al 58,8% stabile rispetto al trimestre precedente, con un lieve aumento delle donne mentre si registra un calo per gli uomini.
Si registra una tendenza alla diminuzione congiunturale del lavoro autonomo (-0,4%) nell’ultimo trimestre 2018, che rallenta la crescita (+12 mila occupati, +0,2%), mentre si rileva un incremento delle posizioni lavorative dipendenti soprattutto nei settori dei servizi e nell’industria.
Invece, nell’andamento tendenziale 2019, l’ISTAT registra una crescita di 144 mila occupati (0,6% in un anno) sia per i contratti di lavoro subordinato ( +92 mila) che per gli autonomi (+52 mila), in particolare gli occupati a tempo pieno crescono, ma soprattutto a tempo parziale, con un’incidenza del part time involontario del 64,1% dei lavoratori.
La crescita sopra evidenziata riguarda i servizi di mercato (+46 mila posizioni) e l’industria in senso stretto (+16 mila) mentre continua a ridursi l’agricoltura (- 11 mila posizioni).
Mentre, secondo i dati registrati a fine 2018, l’andamento tendenziale dell’occupazione registrava +87 mila unità ed una diminuzione delle persone in cerca di lavoro (- 105 mila) e degli inattivi (-100 mila).
Nel 2019 l’occupazione cresce soprattutto a Nord (+1,4%) e Centro (+0,3%) mentre scende per il secondo trimestre consecutivo nel Sud ed isole.
Si riduce il numero di disoccupati (-138 mila in un anno, - 4,6%) che interessa entrambi i generi, diverse aree del territorio e varie classi d’età, tranne per gli over 50, che invece aveva registrato una crescita occupazione nell’ultimo trimestre 2018.
Diminuiscono gli inattivi tra 15 -64 anni (-130 mila in un anno , -1,0%).
Nell’analisi dei dati di flusso – a distanza di 12 mesi – si stima una diminuzione della permanenza nell’occupazione, soprattutto nelle regioni meridionali e tra le persone di 55 – 64 anni che transitano verso l’inattività.
Dal lato imprese nel 2019 prosegue la crescita della domanda di lavoro con un aumento dell’1,7% su base annua dovuta alla crescita dell’industria e dei servizi, anche se il ricorso alla cassa integrazione è ancora forte, ma meno esteso.
Il tasso dei posti vacanti rimane costante in generale nel 2019, ma cresce su base annua (0,1%), mentre aumenta il costo del lavoro (1,2%) rispetto al trimestre precedente che si attesta al 3,4% rispetto allo stesso trimestre dell’anno precedente, per l’aumento delle retribuzioni e degli oneri sociali.
ISTAT, Nota trimestrale sulle tendenze dell’occupazione, IV trimestre 2018.
Unioncamere – ANPAL, "Sistema informativo Excelsior: comunicato stampa”, I quadrimestre 2019 -– 17/06/2019