Gaining employment in Italy is certainly not without challenges for expats in Italy, but thorough research and realistic expectations can certainly help those intending to relocate to this Southern European country.
Job Opportunities in Italy
Italy’s unemployment rate stands at 8.1% (as at May 2011), and although not as high as in the UK or US, expats living in Italy will find it difficult to secure a long term or permanent position. Those needing a work permit (i.e. Non-EU or EEA citizens) will find it even trickier to gain employment in Italy.
There is however a trend to offer short term and temporary contracts. Workers for tourist positions in coastal areas and large cities and English teaching jobs are still in demand.
Italian Work Visas
To work in Italy expats from EU and EEA countries do not need a work visa (but do need a residence or stay permit). All other citizens need a work visa in Italy, sponsored by the local employer and administered at the regional level. This means that the process will differ according to the area you have secured employment in.
Speaking the Local Language
Unless you speak Italian you are unlikely to enjoy much success in the Italian job market, particularly given the fierce competition for scarce permanent positions. The only exception to this is TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) positions as well as some IT jobs.
Ensure that your CV and cover letter are submitted in Italian, unless otherwise stated.
Finding Work in Italy
Italy’s employment market is much more accessible to expats if your network within the country is wide and influential. Many jobs are gained through introduction so who you know is important and you should invest serious time in growing your business network.
The internet and the press are good sources for job hunters in Italy and online postings on Italy’s job sites are the preferred tool of younger job seekers.
Employment centres across the country are also valuable resources for those seeking jobs in Italy; job hunters leave personal details to be contacted in the event that their skills match a vacancy.
Internships in Italy are also available in various regions.
Employment in Italy – Salaries and Benefits
Salaries in Italy are region based (meaning that the same role commands different salary level depending on the location of the job) and are often determined by collective agreements. The cost of living is higher in the North of Italy, and salaries reflect this.
Working life in Italy means receiving payment for at least a thirteenth month and commonly a fourteenth month: once prior to the summer vacation period and once at Christmas.
The tax rates in Italy are progressive starting at 23% and climbing to 43% for higher earners.
Employment in Italy – Working Hours
The standard working week is 40 hours in Italy. Some have a shorter working week which is determined by a collective agreement.
4 weeks annual leave is the minimum standard for full time workers and there are ten statutory days leave per year.