Finding work in Italy

Whilst living in Italy is the dream for many of us, the idea of sipping a glass of Chianti on the terrace doesn’t fit with the need to pay the bills.

Despite Italy being the eighth largest economy in the world (UK is sixth), unemployment is a serious problem, particularly among young people.

Libretto di Lavoro

As a Brit abroad, you are entitled to free movement and employment in Italy, however, you will need a Worker’s Registration Book (Libretto di Lavoro), which shows that the applicant is in Italy for work, but is only available upon production of a Permit to Stay (Permesso di soggiorno). You are also required to register with the central employment exchange (ufficio di collacamento).

Job applications

Applying for a job in Italy is pretty much like it is in UK, starting off with a well worded cover letter and CV, in Italian of course (unless you are applying for an English language post). If you are luck enough to be shortlisted, you can expect at least one or two interviews, and these days perhaps even a psychometric test.

Media and communication, tourism, finance, and international business are the main job sectors open to foreigners in Italy. Although there is a lot of competition for jobs, don’t be disheartened, as you probably have far more work experience than your Italian counterparts, as the Italian University system has no time constraints, so it’s usual to find people still studying at a University into their 30’s after having first enrolled at the age of 18!

Again, like the UK networking is a way to seek out employers with interests mutual to yours, and there are a number of on-line resources to help you. Finally, the Italian daily newspaper (Corriere della Sera) also has a job-seekers section published every Friday (Corriere Lavoro), and is also on the web at www.corriere.it/lavoro.

Employment contracts

There are various contracts available for employees in Italy, check carefully which one your employer offers you, and if it’s what you expected:

  • Permanent contract (Contratto a tempo indeterminato); these contracts are fully protected under Italian law.
  • Fixed-term contract (Contratto a tempo determinato); the contract may not extended, but you retain your benefits.
  • Project work (Contratto a progetto); the contract is renewable, but the employer is not entitled to provide sick, maternity, or holiday pay.
  • Job Share; your contract is shared with another person.
  • Job on Call; a retainer fee is paid during the period in which you don’t work, when you are called, you receive full salary.
  • Staff Leasing; companies hire out staff (ie you) to other companies.

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