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Working in Italy

Your Guide on Jobs and Finding Work in Italy

Working in Italy should come with no problem for English speaking expats, but this will largely depend on your field of work. In some industries, speaking Italian may be key to securing a job.

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Italy’s job market might be tough given the country’s unemployment rates. Nonetheless, we show you how to find a job in Italy no matter your field of work. Do keep in mind that speaking Italian may be key for a stable and growing career in the country.

You can expect regular working days from Monday to Friday for most employees. If you are working as self-employed, the benefit of creating your own workdays and hours may be surpassed by the difficulties of setting up a business on your own.

All workers who are registered with social security may enjoy its benefits, be it free public healthcare, pensions, work leave, or benefits in cases of need. Self-employed workers register with a different social security scheme, which means some benefits may not apply to them.

Whether you are self-employed or a salaried worker, you should aim to receive no less than the average salary of 1,800 EUR (1,980 USD) a month.

How to Get a Job in Italy as a Foreigner

In this section, you will find everything you need to know on how to get a job in Italy as a foreigner, from applying for jobs the right way to learning the minimum and average salary, and knowing what it is like to be self-employed in Italy.

We also cover the country’s business culture, to make sure your integration in the country is smooth, as well as introduce you to social security and parental leave and benefits in Italy.

Requirements and Eligibility for Working in Italy

The first thing you should know is whether or not you are eligible to work in the country and what are some of the requirements to do so. While European workers will have very few requirements to get a job in the country, non-European job seekers will first need to find a job so they can apply for a work permit.

Working in Italy as an EU citizen

As mentioned, you don’t need to meet a lot of requirements if you are a European looking to work in Italy. There is no need to obtain special permits, given the EU’s laws on free movement of people.

In general, you will only need a valid ID document or passport, and a tax number, codice fiscale. To get a tax number in Italy, you will need to issue a request with the Agenzia delle Entrate.

Even though you don’t need a work visa or permit to work and live in Italy, you still need to register in the country. You do so by reporting your presence at a police station and filling out the necessary forms and paperwork.

Doing this as soon as you arrive in the country comes in handy if you plan on applying for permanent residence later on—that way, your stay in the country can be registered as early as possible.

Working in Italy as a non-EU citizen

Third-country citizens will need a work visa to be able to work in the country. We cover all the information you need on work requirements and eligibility on the Visas and Work Permits section of this guide.

The first thing you should know is that securing a job in Italy is a priority. This is because your Italian employer will be taking care of most of the visa application process for you. Read on as we guide you through finding and applying for a job in Italy.

Job Opportunities in Italy for Foreigners

You have probably heard that tourism offers many work opportunities for expats in Italy—and you are not wrong. The same goes for teaching, especially if you speak English. However, these are also the most sought-after jobs among expats, and you may find a heavier competition when seeking those vacancies.

There are quite a few job vacancies that Italy cannot seem to fill, and having a look at those first to see if they are a good fit for you could be the easiest way to start.

Sectors such as food, technology, mechanical, textile, and chemical are in need of engineers and may have as much as 190,000 vacancies in these coming years. Some traditional work is also short on talent, such as woodworking and weaving.

If you come from the technology sector, you wouldn’t have trouble finding vacancies for software and app developers, computer equipment designers, or designers of telecommunication systems.

How to Apply for a Job in Italy

There are a few things to consider when it comes to applying for a job in Italy. What is the country-style CV? Will I need a cover letter? What about references from former employers? Read on for answers to all work-related questions about Italy.

Italian-style CV

It is a good idea to know the style of CV that goes around in Italy. That is because recruiters are used to looking and skimming through a certain kind of structure, and you want to up your chances by making their job easier.

Here are some dos and don’ts when it comes to handing out a CV in Italy:

Dos:

  • Do add personal data at the top, such as your name, your contact details, and your date of birth. Add your nationality as well. This is especially important since it will tell your employer whether you are eligible for a work visa. You may include details about your eligibility (e.g., eligible to work in Italy for up to 20 hours a week).
  • Do follow with your professional experience right away. This list should start with your most recent work experience, all the way to your university degree and qualifications.
  • Do apply with a CV in English if this is relevant to your sector or position.
  • Do include language skills, especially if you can speak Italian. Languages are highly valued in general, but knowing Italian is certainly a big plus.

Don’ts:

  • Include long references, but do add the name and contact of one or two referees who can attest your character and qualifications.
  • Include a photo, as this is not a requirement. If you choose to do so, make sure the picture is professional, such as a passport-style photo.
  • Add hobbies. These should be kept to a minimum unless they are very relevant to your position or job sector.
  • Hand in a CV longer than two pages, unless the position you are applying for requires a lot of technical details, such as Engineering or Medicine. For most professions, keeping your CV short is key.
  • Follow the European CV template, as this is becoming more and more unpopular in the country.
Cover Letter Tips

While cover letters are essential in some countries, in Italy these depend mostly on the job market and job postings. Even if handing in a cover letter is not part of the requirements, including one always shows you have put in the extra effort and is sure to make you stand out from the crowd.

Interview and Networking Tips

If you have secured an interview with an Italian employer, you will want to know how to navigate a job interview in Italy, to give you a leg up on the competition.

  • You should definitely dress to impress—according to the company’s culture, of course. Do some research to get a sense of what the dress code might be and, when in doubt, aim for more formal rather than casual.
  • Don’t be confused by the Italian way of greeting, with two kisses on the cheek. This is not appropriate for interviews. Stick to a firm handshake and good eye contact that demonstrate confidence.
  • Punctuality is key. You should even aim to be around ten to fifteen minutes early to your appointment.

Whether you have already secured a job or are still looking for that opportunity, networking is essential to your career, and you are going to want to do that in Italy.

There are several ways you can establish professional connections with peers, employers, or clients. You can attend networking events, be present in professional social media such as LinkedIn or ClubIn, and join the many business groups in Italy. Some of the biggest organization are:

  • CNA (National Confederation of Artisans and SMEs)
  • CONFAPI (Confederation of Small and Medium Enterprises)
  • Confcommercio
  • Confindustria

You can also rely on InterNations, the largest global community of expats. You can find an InterNations community in Turin, Genoa, Milan, Parma, Verona, Florence, Bologna, Padua, Venice, and Rome, where you can connect to other expats and get acquainted with the job market in Italy.

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Minimum Wage and Average Salary

An average salary in Italy is around 1,800 EUR (1980 USD) gross for a 14-months’ salary, which comes down to a net value of 1,500 EUR (1,650 USD) a month.

That means the average annual salary is around 25,200 EUR gross (27,700 USD) or 17,300 EUR (19,000 USD) net. This salary, of course, depends hugely on your qualifications, years of experience, and even the regions where you take up work.

Italy is among the few countries in Europe that don’t have a minimum wage. Some workers are reported to earn a minimum of 500 EUR (550 USD) a month.

A good salary in Italy is one that allows you to live comfortably within the city or region’s cost of living, which we cover in the Country Facts section of this guide. For reference, an employee with a master’s degree and eight to 12 years of experience would earn around 64,000 EUR (70,500 USD) gross a year, or a 33,000 EUR (36,300 USD) net salary.

Below is a list of common job positions and how much they pay.

Job Position Salary (EUR/USD)
Teacher 31,000/34,200
Accountant 27,000/29,800
Nurse 25,000/27,600
Software Engineer 31,000/34,200
Architect 21,000/23,100
Marketing Manager 45,000/49,600
Product Manager 41,000/45,200
Web Developer 23,000/25,400
UX Designer 30,000/33,000

 

Self-Employment

If self-employment in Italy is something that interests you, this should help you decide whether or not it is for you. This sub-section covers how you can be self-employed, some of the top self-employed jobs in the country, as well as some of the benefits you are entitled to as a self-employed professional.

How to Be Self-Employed in Italy

The requirements to work in Italy as self-employed will also differ for EU citizens and non-EU citizens. While EU workers can simply enter the country, register with the local authorities, and take up self-employment—provided they follow all the right procedures and requirements for their specific activity—non-EU citizens will first have to apply for a work visa which is subject to a yearly quota.

When you are applying for a visa, you should already know the type of self-employment you want to take up. This could be under one of the following categories:

  • Business owner
  • Corporate Role
  • Start-up
  • Freelancer
  • Sports Activity

After you have submitted your visa application, you will need a provisional clearance from the Questura, the Italian Police Commissary, within 90 days. The second step you need to take is to find the administrative body with the Italian Chamber of Commerce that regulates your field of work. This entity is going to give you a declaration of parametri di riferimento, a document that certifies you are capable of carrying out your work activity without burden to the Italian economy.

Once you have these documents, the immigration office (SUI) and the Provincial Directorate of Labor verify that you are eligible and fit the quota, and can then grant you the work permit.

Before you get started with any kind of trade, make sure you are registered for taxes by requesting a tax and a VAT number. As a self-employed worker, you will be paying taxes on your income at the same rates as other workers in Italy.

Freelance or Limited Liability Company

By far, the easiest way to take up self-employment is through freelance work.

Registering a limited liability company or joint-stock company requires more investment up-front. For this type of business, you may need to pay corporate tax as well, so to be on the safe side, make sure you consider hiring an accountant if you know you will be setting up shop as a business owner.

Keep in mind that both forms of self-employment require paying income taxes. Make sure you consider how profitable your business can be if you are required to pay corporate taxes, as well.

As for the top self-employed jobs in Italy, these are pretty universal. Besides the type of freelancing and remote work you can do anywhere, the top self-employed jobs are also the most in-demand in the country, such as web and app developers, engineers, teachers, and so on.

Whichever occupation you choose, building a solid network of contacts in your area of expertise is key, if you are planning on being a freelancer, a consultant, or a business owner.

Self-Employed Benefits in Italy

As self-employed, you will need to make regular payments to social security, the Istituto Nazionale di Previdenza Sociale (INPS). This means you are entitled to social security benefits provided you are registered with your corresponding scheme. This includes access to the national healthcare system and other financial protections, such as a pension or employment benefits. You are also protected by INAIL, the National Institute for Insurance against Accidents at Work in case of an accident, occupational disease, or death in the workplace.

There are, however, some differences between self-employed and employees when it comes to social security benefits and contributions. Unlike employees who pay only one-third of the amount owed to social security (the employee pays the other two thirds), self-employed workers pay the entirety of that amount.

That also means you are responsible for signing up for a mandatory scheme and paying your contributions through the special INPS scheme. These contributions are calculated based on the total income you declare for the purposes of income tax (IRPEF).

 

Business Culture

Getting to know Italy’s business culture is essential for a successful integration in the workplace. Overall, Italians have a well-balanced working culture when it comes to private life and work. They enjoy spending time with family and pursuing private interests in their own time.

Your typical work week in Italy is Monday to Friday. Working hours are usually from 8:00 or 9:00 to 18:00 or 19:00, with a one-hour lunch break at around 13:00. Lunch breaks can also be used as an opportunity to build professional relationships with current or business partners. The public sector may practice different work hours, which include Saturday. Italian workers are entitled to at least 20 days of paid vacation, but the number could be higher, depending only on the contract.

As for the workplace dress code, you should remember that Italy is one of Europe’s biggest fashion capitals. Italians have style, and this can reflect on their work dress code as well. Feel free to express some individuality with your attire, so long as you keep it professional and preferably elegant. It is important to stick to more formal attire for first meetings and interviews.

Social Security and Benefits

Having an Italian social security number will guarantee your rights as a resident in the country, whether that is for healthcare, financial aid, or other benefits. This number is the same as your tax number. Both nationals and foreigners can get a social security number in Italy. This number appears on your Tessera Sanitaria, or Carta Nazionale dei Servizi, the Italian social security card, which you should have on you whenever accessing the national healthcare services.

How to Get a Social Security Number in Italy?

To get a social security number in Italy, you must register with the SSN, the Servizio Sanitario Nazionale, Italy’s National Healthcare System.

You receive your Tessera Sanitaria when you first register with the SSN. There are two types of registrations, mandatory and voluntary­. The first applies to most residents, workers, family members, etc., while voluntary registration is typically for visitors of shorter stays, such as students, au pairs, religious staff, etc.

The first step for applying for a social security number is to go to the Post Office of your area of residence. Once there, you will be given the application form, the Bollettino Postale. You must fill it in and pay the fee, after which you will be given a receipt.

Then you must present both the form and the receipt at your ASL along with the following documents:

  • Your passport
  • Your tax number (Codice Fiscale)
  • Your residence permit (or proof you have requested one, such as the receipt)
  • A self-declaration of address (which must match the residence permit)
  • The receipt of payment of the registration with the SSN

The health card is then sent to your home address. In the meantime, hold on to a copy of the receipt.

Your health card is valid as long as you have permission to stay in the country. If you renew your residence permit, make sure you renew your Tessera Sanitaria as well. This is done at the ASL, with:

  • Your passport
  • Proof that you have requested the renewal of your residence permit
  • Your tax number
  • A certificate or self-declaration of residence

Social Security Benefits in Italy

You are entitled to a number of benefits provided by the state if you pay social security contributions in the country. These include several aids when it comes to employment, unemployment, healthcare, family benefits, old-age, disability, invalidity, and more.

This may include monetary allowances or leaves of absence from work.

You can find more information on each benefit on the National Institute of Social Security (INPS) website.

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Maternity and Paternity Leave

Resident mothers who are giving birth, adopting, or fostering a child are entitled to maternity leave, congedo di maternità, as long as they pay contributions to social security. This is valid for both employees and self-employed workers, although freelancers and other independent workers are not obligated to take a leave of absence from work. For employees, taking a leave of absence is mandatory.

No minimum contribution is required, unless you are registered with the INPS under a special scheme, such as an agricultural worker, an independent worker, etc., in which case you should check your specific conditions. Unemployed workers may be entitled to maternity benefits only under certain conditions as well. To know these and other requirements for special cases, you can visit the INPS official website.

Maternity benefits consist of a maternity allowance and leave. Maternity allowance corresponds to 80% of pay for a total of five months. That could be two months prior to having the child and three months after, or one month before having the child and four months after. You may also be entitled to a one-off lump sum of 800 EUR (880 USD), referred to as the voucher for future mothers.

As part of paternity leave and benefits, you are entitled to an allowance, although to receive it, absence from work is required. Cash paternity allowance corresponds to 100% of pay for five-days of compulsory leave, which should be taken within the first five months after birth.

As for parental leave, both mother and father can claim this benefit. It consists of 30% of pay and can be taken within the first eight years of the child’s life. The maximum leave parents can take is 11 months, which can be split between the parents.

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Updated on: February 21, 2020
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