Rome at a Glance
Working in Rome
The Current Economic Climate
At the moment, the opportunity of working in Rome may seem like a two-edged sword to some expatriates.
On the one hand, the prospect of working in Rome gives rise to worries about the state of the Italian economy. The business section of many a global newspaper has discussed its weaknesses at length: rising public debt, the government’s budget deficit, a shrinking GDP -by 0.4% in 2014, an unemployment rate of 12.7%, and stagnating foreign investment (often ascribed to low transparency, high corporate taxes, as well as considerable labor costs). Focusing on this grim picture painted in the media, expatriates may easily become concerned about what working in Rome means for their career.
On the other hand, Italy still has the 10th largest economy in the world, the 4th largest in the European Union, and the 3rd largest in the Euro zone. Many Italians are rightfully proud of the high-quality products created in the nation’s small and medium enterprises. Circa 99.9% of Italy’s companies are small or medium-sized, often family businesses, and they contribute around 70% of the entire GDP.
Of course, expats may not necessarily get the foot in the door of a traditional crafts establishment that has been family-owned for three generations. However, there are other possibilities for working in Rome.
Fashion, Tourism, and High-Tech
While much of the industry is concentrated in the north of the country, there are numerous employees working in Rome’s chemical and pharmaceutical sectors or in the high-tech and aerospace industries, with their R&D facilities. However, it should also be noted that vehicle engineering, electrical engineering, machinery and equipment, and the chemical industry are currently all affected by the recession and decreasing domestic consumption.
It is the services sector that is essential for most people working in Rome. A lot of Rome’s labor market centers on tertiary occupations, for example in finance, banking, and real estate. General business services – e.g. tax consulting, logistics, or HR management – also provide jobs for people interested in working in Rome. Moreover, the national capital is the seat of several big employers that used to be owned by the Italian government, such as the electric utility provider Enel, one of the leaders in the energy business.
Last but not least, we shouldn’t forget the creative minds working in Rome’s media and fashion industries or the many employees in the tourism sector. Since Rome is among the most visited cities in the world, working in Rome’s tourism industry could be a valid option for foreign residents in Italy. The tourism sector is among those still holding out despite the economic crisis.
Opportunities of the Future
If you are not a typical expat sent on a foreign assignment to the Rome-based office of a multinational company, you may be interested in niche markets with future potential. Energy-efficient construction and green technology might turn into possible growth sectors for Italy’s economy. Furthermore, as 75% of Italy’s energy stems from foreign sources, this has sparked an interest in renewable energy production.
Another chance for expats who want to be working in Rome could be the air and ground support industry. According to the Masterplan Fiumicino Nord, Rome’s Leonardo Da Vinci Airport in Fiumicino will be gradually expanded from four to eight terminals during the next three decades. This should create new jobs for those working in Rome’s flagging construction industry, as well as in infrastructure planning, logistics, and air support.
If you’re interested in working in Rome, you will be glad to hear that the city has the second highest average income in Italy, right after Milan. It also has a lower cost of living than its perennial rival in Lombardy.
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