Italy offers a variety of industries in which to work. Find out about the Italian economy and learn how to navigate the country's job market...
The global financial crisis of 2008 hit the Italian economy hard and the country is still recovering today. While Italy may have the third largest economy in the Eurozone it also has one of the highest levels of public debt, second only to Greece. Youth unemployment is also high at 43%.
As an English speaker your language skills will be valued, particularly in tourism and teaching, not only as a second language but also because the majority of locals are not fluent in English. However, picking up a second language and learning Italian will prove extremely useful and will increase your chances of finding work.
Italy is a country rich in history and culture and is well know throughout the world for its beautiful landscapes and architecture, all of this will be at your fingertips if you decide to work in Italy.
Job market in Italy
In Italy industry prospers in the North, where there is an abundance of private companies. The majority of the population reside here and you will be in direct competition with locals for job opportunities. The South is more rural - concerned mainly with agriculture and farming, which has declined in recent years.
The country's major industries include:
- food processing;
- iron and steel;
- motor vehicles;
Well known Italian brands in the automotive sector include Ferrari and Lamborghini and in fashion there are notable names such as Gucci, Prada, Versace, Armani and Benetton.
English teachers are in high demand in Italy and this type of work is readily available. Qualifications are preferable but it is possible to find work without. For more information, go to TEFL.com.
There are plenty of seasonal jobs, especially in the tourism sector and these include bar, hotel and restaurant work. The agricultural sector also provides casual summer jobs such as fruit picking and outdoor work. Opportunities to work as an au pair are usually easy to find.
Networking through friends and family is generally considered the best way to find a job therefore finding work when you are in Italy will be easier as you can begin making contacts directly, wherever you decide to look for work.
Vacancies are commonly advertised in local newspapers and magazines and can also be searched for online. Applications usually consist of a CV and cover letter or an application form. Speculative applications are welcomed by employers and where possible all applications should be submitted in Italian unless otherwise stated.
Search for jobs in Italy at:
Work experience and internships in Italy
The Leonardo da Vinci Programme works with organisations in other countries to deliver vocational training. Contact your university's international office for more information.
Internships and summer work placements for students can also be arranged by:
- AIESEC UK - for students and recent graduates;
- IAESTE UK - for science, engineering and applied arts students.
Volunteering in Italy
Voluntary work is a great way to build your skill-set and learn a new language. It will help to have some money saved before you set off as the vast majority of voluntary positions are unpaid.
Volunteering looks great on your CV and gives you the chance to network and build contacts.
The European Voluntary Service (EVS), funded by the European Commission (EC), is a scheme aimed at people aged 18 to 30 wishing to volunteer abroad. It offers young people the chance to volunteer for up to 12 months in a number of European and non-European countries.
Opportunities vary from placements concerned with sport and culture to others focused on social care and the environment.
For successful applicants, accommodation, travel, food and insurance are all covered by a European grant and you even receive a personal allowance each month.
Make sure you thoroughly research all volunteering opportunities and always check the terms and conditions before committing yourself to a scheme.
Large sections of the population don't speak English, despite young Italians starting to speak the language more widely and fluently. Nearly all jobs will require you to speak Italian to a high level.
Locals working in tourism and in major towns and cities will speak English but less so in rural areas. There are Italian language courses in the UK and many good websites exist to help you learn a language or improve your skills. To get the ball rolling and learn the basics visit BBC Languages - Italian.
Italian visas and immigration
According to the EC, European Union (EU) citizens have the right to:
- move to another EU country to work without a work permit;
- enjoy equal treatment with nationals in access to employment, working conditions and all other social and tax advantages;
- stay in the country even after employment has finished.
After three months EU citizens will require a residence permit and this can be applied for at your local Italian police headquarters. When applying you will need your passport and passport sized photographs.
Non-EU citizens will require a visa, residence and work permit to live and work in the country.
For more information and to check what conditions and restrictions apply see:
- European Commission - Free Movement EU Nationals
- Europa - Work-Related Rights
- Europa - Workers and Pensioners
Official governmental information on visas can be found at British Embassy in Italy.
Find out more
- Discover what it's like to study in Italy.