Employment Agencies

Public and Private Employment Agencies

Job seekers in Italy should register at the nearest employment office ( ufficio di collocamento) of the government employment service ( Sezione Circoscrizionate per l’Impiego).

You can register without being a resident (and should be given the same help as Italian nationals and residents), but require a permit to stay and a workers’ registration card ( libretto di lavoro). Employment offices provide information about registration, unemployment cards, agricultural jobs, residency, apprenticeships, public bodies, and benefit applications and payments. They organise seminars about job hunting and have trained counsellors to help you find an appropriate job. Some centres have Internet access.

Regional employment agencies are operated by the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare ( Ministero del Lavoro e della Previdenza Sociale) and there are also local employment centres ( centri di iniziativa locale per l’occupazione/CILO) in cities and large towns, which provide help and advice about work-related problems and self-employment. There are also information centres for the unemployed ( centro infomazione disoccupati) in major cities run by the larger trade unions. Here you can obtain information about job vacancies, finding work and employment regulations; some offices also offer advice on job interviews, writing application letters, setting up a business, self-employment, income tax and social security.

Young people can obtain information about jobs and training at local information centres ( informagiovani), found in most towns and cities. These centres have situations vacant boards for temporary ( lavoro interinale) and part-time ( lavoro a tempo parziale or lavoro part-time) jobs such as baby-sitting, teaching children, gardening and domestic work. They maintain job listings (you can also place a ‘work wanted’ ad.) and distribute leaflets, flyers and booklets about finding work in Italy. They provide help and advice on finding temporary work, information about courses and training, evening classes, scholarships, enrolment at university, cultural events and hobbies. You can lodge your curriculum vitae (CV) on their website (www.informagiovani.it ), check job offers, contact agencies offering part-time work and apply directly to companies offering employment. There’s also a section listing employment laws, working conditions and employment contracts.

European Employment Service

There’s also a European Employment Service (EURES) network, members of which include all EU countries plus Norway and Iceland. Member states exchange information regularly on job vacancies, and local EURES offices have access to information on how to apply for a job and living and working conditions in each country. The international department of your home country’s employment service can put you in touch with a ‘Euroadviser’ who can provide advice on finding work in Italy. Euroadvisers have permanent links with EURES services in other member states and also have permanent access to two databases. One database contains details of job offers in all member states and the other provides information on living and working conditions, and a profile of the trends for regional labour markets.

Euroadvisers can also arrange to have your personal details forwarded to the Italian Job Centre ( Sezione Circoscrizionale per l’Impiego Collocamento in Agricola/SCICA) in Italy. However, given the high level of unemployment in Italy, this is rarely the fastest or the most efficient method for finding a job there, particularly from abroad. As would be expected, national employment services give priority to their own nationals and jobs aren’t generally referred to EURES or other national agencies until after prospective local candidates have been considered. The Citizens First website (http://citizens.eu.int ) contains information about EURES and EURES-related agencies in many European countries and you can also consult http://europa.eu.int/eures/index.jsp .
For further information contact the Ministero del Lavoro e della Previdenza Sociale, Via Flavia, 6, 00187 Rome (Tel. 06-4788 7174, www.lavoro.gov.it ).

Private Recruitment Agencies

There are two main kinds of recruitment agency in Italy, temporary agencies ( lavori ad interim) and executive search companies ( ricerca personale).

Temporary Agencies

Unlike many other European countries, Italy officially prohibited temporary employees until January 1998, when a new law came into effect. Under the new law, an agency can only place workers with an employer to satisfy a temporary demand and agencies must have fulfilled certain criteria and received authorisation.

A temporary contract ( contratto per prestazioni di lavoro temporaneo) is a fixed-term contract or an open-ended contract, where an agency must pay compensation to a worker for the periods when he isn’t working. The agency must pay workers’ social security contributions and work accident insurance. Temporary workers have pro rata rights to annual and public holidays, a 13th month’s salary and any other payments which other workers employed by the same company are entitled to.

To sign up with an agency you need a permit to stay, a fiscal code ( codice fiscale) and your work record book ( libretto di lavoro). You’re required to complete a form in Italian and must supply a CV (in Italian) and a passport-size photograph. You will be interviewed by the agency and probably again by a prospective employer. Temporary work is most common in the secretarial, computer and industrial fields, and work in other sectors is limited, although it may still be worth enquiring and registering with agencies.

Always ensure that you know exactly how much, when and how you will be paid. Because of the long annual holidays in Italy and generous maternity leave, companies often require temporary staff, and a temporary job can frequently be used as a stepping stone to a permanent position (companies often hire temporary workers for a ‘trial’ period before offering them a full-time contract).

Temporary agencies with offices in most Italian cities include Adecco (www.adecco.it ), ALI (www.alispa.it ), Eurointerim (www.eurointerim.it ), Kelly (www.kellyservices.it ), Manpower (www.manpower.it ), Sinterim (www.sinterim.it ) and Vedior (www.vedior.it ). You can also find local agencies in the yellow pages under Lavoro Interinale e Temporaneo.

Executives

Executive recruitment and search companies are common in the major cities and are mainly used by large Italian companies to recruit staff, particularly executives, managers and professionals. Agents place advertisements in daily and weekly newspapers and trade magazines, but don’t usually mention the client’s name, not least to prevent applicants from approaching a company directly, thus depriving the agency of its fat fee.

Recruitment agencies were hard hit by the recession in the 1990s, particularly those dealing with executives and senior managers, and many Italian companies now do their own recruiting or promote in-house. Unless you’re a particularly outstanding candidate with half a dozen degrees, are multi-lingual and have valuable experience, sending an unsolicited CV to an agent is usually a waste of time. There are also recruitment agencies in many countries that specialise in recruiting executives, managers and professionals for employers in Italy.

Further reading

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