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Country ProfileProfessional Resources  |  Job Search Resources  | Financial Considerations  |  Employment Trends
Resume/CV's  |  Information Technology  |  Interviewing Advice | Engineering  |  Work Permits | Accounting & Finance  |
Cultural Advice  |   Sales & Marketing  |    General Business


Country Profile
Italy, extending like a boot into the central Mediterranean sea, is
only as large as Georgia and Florida combined, but it's home to about
58 million people, giving it the fifth-highest population density in
Europe. The country is divided into 20 regions, which have climates
that range from dry Mediterranean heat to Alpine chill. While Italian
is, of course, the country's official language, people living in regions
near the borders may speak French, German, or Slovene. Roman
Catholicism is Italy's majority religion, but the country's constitution
provides equal freedom to all religious faiths.

Italy's industrial output approximates those of France and the U.K.,
but the economy is divided into two regions: a developed, industrial
north and an agricultural south, where the unemployment rate is over
20 percent.

Since the end of World War II, when the Italian economy was largely
agricultural, Italy has developed into the world's fifth-largest
industrial economy. Italy is a member of the Group of Eight
industrialized nations (G8), the European Union, and the OECD. In
2000, the country's GDP was $1.2 trillion, with a per capita income of
approximately $18,600. Economic growth in 2000 was 2.9 percent.

Professional Resources
Foreigners looking to work in Italy might find it useful to get in touch
with any of a number of business organizations and trade councils.
For instance, there's CISL, or the Italian Confederation of Workers'
Trade Unions, an organization that boasts more than 4,000,000
members in a variety of sectors.

PROMOS is an agency based in Milan that works with the Chamber of
Commerce to establish international business contacts for small and
medium sized companies. Other resources include the chambers of
commerce that are found in most major Italian cities, including
American and British Chambers in Milan. Expatriates should acquaint
themselves with the major phone directories that serve Italy, too,
including the Pagine Bianche and the Pagine Giallo, the Italian white
and yellow pages, respectively.

A number of Italian periodicals, such as Bancamatica and Economia &
Management focus on business and the world of work. You can also
get the latest information on the country's business world by reading
work-related books like the Italy Intelligence Report. Finally, many
expatriates make unbeatable connections through networking
associations located in most of the major Italian cities. The
Benvenuto Club of Milan and the Rotary Club are two well established
groups.

Job Search Resources
Thanks to the increasing use of computers and the web, it's possible
to find a job in Italy on the Internet, but traditional forms of
recruiting, such as public employment agencies, personal networking,
trade union assistance, and newspaper ads, are still more common.
Personal networking is the Italians' preferred method of finding a job,
but the Internet can help a newcomer to the country compensate for
a lack of personal contacts. Job advertisements can also be found in
both the print and Web versions of many Italian newspapers.

A number of websites offer free job databases and the ability to
submit a curriculum vitae to potential employers. The sites also
provide direct links to company recruiting offices and information on
job issues. Government-sponsored employment offices have
websites, too, including Ergonline, which is run by the Ministry of
Labor and the Agenzie Regionali Lavoro, which provides
region-specific job listings.

Temporary employment is a new concept to the Italians, but
according to one study, there will be more than one million temporary
workers in Italy in 2001. Yet another study expects one out of three
temp workers in Italy to become permanently employed. Try
contacting Manpower or Adecco.

Financial Considerations
Italian salaries are established by the state and codified based on
the category into which the worker falls. The salary rates are
published in books called tabelle professionali. In entry-level
positions, most employees earn minimum wage, and payday usually
comes once a month. Employers in Italy pay all social security
benefits and bonuses, and workers in Italy earn 14 months of salary
each year, paid sick days, free health care, and job security
protected by labor laws.

A real estate agent, or agenzie immobiliari, may be useful to the
expatriate looking for housing. They usually charge a fee of 10 to 20
percent of the first year's rent, which ranges from $600-$2,000 a
month in Rome (housing is usually less expensive in rural areas). In
addition, renters must pay a security deposit, registration tax, and
fees for heat, cleaning, maintenance, elevator maintenance,
gardening, and more--it adds up. Food, on the other hand, is not so
expensive. A head of lettuce averages 30 cents; spinach sets you
back about 76 cents a pound.

All newcomers to Italy must have some form of insurance when they
reach the country, regardless of their country of origin. A residence
permit will not be issued without proof of insurance.

The Italian work week, is 40 hours long. The regular work week
should not exceed six days, and a work day shouldn't last more than
eight hours. Workers receive at least four weeks of paid vacation,
with many getting up to six weeks off.

Employment Trends
According to an October 2000 study by the Centro Studi
UNIONCAMERE, there should be a 3.5 percent increase in
non-seasonal employment in Italy through the fourth quarter of
2001. In other words, 350,000 new positions are expected to be
created. Small business in particular is predicted to experience
substantial growth--6 percent--while medium-sized businesses will
grow by 1.6 percent and large companies will remain stable.

Employment growth is expected to be most dramatic in the country's
southern regions, followed by the central region and finally the north.
The growth is due in large part to the industrial and service sectors.
In the service sector, the growth is linked to the Internet economy
and the tourism industry. Analysts also project growth in distribution,
wholesale, vehicle sales, minerals, food industries, wood furniture,
and artisan enterprises.

Resume/CV's
The purpose of your resume is to present and highlight aspects of
your education and experience which make you a good choice for the
position.

Start by giving your name, address, contact information, birth date
and place, marital status, children and nationality. Then, under
"Education," beginning with the most recent, list schools attended,
from secondary through university, with their names, locations, dates
of attendance, and your areas of emphasis, grades, and degrees.
Describe briefly your extracurricular activities, awards/honors, and
additional specialized training.

"Employment History" starts with your most recent job. Give the
name, location and focus of each company. Then list your job
title(s), responsibilities, and dates of employment. Highlight relevant
activities, such as international projects, team leadership, and
budget development. Explain any gaps in employment. At the end of
this section, list outstanding business-related accomplishments and
special skills, especially knowledge of Italian, other languages and
computer programs, and related military and volunteer service.

According to Italian law 675/96, you must grant permission for the
use of your personal data. Add a note citing this law, along with your
signature, on the original resume.

Enclose your resume with a handwritten cover letter. Unless directed
otherwise, there is no need to enclose a photo or supplementary
documents

Information Technology
The demand for IT and communications personnel, especially those
working in Internet-related fields, has grown exponentially since the
beginning of 2001. Experts expect a hiring boom in the IT industry.
According to the European Commission, the gap between supply and
demand in this sector will grow to 18 percent by 2002 and the
market will need an additional 200,000 specialists. For example,
Omnitel, the Italian telecom group, hired 600 employees in the first
half of 2001 and plans to hire an additional 600 by year's end.

A master's degree or an equivalent technical diploma in computer
science or electrical engineering is required for jobs in IT, but no
further certification is necessary. IT organizations and trade
associations include Federcomin, which represents
telecommunications, radio-television, and computer firms.

Interviewing Advice
Before the interview, research the company-its history, present
focus, problems and future direction, and then review your own skills
and experience. Prepare a few questions in advance. Practice your
Italian. Italians prefer to do business in their own language. Efforts
on your part will be appreciated, even if you are not fluent.

On the day of the interview, dress conservatively. For men this
means a dark, well- tailored suit and a tie; for women, fashionable
suits or dresses.

Interviews normally begin with introductions, firm handshakes all
around, the exchange of business cards, and a few minutes of
informal conversation. Italians are warm, friendly, physical, and given
to hand gestures and little personal space. They also respect age
and position, so use appropriate titles.

During the meeting, allow the interviewer to direct the conversation.
When questioned, give a complete response, and cite examples of
how you handled specific problems. Be alert and interested, and ask
questions about the position and its responsibilities. Do not raise the
issue of salary early in the interview. However, if you are asked
about your current salary, respond directly and honestly.

Engineering
There's a positive growth trend in the construction engineering
industry, which means an increase in job openings for both
specialized and unskilled labor. Mechanical and plant engineering are
also seeing a need for engineers and technicians. The country as a
whole lacks product design engineers, product-process technicians,
mechanical designers, and production technicians. The new
Stmicroelectronics complex in Etna Valley, Italy's version of Silicon
Valley, expects to hire 1,500 people between 2000 and 2002,
particularly electronic engineers, computer engineers, and physicists.

Electrical engineers will see the most opportunities in Italy, especially
in the northern and central regions. Large-scale northern companies
need mechanical engineers; civil engineers usually work on a
freelance basis, but may be hired permanently in construction.

Engineers in Italy usually need a university degree equivalent to the
American MA, but in some circumstances a degree that corresponds
to a bachelor's degree is adequate.

Two of the many professional associations for engineers in Italy are
the Engineers National Council and the Italian Association of the
Organizations of Engineering and Technical-Economic Consulting.
There's also a union for freelance engineers. Foreigners who want to
be engineers in Italy could also benefit from investigating such
resources as websites, magazines, and labor unions.


Work Permits
Citizens of the EU or the United States need not carry visas in order
to enter Italy, as long as their visit is for a stay of no more than 90
days. Those intending to stay in Italy longer than 180 days can get
a visa application from the Italian Embassy or consulate in their
country. For a foreigner to work in Italy, he must hold a residency
permit and a worker registration card, which he cannot get until a
company agrees to hire him. The work permit application process
takes six to eight weeks. Permits of various types are also required
for those who stay in Italy for longer than seven days for the
purpose of finding work, workers who will be employed for more than
three months but less than a year, and the families of foreign
workers. For more information on Italian work and residency permits,
contact the Ministero dell'Interno Ucalri (Minister of the Interior) or
the Italian Embassy.

Accounting & Finance
In Italy, finance, marketing, and business all fall under the term
Servizi Avanzati, which means "advanced services." More than
40,000 companies and 600,000 employees are in this category.
Experts predict a 5 percent growth rate for employment in advanced
services.

The accounting profession is regulated by two organizations,
CONSRAG and CNDC. CONSRAG requires members to have a high
school education and two years of work experience; while CDNC does
not require work experience, its members must have a university
degree. The two organizations oversee the certification and
examination process for accounting professionals.

In addition to CONSRAG and CDNC, there are professional
organizations that aim to promote their members' work, conduct
research, improve career training, open channels of communication,
publish papers, and more. Foreigners interested in the accounting
and finance fields may also find it useful to check out a variety of
financial magazines. Il Mondo is a weekly periodical covering economy
and finance.

Cultural Advice
Italy's unemployment rate is quite high compared to other countries,
owing perhaps to the fact that Italians enter the work force at an
earlier age than do citizens of other nations. Many Italians and
expatriates living in Italy are employed illegally and paid under the
table. Many Italians attend vocational high schools or professional
training programs before seeking jobs, and foreign-born English
speakers with work experience may have an advantage over Italians
in the job market.

Social status and etiquette are very important in Italy. Italians
adjust their grammar according to the social standing of the person
to whom they're talking. They often address each other by formal
business titles instead of names. Despite their reputation to the
contrary, they are quite punctual.

Non-verbal communication is also important in Italy. On the job,
Italians are sure to make eye contact and shake hands firmly;
otherwise, they may be considered deceitful. The Italian concept of
personal space may surprise foreigners; in Italy, standing very close
to someone is considered a sign of affection. Italians dress rather
formally and always carry business cards.

Italians go on vacation during the month of August, making it difficult
to schedule meetings or events during that month. There is no such
thing as a non-smoking section in Italy, and smoking is allowed in
offices as well as restaurants and other public places.


Sales & Marketing
Increasingly, Italy is beginning to see a new trend toward retail and
service franchising. The Italian government, believing franchising
provides a greater efficiency of business, offers financial assistance
to encourage the development of franchising networks.

The business sectors currently offering the best potential for sales
are those in services. Tech businesses, such as those in e-commerce
and telecommunications, also fare well in the sales marketplace. As
far as direct marketing is concerned, the Italians rely heavily on
catalog sales. As Italy's postal systems are improved, this method of
marketing may grow even more.

Italy has several organizations and trade associations for those in
sales and marketing, including the Italian Marketing Association and
the Association of Italian Advertisement Consultants. Media Forum is
a monthly magazine covering marketing, communications, and the
media industry.

Many companies require sales and marketing professionals to hold a
master's degree in business administration.

General Business
The Italian government's new e-government plan, which includes
provisions to improve government's internal efficiency, offer
integrated services, and guarantee the public electronic access to
government services, means new jobs in Italy. The estimated cost of
the project is 1,335 million lire, and significant progress toward these
goals will be made in the next year. The government intends to focus
primarily on two targets: an improvement in the efficiency of public
administration and the introduction of technical innovations.

A master's degree in business administration is required for a general
business job or a career as management consultant in Italy. There is
no universal business license or certification in Italy, so prospective
employees in these fields should contact the major organization in
their chosen areas for more information on education and
certification requirements.

One of Italy's general business-related associations is the
Professional Association of Direction and Organization Consultants
(APCO). APCO was established in 1968 and serves those who work
as freelance and salaried management and organization consultants.
Market Press is a reputable periodical for information on business
trends.


This is only a small part what's available in the 75+ information packed pages of the Going Global Career Guide for Italy:
 

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Country Career Guides Table of Contents

I. COUNTRY PROFILE

II. JOB-SEARCH RESOURCES
1.Online Job Sites
2.Government-Sponsored Employment Offices
3.Job Fairs/Career Events
4.Staffing Agencies/Temporary Help Firms
5.Newspapers that Publish Job Advertisements
6.Other Resources

III. EMPLOYMENT TRENDS AND OPPORTUNITIES

General Trends
Information Technology

1. Certification/Education Requirements
2. Organizations/Trade Associations
3. Publications
4. Other Resources
Engineering
1. Certification/Education Requirements
2. Organizations/Trade Associations
3. Publications
4. Other Resources
Accounting and Finance
1. Certification/Education Requirements
2. Organizations/Trade Associations
3. Publications
4. Other Resources
Sales and Marketing
1. Certification/Education Requirements
2. Organizations/Trade Associations
3. Publications
4. Other Resources
General Business
1. Certification/Education Requirements
2. Organizations/Trade Associations
3. Publications
4. Other Resources

IV. PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS AND RESOURCES
1.Business Organizations/Trade Councils
2.Chambers of Commerce
3.Telephone Directories
4.Publications
5.Other Resources

VI. FINANCIAL CONSIDERATIONS ( Cost of living, salaries, health insurance, taxes, vacation/leave, benefits, etc)

VII. WORK PERMITS/VISAS

VIII. JOB APPLICATION GUIDELINES
1.Cover Letter Guidelines and Sample
2.Resume/CV Guidelines and Samples

IX. INTERVIEWING ADVICE

X. CULTURAL ADVICE

XI. COUNTRY RESOURCE BOOKS