Emergency for carers and housekeepers in Italy: in 2025 the demand will reach 2.3 million

SOS carers and housekeepers. In Italy, 2.3 million will be needed in 2025, that is, 41 thousand more than this year. The population is aging: the number of those who need assistance is increasing and the number of active people and therefore at work is decreasing. The emergency was measured by the 2024 report “Family (Net) Work – Laboratory on home, family and domestic work”, presented by Assindatcolf and the Idos Study and Research Centre.

The need (those 2 million 288 thousand carers and housekeepers) concerns families that have regular workers, that have staff without a contract, but also those who would need it but above all for economic reasons, give up hiring. Next year Italy will need 1 million 25 thousand carers and 1 million 262 thousand housekeepers. In detail, there will be 1 million 524 thousand foreign workers and 764 thousand Italians.

The situation is widespread throughout the Peninsula, but Lombardy is the region with the greatest need: 141 thousand carers and 209 thousand housekeepers in 2025. Then there is Lazio with the need for 93 thousand carers and 208 thousand housekeepers. In the top positions in the need ranking are Campania (98 thousand carers and 158 thousand housekeepers); Sicily (97 thousand carers and 177 thousand housekeepers) and Puglia (86 thousand carers and 100 thousand housekeepers). The majority of domestic workers are foreigners (68.9%), especially from Eastern Europe and the share of carers (49.6%) has now almost reached the share of housekeepers (50.4%). As for carers, the region with the lowest share of foreign workers is Sardinia (less than 19%), followed by Molise (45.6%), Calabria (48.3%) and Sicily (48.4%). On the opposite side are Emilia-Romagna and Lombardy where 85% of carers are not Italian.

Domestic workers are therefore increasingly indispensable, but more and more families are struggling to afford this help. In 2023 there was a 7.3% drop in contributions paid in the sector, according to the INPS Domestic Work Observatory. And the year before the drop had been 7.6%. Given the growing identified need, this does not mean that fewer carers and housekeepers are being hired. It means that families are giving up for economic reasons (this is why tax breaks and support are needed) but above all it means that the shadow of the underground economy is advancing. Nuova Collaborazione, the National Association of Domestic Employers, estimates that undeclared work in the sector is around 50-60%. The phenomenon had been put on the brakes, slowing down during the pandemic. Many relationships had been regularized to allow housekeepers and carers to go out to work during the lockdown. But once the emergency was over, the underground economy returned forcefully to make its way.

Regulation of the sector is a necessity for the state coffers and for the country’s economy. We are moving towards an Italy where in 2050 35% of the population will be over 65 years old and with a record low fertility rate (1.2 children per woman). And the numbers of the need for domestic workers are growing year after year. Furthermore, regularizing and supporting the sector would also mean incentivizing female employment. Today, 53% of women who do not work do not look for a job because they have to take care of family members or the house. But if the employment rate of Italian women were to grow, reaching that of the European average, there would be an increase in the Italian GDP of 7.4%, equal to 154.7 billion euros of greater added value.