Summer job. In Italy there are 170,000 workers missing

Summer is upon us and the alarm arrives promptly: there is a shortage of workers. Indeed, 170 thousand did not respond to the appeal, according to Confcommercio estimates. In a country where tertiaryisation has taken hold, the problem is not just a summer one, but for the entire Italian economy.

Waiters, cooks, bartenders, cleaners, hotel and restaurant reception staff, lifeguards and so on. In the tertiary sector, especially in the tourism sector, according to this year's photograph taken by the Tertiary and Work Observatory, 170 thousand workers are still needed to face the summer. And what a summer! The forecasts speak of 466 million presences in Italy, against 446 million in 2023. An increase of 4.5%. Doing the math, this translates into 70,000 new workers needed compared to last year, for accommodation and catering activities. Adding related industries, transport, culture and trade the sum reaches 170 thousand.

And the problem is that these are workers who are difficult to find, due to a “lack of specific skills”, the Confederation reports. In these sectors, in fact, on average it is difficult to recruit 45% of the employees. The strong component of seasonality also has an impact. 65.9% of tertiary contracts are permanent, compared to an average of 73.8% for the entire Italian economy. In tourism in particular, the lack of long-range, year-round investments plays a large role. In hotels only one worker in four is on a permanent contract and in restaurants one in two has a stable job. Seasonality is reflected in contracts and therefore in staff recruitment.

It is a problem for the Italian system. We are faced with an “industry” that has 2.7 million employees (11% of the workforce), which brings 255 billion euros to the country (13% of the GDP). Italy is in seventh place in Europe in terms of the sector's impact on national GDP, ahead of France and Germany. The tertiarization of the country is increasingly evident. In 2023, the tertiary sector exceeded 50% of Italian employed people for the first time. Between 2019 and 2023, 2.6 million jobs were created in our country. And two million, 77.9%, belong to the tertiary market.

Looking at the last 28 years, 400 thousand jobs have disappeared in public administration, one million in agriculture and industry. While in the tertiary sector the number of full-time workers went from 9.1 to 12.5 million (+3.45 million jobs). Confcommercio predicts that thanks to the tertiary sector (tourism in particular) the Italian GDP could go a little over +1%. The sector compensates for the economic and employment contraction of large industry and small and medium-sized enterprises.

Focusing on the sector that creates the most jobs means supporting the country's economy. “We need more active policies, more training to facilitate the meeting between job supply and demand” claims the president of Confcommercio, Carlo Sangalli. Accepting the lack of workers in the tertiary sector every year, without taking action, means ballasting the entire economy of the country, not a marginal sector.