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Italy - Salaries
The recent economic recession has also taken its toll on the financial sector in Italy, affecting wages as well. Despite the effects of economic decline and debt, Italy’s cities do offer great prospects to job seekers in certain sectors. Milan for example remains one of the world’s biggest financial centres. The struggling economy notwithstanding, employees in Milan still rake in the highest average incomes in Italy. The city also holds on to its position as a global fashion centre with the headquarters of some of the biggest fashion labels having the headquarters here. Not surprisingly, the textile and garment industry is an important sector for Milan’s economy. The tourist industry is another sector that hasn’t felt too much of a pinch from the recession and Milan is a great destination for anyone engaged in the tourist business.
Italy does not have any defined minimum wage at the national level or at the regional level. Article 36 of the Italian Constitution however states that employees should be compensated fairly, based on the quality and amount of work they perform, allowing them to maintain a decent standard of living. Minimum wages in Italy are typically based on collective bargaining agreements or CBAs that prescribe the minimum salary for relevant sectors. Even if a company has not entered into such CBAs the courts can consider the wages as set out in national CBAs.
Italy became a unified state in the mid-1800s. Most people at that time were loyal to their town or region and this viewpoint has been passed down from one generation to the next. Italians even have a word for this sense of belonging and loyalty – “campanilismo” which can be literally translated as ‘loyalty to your bell-tower’. Unfortunately, this has led to drastic economic differences between regions with the most obvious distinction being the difference between the North and the South.
The difference between incomes in the North and the South is so vast that they are often compared to different countries – where the average income in the North can be compared to France or Germany while the average income of someone in the South can be compared to Spain or Portugal. The average salary of people living in southern Italy is approximately 75% of what it is in the north. Due to the extreme regional gap in income, the average income in Lombardy is 32,000 Euros while average income in Sicily is 21,000 Euros. Generally, the salary levels in Sicily are among the lowest while Trento and Bolzano, in Veneto, Umbria and Friuli-Venezia Giulia offer higher salaries.
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