Five priorities for the new Minister of Labour

19-01-2023 | News

While in Italy there is discussion about the future of the basic income and the navigator who should have been a link between the unemployed and the labor market, full employment is essentially being recorded in Switzerland and some cantons are dismissing or not renewing the fixed-term contract of several employees of the employment offices.

By Umberto Frigelli

In Italy, according to the latest ISTAT data, employment remains more than 23 million and is slightly up on 2021, but the unemployment rate is stable at around 7.9% and reaches 23.7% in the population between 15 and 24 years old. In the 18-24 age group, the school dropout rate is very high and the number of graduates is far from European values. 

The "brain drain" from our country it does not help retain precious resources, in which the community has invested. Consistent with these data, demography is condemning us to be a country where the population of working age will drop from 63.8% to 53.3% of the total in 30 years. Already today it highlights the mismatching between supply and demand on the labor market, with difficulty finding job positions on average around 40% of planned income. The signs with the words "personnel wanted" displayed outside many commercial and restaurant establishments this summer were a simple testimony to this, as well as the search for different profiles by companies and the turnover of personnel in the healthcare sector. 

These macroeconomic scenarios highlight some of the points weak of our labor market, to which must be added gender differences, a real increase in the cost of living and a failure to increase wages in line with European values and the protection of rights, especially in small businesses, which make up a large part of our productive fabric. It should not be dismissed as these issues mark a profound gap between the productive regions of the north, more similar in data to European countries and to the more industrialized ones in the world, and the regions of the south which to date, since the unification of Italy, has not never been able to fill. Structural answers should be given to these typical problems of our world of work. 

On the occasion of the birth of the new Government, the Italian Association for Personnel Management (AIDP) probed internally what is the orientation of the members towards the priorities on which the new Minister of Labor should concentrate. The five priorities that emerged from the survey concern in first place, and with a wide margin over the others, the cut the tax wedge. The request follows increase the welfare share from the employer tax and social security exempt. In third place emerges, in line with the scenarios we have sketched above, the need to build a system of effective active policies and oriented to the real demands of the labor market. The fourth priority is to establish new incentives upon hiring or at the transformation of permanent contracts. To tell the truth, this need seems to have already been taken into consideration by the "package" of measures that the new Minister is presenting in view of the new Budget Law. Finally, the last of the five priorities identified by our associates concerns the review of the regulation of fixed-term contracts, favoring their use without excessive abuse. 

Even if economic interventions to support income emerge in first place among the priorities of many of the insiders, especially in a phase of geopolitical turbulence and inflation such as the current one, in the medium and long term a labor market support strategy can only focus on active policies. Those policies, that is, capable of promoting employment, integration and reintegration into work and helping the unemployed and young people to seize the opportunities to acquire the skills needed today and in the future to enter a rapidly changing world. With the awareness that only rational action, attentive to long-term data, and which takes into consideration the interests of the various forces in the field, will be able to overcome the existing problems and those that are already foreseen in the future.

Umberto Frigelli, occupational psychologist and Business Management Consultant, is a Mading partner, University Professor, AIDP National Research Center Coordinator.

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