Size of Italy’s illegal workforce skyrockets Size of Italy’s illegal workforce skyrockets

Size of Italy’s illegal workforce skyrockets
09 Feb 2018

While Italian employment levels topped 23 million for the first time since 2008 last autumn, a new report warns that the country's illegal economy is growing fast.

Between 2012 and 2015, legal employment fell by 2.1%, while the number of those working illegally rose by 6.3%, according to a study by Confcooperative, which represents Italian cooperatives, and socio-economic research institute Censis.

In total, more than 3.3 million people are thought to work in Italy’s illegal or black economy, leaving them vulnerable to abuse by employers due to dangerous working conditions or being paid low wages.

The report showed a huge gap between hourly wages in the regular and irregular economy. In the industrial sector, illegal workers earn 53.7% less than their legal counterparts, and in agriculture the gap is around 36%. Companies hiring them halve their labour costs through tax evasion and by not providing workers with social security and health coverage, reported The Local.

But lack of regulation can also present a danger to the public if bosses urge workers to cut corners in crucial sectors such as food or building.

Half of those people who were hit by the economic crisis were forced into the illegal economy, the report pointed out. Between 2012 and 2015, 462,000 jobs disappeared in the country, while the number of those illegally employed grew by 200,000.

The most affected sectors were domestic work, including cleaners and caregivers, where almost 60% work illegally. They were followed by the agricultural sector at 22%, the housing and catering sector (18%) and the building industry (16%).

There was also a stark regional divide, with rates of illegal working highest in the south. In Calabria and Campania, 9.9% and 8.8% of workers respectively are believed to be working in the black market.

 Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

While Italian employment levels topped 23 million for the first time since 2008 last autumn, a new report warns that the country's illegal economy is growing fast.

Between 2012 and 2015, legal employment fell by 2.1%, while the number of those working illegally rose by 6.3%, according to a study by Confcooperative, which represents Italian cooperatives, and socio-economic research institute Censis.

In total, more than 3.3 million people are thought to work in Italy’s illegal or black economy, leaving them vulnerable to abuse by employers due to dangerous working conditions or being paid low wages.

The report showed a huge gap between hourly wages in the regular and irregular economy. In the industrial sector, illegal workers earn 53.7% less than their legal counterparts, and in agriculture the gap is around 36%. Companies hiring them halve their labour costs through tax evasion and by not providing workers with social security and health coverage, reported The Local.

But lack of regulation can also present a danger to the public if bosses urge workers to cut corners in crucial sectors such as food or building.

Half of those people who were hit by the economic crisis were forced into the illegal economy, the report pointed out. Between 2012 and 2015, 462,000 jobs disappeared in the country, while the number of those illegally employed grew by 200,000.

The most affected sectors were domestic work, including cleaners and caregivers, where almost 60% work illegally. They were followed by the agricultural sector at 22%, the housing and catering sector (18%) and the building industry (16%).

There was also a stark regional divide, with rates of illegal working highest in the south. In Calabria and Campania, 9.9% and 8.8% of workers respectively are believed to be working in the black market.

 Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

Leave a Reply

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing