Corruption: 25% of young escape Italy

In 2022 nearly 200.000 Italian nationals packed and left to never get back to their homeland

London, 14 April 2023 – The key word is ‘cooptazione’: the corrupted practice by which in Italy you have to be introduced by friends, family, politicians, or influent people in order to find a job. There must be an exchange of favours or very close relations with an employer/manager to place a person.

Only unqualified or low positions are advertised and very few are actually available to applicants.

There are exceptions such as very prestigious Universities or private ones where economic background is decisive and leads straightway to qualified work: but that’s for the elites.

To co-opt a person, by making of work a privilege for those who are introduced as ‘members’ of a group, is a crime because work is a basic human right. In Italy it is also a specific fundamental right stated in the first article of its constitution. Unfair selection or absence of any selection process excludes all those who have no relevant connections from the access to qualified jobs in Italy.

The practice of replacing recruitment of skill-based selected candidates with ‘co-optation’ is the reason behind the mass poverty and the mass migration of Italian youth because creates a non-competitive work environment where tacit agreements of non-competition among groups of ‘co-opted’ make work static and limit development.

The structure of Italian economy is split into the few old big groups monopolizing the market and an ocean of PMI (SME) a category including micro-businesses which do not grow, a big part of these PMI are family run businesses.

Last 2022 Migrantes annual report says emigration from Italy nearly doubled from 2006 to 2022 (+87% overall). Young head mainly to northern EU countries to find work through regular application or to upskill in universities able to address them to the work environment through academic references.

They flee from the northern, richest, regions such as Lombardy, the most developed area of the Mediterranean country. Meaning that historically productive areas such as Milan, are no longer producing new job positions or developing new sectors, and consequently economy is not expanding.

UK, Germany and France are the top three countries of destination for Italian emigrants looking for work abroad

While new graduates expatriate to contribute with their skills to the development of other EU countries, immigrants in Italy reached a total of 5.2 million in 2022 (figures Istat – Italian Office of National Statistics), replacing the skilled generation with an unskilled one.

Meanwhile pension age has been raised to 69, but all is quiet in the Bel Paese, in stark contrast with the neighbouring France where young generations and trade unions are making history by taking to the streets to abolish Macron’s neoliberal pension reform raising age of retirement from 62 to 64.

In 2022 nearly 200 thousands Italian nationals left; now the core of the problem is for those who remain as social mobility does not exist right because of the ‘co-opting system’ and trade unions mainly represent and defend those with a contract.

Maurizio Landini secretary of CGIL the biggest Italian trade union, announced three rallies in May in Bologna, Milan and Naples. The unions oppose the minimum wage and are threatening a general strike against the proposal, but still the union is not addressing the root cause of the scarcity of jobs in Italy.

The responsibility of the progressive elimination of new semiskilled, skilled and graduate workforce from private and public sectors squarely reside on political parties: gaining political influence and power by rewarding people who back them with jobs, is the untold practice nobody dare to speak out because otherwise nobody would let them work anymore.

You might argue that the young who pack and take the first flight to France, Switzerland, Belgium or even Britain (despite Brexit and the consequent aggressiveness towards European competitors) haven’t had the ‘cooptation‘ experience as yet while still in Italy because not yet into work. The answer is that they became aware of the reality looking for work and looking around to what happened to the previous generation of emigrants, those non-coopted who paid with their lives the harsh consequence of the hard sale of jobs in change of political influence before getting finally eliminated by the economic crisis.

See 2022 Rapporto Italiani nel Mondo (Migrantes Foundation – Italian Episcopal Conference or CEI is the episcopal conference of the Italian bishops of the Catholic Church)