Italy is one of the worst countries for expat working women: survey

Catherine Edwards
Catherine Edwards - [email protected]
Italy is one of the worst countries for expat working women: survey
Fewer than half of Italy's expat women are happy with their job. File photo: Pexels

A study by expat networking site InterNations has ranked Italy the second-worst place in the world for women working abroad, with worries over the national economy, job security, and low salaries contributing to the low score.


Just 43 percent of expat women surveyed said they were happy with their job in Italy - compared to an average of 62 percent worldwide - and the country ranked poorly in all three survey areas relating to working life.

The study placed Italy 56th out of 57 countries for Job and Career, 55th for work-life balance, and 54th when it came to job security. Only Greece was seen as a less desirable place for women to work, while at the other end of the scale, Luxembourg, Taiwan, and Germany took the top three spots.

The majority of female expats (52 percent) said they were earning less in Italy than they could in a similar role in their home country - a figure which was just 31 percent worldwide.

Worries over the national economy were a factor in the ranking, with more than half of the women surveyed in Italy saying they were concerned about it, and just 21 percent expressing confidence in this respect.

The slow rate of growth and high unemployment levels on a national level seemed to have left women concerned about their own working futures: only 28 percent of female expats in Italy said they were satisfied with their career prospects.

Globally, that figure was 53 percent - and the proportion in Italy who described their career prospects as "very bad" was almost triple the global average of seven percent.

According to the survey, expat women in Italy were less likely to have a high-level job role, with only 22 percent working as a corporate employee or manager, compared to 36 percent globally.

Meanwhile, more than one in ten (12 percent) of Italy's expat women were currently job-seeking, while a higher proportion were freelancers (nine percent) or part-time workers (31 percent) than the global average (five and 20 percent respectively).

But a lack of opportunities wasn't the only reason for this. The survey showed that for expat women, work was less likely to be the reason for a move to Italy than to many other countries.

Worldwide, almost half (46 percent) of expat women said their career was the main reason for emigrating, compared to 71 percent of expat men. But this figure was significantly lower in Italy, at just 15 percent.

Instead, one in four said love had brought them to the peninsula, while ten percent said the decision was down for a desire for 'adventure'.

And when it came to other aspects discussed in the survey, Italy fared better, ranking 36th for cost of living and for ease of settling in, 33rd for quality of living, and 18th for leisure opportunities.

InterNations' Expat Insider survey questioned over 6,000 women living abroad in 191 countries, though only countries with a sample size of over 50 were included in the final results.

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Networking in Italy: More than just aperitivo

Photo: Miriam Lonardi


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