A new study by Confindustria said a huge gap between business demand and training supply means tens of thousands of technical roles in Italy will go unfilled in the coming years.
It means companies that could drive the national economy forward are stalling, the study’s authors said, not because of a lack of orders coming in but because of a lack of skilled workers applying for jobs.
According to the study, from 2019-2021 there will be some 193,000 job vacancies in the food, technology, mechanical, textile, chemical and wood-furniture sectors.
Engineers, technical experts and other skilled workers are badly needed for the roles, but with a lack of young Italians taking the required training courses, the study predicts that at least a third of these job vacancies will never be filled.
It expects business owners to be left fighting over the few qualified staff available.
Some 45,000 jobs are expected to be available in the technology sector. The study showed that some of the sector’s most in-demand positions will include software/app designers and developers, computer equipment designers and telecommunications systems designers.
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The study looked at traditional “Made in Italy” business sectors like wooden furniture-making, which it says will have an estimated 11,000 jobs available in the next few years
There will be another 30,000 positions in the food and beverage sectors and 21,000 in the textile industry.
In these sectors, the most sought-after workers will include craftspeople skilled in artistic weaving, woodworking and pattern making.
Italian businesses are being badly hit by this skills gap as well as a “brain drain”, as thousands of the country’s brightest move abroad each year for work.
Italy’s technology and engineering sectors have had this problem for years, but nothing seems to be changing.
“These figures show that the companies of the future need young people,” commented Confindustria president Vincenzo Boccia.
“Italy has no raw materials, but has human capital, knowledge and talent and we must focus on building the future of the country,” he said.
“Training must return to the centre of the government and national agenda,” he said, adding that the government’s planned reforms, including a “quota 100” pension reform, are not tackling the issue.
Quota 100 “is not a measure for young people,” said Confindustria vice-president, Giovanni Brugnoli. “Perhaps it will free up jobs, but it does not solve the mismatch between training supply and business demand. It risks leaving a vacuum of skills.”