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SURVEY: Half of all Italians say salaries are too low

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SURVEY: Half of all Italians say salaries are too low
A protestor shouts slogans at a march in Turin on Labour Day, 2023. Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP.

After Italy's government said unemployment benefits were putting Italians off working, survey respondents said low wages and high taxes were a bigger problem.

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Fifty percent of Italians think their country's average wages are too low, according to a new survey conducted by research institute Quorum/YouTrend.

The poll, commissioned by Sky TG24, asked respondents for their thoughts on why employers struggle to recruit in Italy, following the Italian government's announcement on Monday that it will cut the reddito di cittadinanza unemployment benefit.

READ ALSO: Italy cuts anti-poverty benefits in Labour Day ‘provocation’

Giorgia Meloni's hard-right government said the move was needed as the benefit was too costly and was discouraging able-bodied people from looking for jobs - a sentiment that 19 percent of respondents appeared to share, saying they thought people would rather access benefits than work.

However half of all respondents said instead that low salaries were the biggest barrier to employment.

Meanwhile, 16 percent said they thought people lacked the professional qualifications needed for the roles advertised, and 12 percent thought that young people didn't want to do certain kinds of work.

Italy's unemployment rate stood at eight percent as of February 2023, according to the latest data from Italian national statistics office Istat, against an EU average of just over six percent.

However youth unemployment in Italy is several times higher, at 22.4 percent.

READ ALSO: No minimum wage for Italy as EU reaches living standards deal

One quarter of those surveyed by YouTrend thought that cutting taxes paid on salaries would boost employment, while 22 percent supported offering tax incentives to companies that hire new employees.

The government's cut to unemployment benefits divided respondents, with 52 percent saying they supported the move, 42 percent against, and six percent undecided.

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When asked about their own employment situation, 59 percent - almost two thirds - of respondents said they believed their salary was too low. 28 percent thought they earned a fair wage, and seven percent that their income was higher than it should be.

Overall, 87 percent said they would accept 1,200 euros net as a starting salary.

Workplace safety was another key concern among those surveyed, with 86 percent agreeing with the statement, "workplace safety is a serious problem in Italy".

According to data from Italian workplace accident insurers INAIL, there were 697,773 workplace accidents in Italy in 2022, and 1,090 work-related deaths, amounting to almost three per day.

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