Italian Salaries Among the Lowest in Europe

Trevi Fountain
Trevi Fountain
Italy is not a place to get rich quick, in terms of salary. Although their socialistic government compensates workers with pensions and health care as well as their form of unemployment, the average salaries in Italy are among the lowest in Europe.

Local butchers in Termini
Local butchers in Termini

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the average salary for an unmarried worker without any dependents is not much more than $25000 a year, based on 2012 statistics.Only Greece and Portugal have salaries less than those in Italy. This number is calculated after taxes, making a gross average salary slightly higher than $35,000.

Piazza Navona
Piazza Navona

From what I have been told by my Italian friends, there are basically two levels of salary, and not much in between. Some jobs have options to work overtime, such as police officers. Others are seasonal and the job is only for six or eight months, with the rest of the year subsidized by the Italian government.

Police officers in Italy
Police officers in Italy

I would love to know what the salaries for nurses are, but I do understand that nurses in Italy do not enjoy the status of professional, as they do in the United States, and I am sure the salary is commensurate with that role. As much as I love Italy, some things are not better there, which is why I enjoy visiting but will always want to live in the U.S.

A church in Catania decorated for a wedding
A church in Catania decorated for a wedding

15 Responses

  1. Ax

    I’m reading a lot of things that are not true, then the worst comments are from the Italians who generalize to the utmost or give up for certain situations that only give particular and are not spread all over Italy. In Italy there is the status of “professional nurse”. For being a professional nurse tou need a degree at university and you have to study for 3 years. My mom and sister are both professional nurses and they live a good life, they have a car, their own house etc… Professional nurses earn good in Italy. A nurse earns an average of 1,500 euros a month, to which extraordinary and festive occasions must be added, which practically all nurses do.
    In this case, the salary of a nurse can reach up to 1900 euros per month , then consider the cost of living that in Italy is lower than the United States. A lot of people complain about taxes but do not think that we pay taxes here and have public health while in America they pay a lot of money for insurance. I read comments and laughed. Italy is no longer an underdeveloped country like it was in the 1900s, there are uncomfortable situations as well as countries around the world, it makes me laugh that Italians who have never traveled out of Italy think that in other states is hraven while in Italy is the hell.

    • margieinitaly

      Thank you so much for your personal perspective. It is always good to hear from someone who lives in Italy. I am glad to hear a side that is a little more positive . Grazie

  2. Ali Azman

    Hello how are you everyone. My name is ali azman I’m from Bangladesh i was looking for job and still I’m looking for a waiter job I need help from all of you please please try to find out waiter job in Italy I’m happy to work there by low salary please help me
    Ali Azman

  3. Anonymous

    Corruption is everywhere! The no different but probably worse. At least in Italy the food is good.

  4. Francesco

    I’m italian and the quality of our lives here is very bad. People under 35 yo cannot find any kind of job; I have 2 master degrees but I’m unemployed, my wife is unemployed too (she has 2 master degrees as well) and we have a 1-yo son…the government doesn’t help anybody, but people who working in the parliament think always and only about their own business. We’d like to move to other countries, much more democratic and meritocratic as Sweden or Denmark.

    God help us.

    • margieinitaly

      Grazie mille for leaving a comment on my blog. I really appreciate your perspective as an educated Italian living the reality of not being able to obtain a job. I realize that the situation is bad for those living there and I feel badly about it. I have friends who are Italians and are also unemployed and they have exposed the corruption to me.

      I hope the best for you and can understand why you would want to leave Italy to see a better future. I am sure the situation must have been similar when my grandparents decided to move to America in the early 1900’s.

    • Angela

      Francesco come ti capisco
      anche io vorrei andare via ma non saprei da dove cominciare, poi non ho lauree o qualifiche elevate.

      Auguro a te e alla tua famiglia di andare via e trovare un posto dove poter sfruttare le vostre capacità e vivere dignitosamente.

      Angela (un’amica di Margie)

      • margieinitaly

        Grazie mia amica, Angela. I appreciate the comment also from your unique perspective as an Italian who has had to struggle to find a job every year. Thank you for taking time to read my blog and post this comment for Francesco and my other readers. It gives us a better understanding of the dark side of Italy.

    • dozie sixtus

      francesco am sorry for your present condition. if you consider moving out of italy i will recommend NIGERIA, when you move to nigeria you can find a job, or even start your own business. with €100000 you will live like a king

  5. twoblackdoggies

    We would love to spend more time in Italy and have always had a dream of living there or even another country close to Italy but reality soon kicks in.

  6. Debra Kolkka

    I don’t know how many people live on what they earn here. Many don’t have to buy a house or pay rent as families live together and houses are inherited. The cost of living is a lot lower than it is in Australia. Food is considerably cheaper, but petrol is expensive and heating costs are high.
    I see many underemployed people in the village and wonder how they get by.

  7. The Palladian Traveler

    And, let’s not forget the 40-45% payroll tax each “dependent” worker has to pay out monthly. I don’t know how they can survive paycheck to paycheck, but somehow they do. Living at home with the ‘rents until you’re about 40 helps.

I'm always interested in your thoughts, so please leave a comment.