Update on Italian Salaries

Italian worker Photo by Margie MiklasNot much has changed recently in the average salaries of Italian workers. Italy is by no means  a place to get rich quick, in terms of salary. While it’s true that the socialistic  Italian government compensates workers through pensions, unemployment, and health care, the average salaries in Italy are still lower than many of their European neighbors to the north.

European salaries chart (Source OECD)
European salaries chart (Source OECD)

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, in “2014, the average gross annual salary in Italy stood at €28,977, or approximately €20,306 net per year, amounting to €1,560 per month.” The wage growth in the past year has been basically stagnant.

Glass makers in Murano - Photo by Margie MiklasThe report continues, stating that  average salaries in the north of Italy are almost 20% higher than the average salaries in the south of Italy. No big surprise here.

Dining room maitre d' and wait staff - Photo by Margie MiklasFrom what my Italian friends tell me, there are basically two levels of salary, and not much in between. Some jobs provide options to work overtime, such as police officers.

Police officers in ItalyOthers are seasonal and the job is only for six or eight months, with the rest of the year subsidized by the Italian government.

Bakery workers in Italy - Photo by Margie MiklasI’d be interested in knowing  what the salaries are for nurses , but I understand that they do not enjoy the same status of professional, as they do in the United States.  I am sure the salary must be commensurate with that role.

Hospital in Venice, Italy photo by Margie MiklasAs much as I love Italy, some things are not better there, which is why I enjoy visiting but prefer to live in the U.S.

I’d love to hear your feedback. Please leave a comment.

Grazie and ciao

31 Responses

  1. in a recent interview with an Italian American who moved to Italy, she shared with me she works 5 jobs to live in Florence. I did not ask her for salaries.

    • Grazie Lee…That is a lot to balance but I am not surprised. Thank you for sharing

      • yes she is a very busy woman. a long term expat I know in Firenze mentions the high cost of electricity and heat. Perhaps the high cost of daily expenses and lower salaries keeps families living in one apt/house instead of independently as we have here……….

        • Lee, I think that is a legitimate conclusion – saves money and keeps the family close together

          • if i ever find the perfect ‘shared ownership’ for a place in italy I shall let you know, a place to spend a month every year…………….

          • Yes Lee. Please do!!

          • shall keep you updated on the fractional ownership……i have 2 or 3 others who have an interest and you can always take more than one month a year…………….actaully a woman doing this type of renovations in the UK has done one in Italy but out of my price range………….shall be working on a story about this………….but would prefer rental for a month 1 or 2 times a year to start with.

            Home to Italy Part time: fractional ownership in Italia

          • Thank you again. I like this concept if it’s affordable

    • Actually Girl in Florence had a post recently about an entire town in Tuscany that was fractional ownership – not sure how affordable it is but there are definitely people out there doing this now… http://girlinflorence.com/2015/09/24/your-own-slice-of-tuscan-sun-borgo-di-vagli/

  2. It’s a choice for me in teaching between longer hours but less hourly pay or shorter hours with more hourly pay. I can’t talk about a monthly salary, therefore.more hourlybpay can be anything from 15 To 35 euros per hour!

  3. Cost of living is cheaper. I have just returned from Sardinia and was pleasantly surprised how reasonable everything was!

    • Thank you Andrew. It is good to know that there are areas in Italy where the cost of living is less. I have also found that the prices are generally less expensive in Sicily as well

  4. I’m pleased I don’t have to earn a living in Italy

  5. Wow! That’s the average salary. I couldn’t believe what my friend makes there and he works for a nice hotel and has been in the business for years. What a shame! That’s why he encouraged me to stay put here as we have much more opportunity.

    • Yes Jennifer…It was an eye-opener for me when I first realized what the average salaries were. The housing and petrol costs are still high

  6. I agree, you shouldn’t move to Italy thinking to make some money. Even if you manage to earn some decent money, taxes are high and nothing much is left. On the other hand, everybody is in the same situation here. You simply should not compare to people living in other countries. There always is better, but also worse. The neighbours lawn is always greener, isn’t it?

  7. Most of my friends and family in Italy make meager salaries but manage to have a decent life since they are not massive consumers like we are here in the States. Food is expensive (but higher quality for the most part) as well as gasoline. They pass homes down generation to generation so children don’t get stuck with huge mortgages on top of all the taxes they pay. They buy nice things that are high quality and last instead of having too much of anything. They don’t need a new car every 2-3 years… They live a simpler life for the most part and take more time off than I do living here in the States. I don’t see it being worse or better just different. I would kill for their vacation time and holidays! Seems like there is something every week of the year…

    • Angela – I think you really explained it well. My friends in Italy have shared those same sentiments. They buy quality items even though they are expensive but they don’t have multiple closets of clothing. Many families have 1 car if they have a car. Their life is much more simple and they’d rather eat at home with food they grew themselves. Thank you

  8. Nurses have very low status in many parts of the world. And it is indeed reflected in their salaries. But remember this, before the oil embargo in 74 (I think) American nurses were also poorly paid. However, when husbands made their wives quit because the price of gas made it a losing proposition to go to work, salaries began to climb. I went from $3.50 an hour as an ICU nurse to $5.00 an hour in about 3 months. By the end of the year I was making $7.50 an hour. That is when the hospitals realized that it really was money that kept the nursing shortage a reality. Increasing salaries filled the hospitals with nurses. . .for awhile. Then the NP and PA programs began to reduce the ICU nurse population and the shortage was back. Well that and the aging of the population increased demand.

    And Italy has other charms. Especially when retirement comes around. They do have an enormous safety net.

  9. Ah, the memories are coming back by this wonderful post on Italy! I remember one time my Nonni in Minturno ( that is a small town 2 hours south of Rome ) and where I used to spend my summers at, one time my Nonno ( grandfather ) was hospitalized and I went to go visit him, there were no chairs for visitor’s I remember, so I got tired and sat on the floor, later a doctor came in and asked me if I was sick , and it happened again and again , even a nurse asked me the same thing ( no one asked me if I needed a chair! since I was there for quite some time visiting with my Nonno my ( grandfather ) they staff assumed I was sick! I realized then, no local person would sit on the floor due the fact they would say it was dirty and not a place you want to sit on. I also remember the bed had some rusty spots on the metal and lets just say the condition of the Hospital was like seeing an old war movie during the time of Hitler ( I got used to that growing up with many different things I saw! No matter what, the time I had with my Nonni was a blessing that will always stay in my heart!

    • Grazie Claudio for sharing your precious memories with us. Those times with your Nonni are truly priceless!!

    • Claudio’s reply was touching. I too had a deep feeling for my Damie, the world’s best Great Grandmother. How fortunate we were to love our ancestors.

  10. Ciao Margie- ive never looked into working as a nurse in Italy myself but I do know that an ‘infermiera professionale’-the equivalent of an RN with a degree in N America, is paid well and not considered a low status job. The term ‘infermiera’without the ‘professionale’ in front is usually used for a nursing aid, who is paid less. Another point of confusion when discussing Italian salaries is that they always talk about ‘soldi puliti’ or take home pay as opposed to gross pay which is how we usually discuss in N America. This changes the amounts by a lot! Ciao, Cristina

    • Thanks so much Cristina for adding the perspective of one who lives in Italy. I can see that the net pay vs the total pay is a huge difference. I am also glad to learn that an ” infermiera professionale” is paid well and no longer considered a low status occupation! I really appreciate your feedback

  11. Yes…salaries are weird here. Most everyone makes the same: 1500 euro per month as you mention, but then there are the few who break through the glass ceiling and make a disproportionate amount more.

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