Job Instability for Nurses in Italy

In January 2020, European Multi Talent Group Health Care (EMTG) was present in Pesaro Urbino, Italy, where the concorso, competition, organized by a public hospital Chieti at the Vitifrigo Arena took place. At this event, over 7,000 Italian nurses registered to compete for one of the 30 posto fisso nursing jobs for a public hospital in Chieti. A posto fisso it is a secure government job for life.

EMTG Italian recruiter, Laura Forro, attended the event in Pesaro.


In 2014, former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi introduced the labour market legislation known as the Jobs Act which makes hiring and firing easier in the private sector. On the other hand, the HR protocol remained the same for state jobs – once you are in, you are in.

In the public sector, pensions and perks are protected by trade unions, with military efficiency. But private-sector unions are steadily losing ground. As a result, many young Italians who enter the private-sector job market face many hurdles. Only a small percentage find employment at job centres or hiring halls; but most succeed through personal connections. Furthermore, pay in Italy is lower than other EU member states.

As of 2020, if an employer wants to hire a nurse for €1,000/month, the employer ends up paying €2,500/month. As a consequence of the Italian tax system and bureaucracy, young nurses have to survive with ongoing short-term contracts and in many cases are hired for 3-months and paid €600/month, instead. This has become the norm.

Many Italians still yearn for the stability they could once rely on, longing for the security of the dull but solid life of a government clerk. In fact, in 2018, the region of Umbria had 32,000 people from across Italy applying for 94 clerical jobs in its local government offices.


Due to the high number of interested applicants at the concorso in Pesaro, the public hospital in Chieti leased a sport venue for nurses to complete their application, which is considered a small practical nursing exam. This exam consists of answering 30 questions in 30 minutes. The applicants where divided in two shifts, the first shift was scheduled at 9.30 a.m. and the second at 2:30 p.m.

Since early in the morning, it was evident the presence of several nurses that have travelled overnight in charter buses. Besides their visible fatigue and hungriness, a lot of them were trying to find a place to study their quiz books prior to their exam.

Nurses waiting in the cold to enter the venue.

The nurses who attended had different reasons to participate in this competition. A few of them already had a posto fisso in a hospital in north Italy but were hoping to win the concorso and work closer to home. Others, mostly from south Italy, worked in private elderly homes, where the salary was low and the nurse:patient ratio of 1:80 was the average. The majority of the applicants were recent graduates, and a few were close to retirement.


EMTG was present in Pesaro to offer an alternative to these high qualified Italian nurses a possibility to use their knowledge in one of the best health care system in the world, a chance to live in a country that values high qualified employees, an opportunity to work in an environment where health professionals work in teams, a place where healthcare is centred around the patient’s needs, and where their profession is rewarded accordingly.

We wish all the nurses good luck and for all of them that are aiming for a more fulfilling professional life: “In EMTG siete sempre I benvenuti!”