Private Recruitment Agencies

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There are two main kinds of recruitment agency in Italy, temporary agencies (lavori ad interim) and executive search companies (ricerca personale).

Temporary Agencies

Unlike many other European countries, Italy officially prohibited temporary employees until January 1998, when a new law came into effect. Under the new law, an agency can only place workers with an employer to satisfy a temporary demand and agencies must have fulfilled certain criteria and received authorisation. A temporary contract (contratto per prestazioni di lavoro temporaneo) is a fixed-term contract or an open-ended contract, where an agency must pay compensation to a worker for the periods when he isn't working. The agency must pay workers' social security contributions and work accident insurance. Temporary workers have pro rata rights to annual and public holidays, a 13th month's salary and any other payments which other workers employed by the same company are entitled to.

To sign up with an agency you need a permit to stay, a fiscal code (codice fiscale) and your work record book (libretto di lavoro). You're required to complete a form in Italian and must supply a CV (in Italian) and a passport-size photograph. You will be interviewed by the agency and probably again by a prospective employer. Temporary work is most common in the secretarial, computer and industrial fields, and work in other sectors is limited, although it may still be worth enquiring and registering with agencies. Always ensure that you know exactly how much, when and how you will be paid. Because of the long annual holidays in Italy and generous maternity leave, companies often require temporary staff, and a temporary job can frequently be used as a stepping stone to a permanent position (companies often hire temporary workers for a 'trial' period before offering them a full-time contract).

Temporary agencies with offices in most Italian cities include:

You can also find local agencies in the yellow pages under Lavoro Interinale e Temporaneo.


Executive recruitment and search companies are common in the major cities and are mainly used by large Italian companies to recruit staff, particularly executives, managers and professionals. Agents place advertisements in daily and weekly newspapers and trade magazines, but don't usually mention the client's name, not least to prevent applicants from approaching a company directly, thus depriving the agency of its fat fee. Recruitment agencies were hard hit by the recession in the 1990s, particularly those dealing with executives and senior managers, and many Italian companies now do their own recruiting or promote in-house. Unless you're a particularly outstanding candidate with half a dozen degrees, are multi-lingual and have valuable experience, sending an unsolicited CV to an agent is usually a waste of time. There are also recruitment agencies in many countries that specialise in recruiting executives, managers and professionals for employers in Italy.


The rapid development of the Internet has led to a huge increase in the number of online recruitment agencies and job search sites. Some sites charge a subscription fee to access their vacancy listings, but many allow job seekers to review and respond to listings free of charge. It's also possible to submit your CV online (usually free), but it's wise to consider the security implications of this move. By giving your home address or phone number, you could lay yourself open to nuisance phone calls or even worse. A number of websites that list vacancies in Italy are listed below:

It's worth noting that you may not find any information in English on Italian websites (those which end .it). However, if your Italian skills are poor, you can obtain a rough translation using the (free) Babel Fish translator provided by the search engine company Alta Vista. Enter in your browser, then enter the address of the website that you wish to visit in the Babel Fish dialogue box that appears. You will be presented with an instant translation of the web page in question into the language selected.

This excerpt has been republished with permission from Survival Books. Some of the information may apply to EU citizens only. If you would like to get the inside track on moving to Italy, pick up your copy of this great book by clicking here.


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