Italy lost 80,000 young graduates in the last decade, according to a survey presented today. At a new observatory on tomorrow’s world of work, the report highlighted Italy’s ‘brain drain’ and NEET issue.
At the presentation of ‘Look4Ward’, a new observatory on tomorrow’s world of work, the chief economist of Italy’s biggest bank Intesa Sanpaolo, Gregorio De Felice, said: “In Italy over the last decade the difference between the graduates who went abroad and those who returned was 80,000 people.”
“The sore point in the ‘country system’ is human capital,” he went on, explaining that “in this way the country constantly loses value, it loses its human capital”.
Highest percentage of NEETs in Europe
The Observatory’s first publication, “A look at NEET. Analysis, categorisation and strategies of intervention”, focuses on the increasingly widespread problem in Italy and in Europe of young people who are not working, studying or engaged in training activities.
According to Eurostat data, in 2021 the average so-called NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) in the European Union were 13.1% of young people between 15 and 29 years old. There is a significant difference between women (14.5%) and men (11.8%). Italy, meanwhile, is the EU country with the highest percentage of NEETs at 23.1%. This equates to around 2.1 million young people, which rises to 3 million if we consider young people aged between 15 and 34 years.
The research identifies five archetypes of NEET – abandoned young people, young mothers, potential young people, the children of lockdown, the talents of the mismatch.
Lack of talent means firms cannot find workers
The paradox is that whilst almost a quarter of young people are not in work, 45% of Italian firms are unable to find all the workers they need.
This would appear to demonstrate a lack of appropriate education and training opportunities. Furthermore, the brain drain of 80,000 graduates over the last ten years also indicates that young Italians are not finding the job opportunities afforded them elsewhere.
De Felice commented that “in Italy the great issue of generational change is very clear.” Between 2011 and 2021, in fact, De Felice said, “the top managers under 49 diminished by 53%”, while those over 70 rose by 27%.
The observatory expects to hear from top management figures in the coming months. These Italian companies and SMEs will help map the territorial distribution of the skills required, through interviews and surveys on the most relevant aspects.
The goal is to make a contribution of knowledge useful for activating pathways training aimed at social inclusion and employability.