Finding steady work in Rome isn’t easy. Although the Italian economy has displayed some growth in recent years, unemployment remains high, and even Italians find it hard to get jobs in particular professions.

Italian employers also prefer hiring Italian residents, or at least EU residents, as this means that they won’t need to bear the burden of completing work permit paperwork. In fact, expats dreaming of employment in the heartland of ancient civilisation should note that securing that first job in Italy is difficult. This is in large part due to the country’s very tricky work permit and residence procedures.

Job market in Rome

Rome has the highest concentration of expats in Italy, so foreigners should expect additional competition when it comes to landing a position in Rome. Speaking only English may no longer be enough for expats looking to get secure work in Rome, and many companies will not consider hiring an expat unless they are reasonably proficient in Italian. 

That said, expats who aren’t fluent in Italian can still find employment in Italy, especially if they have a desirable university qualification. In Italy, qualifications are held in high esteem, and having a degree and experience in one’s home country will impress most employers. 

Those with marketing and communication degrees will have the most success in finding a job in Rome, as well as those who have worked in the business side of the hotel and tourism industry. Additionally, those who can demonstrate expertise in the digital realm, such as online marketing, fare well.

Non-skilled professions, such as waitressing, bartending and reception positions in hotels, resorts and hostels, are still available but are less common than they used to be in Rome. Expats applying for these types of positions will require basic Italian language skills if they want to put themselves ahead of the competition. Being proficient in an additional language, such as Japanese, French or German, can be a serious advantage when seeking employment in the tourism industry in Rome. 

A certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) from an accredited agency is almost always necessary for expats looking to teach English in Rome. Those with a TEFL qualification and teaching experience are likely to land a job teaching English in Rome. 

Finding a job in Rome

For non-EU residents, obtaining a position before leaving their home country is the best course of action. Intra-company transfers do provide opportunities, as do multinational companies that regularly hire foreigners.

Expats should pinpoint potential companies they’d like to work for and then consult the ‘jobs’ section of the individual companies’ websites. 

For those looking for something a little less corporate, there are online and storefront recruitment and volunteer agencies that will secure the first job for expats in Rome. This is usually in language schools, as au pairs or within the tourism industry. Expats going this route should ensure that the agency is accredited and trustworthy before signing up. These agencies usually require some sort of financial contribution from the applicant for their services.  

Expats can peruse the job sections of local newspapers, a few of which are in English. Online job portals are also an excellent place to search while registering with a job centre in Rome can also be an effective way of getting a foot in the door.

Useful links

  • Offering a wide range of listings across various industries and easy to use with various search filters, InfoJobs is the biggest job search portal in Italy.
  • A popular job board in Italy, primarily in Italian, Trovolavoro is part of the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera's website.
  • simplifies the job search process with daily job updates and also allows employers to post job ads for free.
  • Specialising in the hospitality sector and offering a range of job opportunities in hotels, resorts, and more, LavoroTurismo is a go-to for those seeking employment in this field.
  • For IT professionals in Italy seeking job opportunities, Reteinformaticalavoro is a specialist job board dedicated to matching qualified candidates with companies in the IT sector.

Work culture in Rome

Rome is a big city with more expats than jobs in most industries. As a result, employers have been known to take advantage of expats, especially non-EU residents. Accepting a position without a residency permit (permesso di soggiorno) is highly inadvisable, as it is impossible to seek any legal assistance if the employer underpays, abuses employee rights or refuses to pay altogether.

In Rome, more than anywhere else in Italy, it is essential to be charismatic and enthusiastic during job interviews. Romans are sociable and are more likely to overlook formal education or Italian language proficiency if the applicant gives them a solid first impression and appears to have admirable and interesting reasons for wanting to work in Rome. Expats should be mindful that Rome still has a relatively high unemployment rate for a European city, and friends and family often take precedence over foreigners when openings do become available.

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