New skills, a reduced tax wedge and revamped active policies. The Linkiesta Festival kicked off with a discussion on intervening in the Italian labour market to ensure the success of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan. Journalist Lidia Baratta hosted the debate on the “National Recovery and Resilience Plan on trial. Work, business, territory”, which brought together Luigi Marattin, Italia Viva MP and chairman of the Chamber’s Finance Commission; Chiara Gribaudo, Partito Democratico MP; Roberto Benaglia, Secretary of Fim-Cisl; and Andrea Malacrida, Managing Director of the Adecco Group in Italy (festival partner).
The two basic questions that triggered the debate were: What sort of impact will the National Recovery and Resilience Plan have on the labour market? And what kind of interventions should be done to restart employment after the pandemic?
Fim-Cisl secretary Roberto Benaglia explained that the priority for making European investments work is to adapt the labour market to the transformations taking place, from the digital revolution accelerated by the pandemic to the ecological transition. It will take new skills. But also new organisations geared to changing production chains.
However, Benaglia believes that the funds from the plan should also help bridge the huge gap in Italy’s active policies, which he explains as “the great unfinished business of the Italian economy”. The goal is to encourage relocation to growth sectors and to adapt skills to new market demand.
And this needs to be flanked by additional priorities: ranging from reformulating flexibility to reducing labour costs, and attracting private investment to investing in training, particularly for young people and women.
Our tax system is fifty years old, and that says it all: everything from labour markets to the composition of household income has changed over this long period of time.
Luigi Marattin, Italia Viva MP
Marattin believes that the tax reform accompanying the National Recovery and Resilience Plan will also be crucial. A reform that should be conducted in two stages, explained the chairman of the Finance Commission. The first stage would entail a manoeuvre allocating 8 billion to tax cuts. The second covers tax delegation, with an overhaul of the entire Italian tax system. “Our tax system is fifty years old, and that says it all: everything from labour markets to the composition of household income has changed over this long period of time”, Marattin commented.
Young people and women
Chiara Gribaudo, who not only heads the Democratic Party’s Youth Mission but is also the first signatory of the equal pay law that Parliament has recently approved, focused on the needs of the female and young workforce.
Over the past two and a half years, internships have been excessively exploited; we must rebuild a model of social justice. Apprenticeship should be made leaner, more flexible.
Chiara Gribaudo, Democratic Party MP
Gribaudo explained that the National Recovery and Resilience Plan bears improvements in terms of women’s employment, yet “we could have done more for youth employment in a country where 30% of our young people are unemployed”.
An example? Taking action on apprenticeships and internships: “Over the past two and a half years, internships have been excessively exploited; we must rebuild a model of social justice. Apprenticeship should be made leaner, more flexible, yet also bolstered. The reality is that in recent years there has been too much demagogy about youth policy: they are not ‘big babies’, they simply received no help”.
“The pandemic has compelled us to open our eyes and rethink what the labour market of the future should be and what new rules it should follow”, Andrea Malacrida explained. “We found ourselves, after three years, in the midst of a pandemic, having to suspend the dignity decree” to avoid further job losses. And even on the citizenship income, three years later, “we are now wondering what the more than 2,000 navigators in charge of steering the beneficiaries towards employment have actually produced”. Malacrida pointed to the shock produced by COVID, which unveiled the reality that “initiatives in place so far have not been very effective”.
Today it is vital for our country to deal with anyone prepared and experienced to bring value to the plan in terms of labour and also training.
Andrea Malacrida, Managing Director of The Adecco Group Italia
According to the Adecco Group’s white paper ‘Re-Start Generation’, the National Recovery and Resilience Plan will create 380,000 new jobs among women and 81,000 among young people. This all hinges on creating the right skills in the country to meet the demand for new professions that investment will generate. “These numbers will become reality if we make a strong investment in people, making them protagonists of their own future”, Malacrida explained. “But in order for this to really happen, institutions and the government must shift gears”.
Malacrida also shared the resolved commitment and readiness of the Adecco Group and the entire private employment agency sector to tackle job orientation and converging supply and demand, focusing primarily on training. This also includes relocations from crisis sectors to fast-growing ones. “We have a unique observatory on the labour market”, Malacrida pointed out. “Today it is vital for our country to deal with anyone prepared and experienced to bring value to the plan in terms of labour and also training. The goal, however, should not be to merely plug an emergency, but to build a real path to growth in a viable way”.