Salaries in Italy: How Much Do Migrants Earn
Foreign citizens can visit Italy for tourism, education, family reunification, or work. However, those seeking an occupation may face issues prevalent in the local job market: low salary increments, high taxes, and discrimination based on gender and origin.
If living in this country is your dream and you are not willing to back down, this article outlines the average salary in Italy in euros and how it varies based on profession, gender, age, and region.
Previously, we discussed how to obtain a residence permit in Italy.
Average Income in Italy
According to OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) data, Italian salaries have seen minimal changes over the past 30 years. In 2022, the average annual income in the country was just over 21,000 euros, or 1,700 euros per month. According to the annual report by ISTAT (July data), the average salary in Italy in 2023 amounts to 27,000 euros gross per year. Over the last decade, this figure has increased by 12% compared to other European countries, which is not significantly high.
Gross salary is the earnings before deductions for taxes, insurance, and other mandatory contributions. Net salary refers to the amount received by the worker after these deductions.
In terms of salary sizes, Italy ranks in the middle of the European Union. While workers in Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, and Sweden can expect up to 4,000 euros gross per month, Italians receive 2,250 euros.
Italy is also the only country in Europe where workers between the ages of 30 and 49 earn below the average salary, with those over 50 earning the most, often when they are close to retirement.
So, what salary is considered high in Italy? According to MEF 2023 (MICE Excellence Forum) data, the highest average annual income is among the self-employed, reaching up to 60,520 euros per year. Entrepreneurs, on average, declare 23,130 euros for the same period, while retirees declare 18,990 euros.
Additionally, according to ISTAT data, the average annual salary for employees in Italy is:
- Full-time: 25,000 €
- Part-time: 12,000 €
- Fixed-term contracts: 7,000 €
Approximately 1.6 million Italians have an annual income exceeding 60,000 €, whereas 22.7 million earn less than 20,000 €. 4% report slightly over 2,850 euros net per month, while 56% earn less than 1,300 € for the same period.
In Italy, 67% of employees under contract, 34% among the self-employed, and about 79% of retirees earn below the country’s average income.
Average Salaries in Italy by Field in 2023
Professions such as notaries, managers, medical specialists, engineers, and workers in the information sector are among the highest-paid in Italy. At the top of the salary rankings are top-level executives: CEOs, financial managers (CFOs), and technical managers (CTOs).
|Profession||Net Monthly Salary in €|
|Doctor||3,400 — 6,000|
|School Teacher||1,400 — 1,600|
|Fiber Optic Welder||1,350|
|Real Estate Agent||1,450|
|IT||1,580 — 1,850|
Data sourced from the Italian job aggregator jobbydoo.it for the year 2023.
Let’s discuss popular and in-demand professions. For these, the average gross salary is:
- Doctor: 78,000 €
- Nurse: from 22,428 to 44,850 €
- Teacher: 27,700 €
- Architect: 33,000 €
- Chef: 35,500 €
- Programmer: 26,400 €
- Scientist: 33,000 €
- Engineer: 34,650 €
- Waiter: 22,500 €
- Dentist: 36,000 €
- Policeman: 22,000 €
Salaries vary significantly from province to province in Italy. For instance, the salary in Milan, the city with the highest wages, is 10 times bigger than in Rieti, the municipality with the lowest salaries. The 17% income gap (accordind to Forbes) between the north and south of the country is particularly noticeable.
The regions with the highest salaries (annual) are:
- Lombardy: 32,191 €
- Trentino-Alto Adige: 31,501 €
- Lazio: 31,016 €
The lowest pay regions are Sicily, Calabria, and Basilicata, where annual salaries range from 26,205 to 24,317 €.
Here is a comparison between the 5 highest paying and 5 lowest paying provinces in terms of average annual salary (in euros) in the year 2021:
|Province||Salary (€ per year)||Province||Salary (€ per year)|
This table illustrates a comparison between the 5 highest-paying and 5 lowest-paying provinces in Italy.
Salaries in Italy Based on Gender, Qualification, and Age
Gender is an individual factor that contributes to differences in salaries. Italy ranks 79th in the Global Gender Gap Index, trailing behind countries like Kenya and Uganda, and it’s 30th in Europe. Women in Italy participate less in the labor force, work fewer hours, and have less stable contracts, leading to a gender pay gap. This gap is also influenced by the sector in which a person works; for instance, in the public sector, the gender pay gap is only 4.1% (one of the lowest in Europe), while in the private sector, it reaches 16.5%.
In 2022, the average gross salary for male workers was €31,286, while for female workers, it was €28,656.
Higher education opens up broader employment opportunities. According to ISTAT, university graduates earn, on average, about 2.5 times more net income than those who have only graduated high school. Older individuals with a full university degree earn 42% more than their colleagues without such qualifications.
Italy is unique in the Eurozone in that the older a worker gets, the higher their salary. There is a clear economic correlation between age and the size of the salary; rewards increase with years, even though the rate of increase slows over time. As individuals progress in their careers, they earn more, although the increment becomes smaller.
|Age||Gross Salary in € per Year|
Data sourced from Forbes Advisor, based on statistics collected by JobPricing Observatory in 2023.
Salary in Italy: how much do migrants earn?
As of January 1, 2023, the number of foreigners permanently residing in Italy was just over 5 million people, or 8.6% of the total population. The wage gap between native Italians and migrants, as of 2021, was 30%.
In 2022, the average annual salaries for foreigners in Italy ranged from €8,500 to €14,000, depending on the field of work. Economic conditions improve with the length of time spent in Italy. For instance, a family living in the country for 2 years earns 40% less than a family residing there for 12 years. This is because during this time, the foreign resident might learn the language, acquire some work qualifications, and obtain a more stable legal status in the country.
49% of families composed entirely of foreign citizens are at risk of poverty. In comparison, only 17% of households with Italian members find themselves in similar circumstances.
Regionally, 62% of migrants in the southern regions of the country, 47% in central provinces, and 37% in the north are living on the brink of poverty.
Taxes and Deductions from Salary in Italy
According to the OECD, the tax burden in Italy in 2023, while reduced by 1.14 percentage points compared to 2019, still remains one of the highest in Europe.
The tax on an employee’s salary in Italy includes the following deductions:
- Income tax (ranging from 23% to 43%)
- Regional tax
- Municipal tax
- Pension (insurance) contributions
The rate is calculated individually based on where a person works and how much they earn. For example, with a gross monthly salary of €4,200, an employee in Abruzzo will pay:
- €1,275 in income tax
- €72.66 in regional tax
- €29.40 in municipal tax
- €386 in pension contributions
The total deductions amount to €1,763, leaving the employee in Abruzzo with only €2,437 net income, retaining 58% of their salary. Additionally, the employer will contribute another €1,260 in taxes for the employee. These high figures are another reason why the level of income causes dissatisfaction among citizens.
Minimum Wage in Italy
As of 2023, there is still no official minimum wage in Italy. Apart from Italy, EU countries without a statutory minimum wage include Denmark, Austria, Finland, Sweden, and Cyprus.
In Italy, the threshold for wages is effectively determined by collective agreements. According to estimates from CNEL (National Council for Economics and Labour), 98% of workers and 99% of companies are covered by such contracts that specify a minimum wage level. However, this level is lower than the European average. Despite having these mechanisms for regulating wages, signing collective agreements in Italy is not mandatory. There are companies and individual contracts that ignore the general agreements established by trade unions.
However, there is a possibility that this situation might change soon. Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni expressed readiness to discuss the minimum wage in Italy in parliament. A session on this matter is planned for September 2023. Earlier, in June, the opposition proposed setting the minimum wage at 9 euros per hour, not only for contractual employees but also for other work relationships, including self-employed individuals. The final figure and whether a minimum wage will be established in Italy in 2023 are unknown.
In 2021, the average value of minimum wages was 12,093 euros per year (60% of the median value). Approximately 4.6 million employees with official employment contracts received this salary.
Purchasing Power of Italian Wages
From 2022 to 2023, the average salary decreased by 7%, naturally impacting purchasing power. According to local media calculations, the approximate breakdown of a personal budget in Italy with a salary of 1,500 euros per month looks like this:
|Type of Expenses||euro/month|
|Food and Personal Hygiene||€270-€400|
|Utility Bills (gas, water, electricity)||€200|
Money Transfers from Italy
Despite the challenging conditions for foreign workers in the Italian job market, migration to the country continues. Even with minimal wages, migrants strive to regularly send money to support their families back home.
In such tight financial circumstances, choosing a money transfer provider with non-burdensome service fees becomes extremely important for users.
The mobile application KoronaPay, available in most European countries, including Italy, allows users to send money transfers without a commission and with minimal exchange rate markups. Among the service’s other advantages are:
- Sending to 20+ countries
- Instant delivery
- Delivery to a card or in cash (depending on the destination country)
- User-friendly application interface
- 24/7 support in Russian and English