Demographics and workforce dynamics: what are the challenges facing Italy today and in the future? | CDP

Demographics and workforce dynamics

What are the challenges facing Italy today and in the future?

What are the main demographic trends in Italy? How is the labour market evolving in terms of demand and supply of skills? What will be the impact of population ageing and technological change in the coming years? How to face the challenges that loom on the horizon for the sustainability and competitiveness of the labour market?

The document illustrates the possible impact of the demographic dynamics underway in Italy on the future availability of labour, highlighting the risks and distortions that the decline and ageing of the population will bring to the national labour market.

Read the report’s key messages and download the document for further information.

  • The ongoing demographic decline in our country and the simultaneous imbalance in the population structure towards older groups have important implications for the labour market, making it more difficult to match supply and demand.
  • In 2022, 41% of total vacancies were difficult to fill, mainly due to a shortage of candidates.
  • This was true for both highly specialised roles and for those requiring less qualified people. This scarcity is affected:
    • firstly, by the reduction in the number of young people entering the labour market, which limits the renewal of skills;
    • secondly, by the retirement of workers with low education levels, who cannot be replaced by a younger workforce with higher average qualifications.
  • The unfavourable demographic trends expected in the coming years threaten to increase risks and distortions in the labour market. In particular, by 2030 there could be:
    • a decline of between 2.0 and 2.4 million low-skilled workers, mainly affecting the 35-54 age group, and to a greater extent in the South and North West;
    • an increase of between 1.1 and 1.6 million in the number of highly qualified workers, particularly among the over 50s and in northern Italy, with a likely need to adapt skills to market needs.
  • Looking ahead, therefore, there are two major challenges for the Italian labour market.
  • Firstly, to meet the huge demand for low-skilled workers, who are still essential in the Italian labour market. International experience suggests two main policy options in the short to medium term:
    • a more widespread use of automation, especially for routine activities with a limited need for creativity;
    • the promotion of immigration policies, including ad hoc schemes for the integration and training of new residents, which can reduce the gap.
  • Secondly, to match the skills of highly educated people with the needs of companies and institutions through:
    • the promotion of lifelong learning, reskilling and upskilling policies;
    • strengthening the school-university-job guidance system to direct young people towards the professional skills most in demand on the market, with a particular focus on STEM disciplines.
Read the brief (Available in Italian)