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Milan Doing Business

Italy has one of the worlds most advanced industrial economies. It is a major market serving a population of more than 57 million people. In addition, Italian firms are active throughout the Mediterranean and Europe, including the emerging markets in Central and Eastern Europe.

Following the reforms started in the early Nineties, the Italian business environment has become more investment-friendly. The privatisation drive, the reform of public administration, the Euro changeover, the reorganisation of the banking system and the setting up of a more streamlined business incentive system have contributed to improve the country’s overall competitiveness.

The labour market

The Italian labour market is undergoing a process of change and renovation that is making the job more flexible. The traditional upsides of the Italian labour market are:

  • Low cost of labour: the fourth and third lowest in the EU and among G/ countries respectively;
  • High productivity: first among G/ countries and fourth in the EU;
  • Rising employment: 1.5 million new jobs have been created since 1995;
  • Increasing flexibility:10% of employees have non-permanent working contracts;
  • More women at work: employment in the tertiary has gone up by 11.46% since 1996;
  • Growth of the tertiary sector: employment in the tertiary has gone up by 11.46% since 1996;
  • Loosening of controls on dismissals Italian legislation on dismissals are among the less stringent in the OECD;
  • Availibility of  flexible and relatively qualified workforce made up of young people:  the number of university graduates has gone up 9.1% since 1999;
  • Generous tax benefits to sustain job creation: 70,000 new jobs have been created in 2001 thanks to tax credits

The cost of labour

The cost of labour in Italy is among the lowest in Europe and the third lowest among G7countries. The cost of labour per hour is:

  • approximately 14% lower than the European average
  • 27% lower than in France
  • 43% lower than in Germany.

The difference is even more glaring in the manufacturing industry: the average hourly wage in Italy is lower:

  • by over 40% with respect to Scandinavian countries
  • by between 30% and 50% with respect to Benelux countries
  • by 32% with respect to France
  • by 60% with respect to Germany

Business Hours

For most banks, opening hours are: 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.; 3 p.m.-4 p.m. (or 2:45 p.m.-3:45 p.m.) from Mondays to Fridays.

Most shops are open from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3:30 or 4 to 7 or 7:30 p.m. Shops close on Sunday and one half-day during the week. Some department stores and supermarkets are open all day, also on Sunday.

Post offices are open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Central and main district post offices stay open<