The Migrant Knowledge Workers in Italy: A Structural Problem?

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 08:45
Oral Presentation
Stefano BOFFO, Department of Social Science, University of Naples Federico II, Italy
Francesco GAGLIARDI, Natonal Research Council, Italy
One of the most serious consequences of the economic and social crisis which from 2008 to 2015 has struck Italy, along with a large part of the countries of southern Europe, is the strong growth of youth unemployment which has particularly affected those with a higher level of education. An the effects is the exponential growth of emigration of young Italian knowledge workers, that has not at all been offset by incoming flows of migrants at the same level of qualification. A phenomen deepend by the the joint action of two aspects mostly affecting the research and innovation sector, i.e. a stop in the recruitment in the public sector, due to implemented austerity policies and a structural difficulty of the Italian labor market to recruit higly skilled workers.

The paper analyzes this phenomenon by exploring the quantitative dimension of Italian knowledge workers’migration, also referring to the pre-crisis period. The analysis is articulated both in terms of size of the migration and of estimating economic costs for Italian society as a whole. It also includes a study on motivation to emigrate and on conditions for possible return. It is based on a survey specifically tied to research and innovation, i.e. the knowledge workers in some hard scientific fields. As this situation, by reducing the highest quota of human capital in the country, is likely to have permanent consequences on Italian society, the paper also explores some points for potential return policies of expatriates knowledge workers.