Blocked or Short-Range Mobility? Immigration and Labour Market Integration in Italy

Saturday, 21 July 2018: 14:00
Oral Presentation
Maurizio AVOLA, University of Catania, Italy
Giorgio PICCITTO, University of Milan, Italy
In recent decades, Italy has been one of the main destinations of international migration inflows. Even the socio-economic effects of the Great Recession did not reverse the trend: from 2008 to 2016, the number of legally resident foreigners increased about 50%. These dynamics are closely related to the need of immigrant labour force expressed by the segmented Italian labour market, characterized by a substantial qualitative mismatch between the labour demand structure and the native supply.

Thus, differently from the old receiving countries of Centre-North Europe, in Italy immigrants face a trade-off between low (or none) penalty with respect to natives in terms of employment entry chance and high occupational segregation at lower levels of the professional hierarchy (Kogan, 2007; Fullin-Reyneri 2011; Avola, 2015; Ballarino-Panichella, 2015; 2017).

Furthermore, recent studies (Fellini-Guetto-Molinari, 2017) have highlighted that such segregation characterizes not only the entrance of immigrants into the Italian labour market, but their whole career. Upward mobility chances are indeed very limited.

From this evidences, this work has two research questions. The first aims to understand whether, and to what extent, the occupational immobility of immigrants is due to their status of foreigner (ethnic penalty), or instead is the effect of a structural immobility characterizing the Italian labour market. The second research question aims to shed light on the chances of short-range (horizontal\intraclass) mobility and\or changes in working conditions (contractual regularity, stability of job, wage, etc.) that can improve significantly life and working conditions of migrants without modifying their class position.

The analysis is conducted on two dataset from Istat: Multipurpose survey (2009, nearly 40.000 observations) and Condition and social integration of foreigners (2011, nearly 25.000 observations). We compare natives’ and immigrants’ occupational trajectories with OLS techniques, so to grasp the magnitude of the eventual mobility and the characteristics associated with it.