This EU Country Is So Screwed Up That 85,000 People Applied For 30 Jobs

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Jul 04 2017
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Planning for a holiday in Italy for the first time? Then you should be aware that city such as Rome is one of European top cities where you are most likely to be pick-pocketed. That would be the first advice your tour guide tells you. Believe it or not, thieves in Italy have more rights than the victim, in a way. They normally operate in groups of three or four.


Remember to be nice to the thieves, even when they’re caught, as hurting them could land both of you in jail, if it could be proven in court that they pick pocketed you in the first place. Although many would say it was more of a culture – the gypsy and migrant – than unemployment, that pick pocketing is like a daily ritual, unemployment is correlated to crime, one way or another.

Italy Youth Unemployment - Football Fans

Italy’s unemployment rate in the first quarter of 2017 stood at 11.6%, down 0.2 percentage point from the previous quarter. However, the youth unemployment is close to 40% of the overall unemployment, making jobs a very rare commodity. So when an Italian bank published vacancies for 30 jobs, a jaw-dropping 85,000 people applied for the positions.


At nearly 3,000 candidates fighting for a job, it doesn’t need a rocket scientist to see the desperation of the unemployed Italians. The best part is, those vacancies were 30 deputy assistant jobs in the Bank of Italy, a junior position with low annual salary of just 28,000 Euros (US$31,835; £24,582; RM136,829). If you think this is a great job, wait until you hear the job functions.

Bank of Italy

One of the duties of the job will require the staff to feed cash into machines that can distinguish bank notes that are either counterfeit or so worn out that they should no longer be in circulation. Obviously, the bank was both delighted and flabbergasted by the huge interest of job seekers. The high level of interest was a reflection of the sorry state of the economy.


But Bank of Italy isn’t complaining. Flushed with choices, the bank finally short-listed 8,000 – all of them first-class graduates with a solid academic record. Still, those selected will have to sit a gruelling examination in which they will be tested on statistics, mathematics, economics and English, as well as an oral exam. The best of the best will take up their new jobs next year.

Job Interview - Candidates Waiting

Previously, when the region of Umbria advertised 94 public administration jobs in 2015, more than 32,000 people applied. Similarly, a hospital in Milan that needed to recruit 10 nurses was bombarded with more than 7,000 candidates. Since the 2008 global financial crisis, Italy’s unemployment steadily climbs from 6% to its peak of 13% in 2014, before improving slightly.


Unemployment aside, traditionally, Italians love working in the public sector. Working for the government provides great benefits and generous pension. Even in private sector, a job is almost like a “golden bowl” dreamt by millions – once employed, it is very hard for a company to get rid of them, no matter how lazy or incompetent they might be, thanks to Italy’s rigid labour law.

Italy Bank Baailout - Banca Popolare di Vicenza

Last week, Italian government was forced to commit €17-billion (US$19.3 billion; £15 billion; RM82.9 billion) to close down two banks, the biggest bailout in the history of the nation. Intervention was needed because depositors and savers of Banca Popolare di Vicenza and Veneto Banca – numbering to 2 million households and 200,000 businesses – were at risk.


Apparently no wealthy businessmen were willing to rescue the Italian banks. The European Commission, however, was furious that taxpayers’ money are used to bailout the two Italian banks, which collapsed due to years of mismanagement and poor lending. The rescue plan involves transferring both banks’ good assets to Italy’s biggest retail bank – Intesa Sanpaolo.

Italy Banks - Flag

The amazing part of the deal was that Italy’s government will pay €5.2 billion to Intesa, and give it guarantees of up to €12 billion so that it will take over the remains or whatever leftover of the two Italian banks. Still, thousands of jobs are likely to be lost across Banca Popolare di Vicenza and Veneto Banca because 600 branches could be closed; now they are part of larger rival Intesa.


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