MILAN, July 24 (Xinhua) -- Piera Seddaiu is one of the 3.5 million "precarious workers" of Italy, or young people with often excellent academic degrees but poorly paid temporary jobs.
The 39-year-old woman lost her job in human resources career in 2007, and since then all she could find was a series of short-term jobs.
"Now I work in a call center for around 1,000 euros a month (1,212 U.S. dollars). But I consider myself still lucky in this period of total crisis," she told Xinhua on Tuesday as new worrying figures emerged regarding the labor market in recession-hit Italy.
According to a report of the Italian Union of the Chambers of Commerce, the share of permanent hires has shrunk to less than two out of 10 new contracts especially due to "weaknesses and uncertainties of the economic scenario."
Meanwhile, a report from the Italian leading trade union Cgil showed that nearly 700,000 job places in the industrial sectors, or one job out of 10, have been lost in the past few months forestalling "a very difficult upcoming phase."
On Monday, the central bank of Italy said that wages have remained almost unchanged in 10 years in a country whose unemployment rate soared to 10.9 percent in the first quarter of 2012, and is expected to reach 11 percent in 2013.
Other recent studies highlighted most of the Italian companies refuse to offer their workers regular contracts with sick pay, holiday pay, or any other employment protection that can give them a chance to plan their lives.
To Ivana Rizzo, an experienced archaeologist, the route to "recycle" herself as a clerk was "frustrating."
After investing a lot of years in education and training, "prospects were really bad," the 33-year-old woman said.
A recent study by Datagiovani opinion poll institute showed that one out of four graduates in Italy are "mismatched," or unable to find a job in line with their education degree.
Labor sociology professor at Bologna University Roberto Rizza noted that the major problem of record-high young unemployment essentially derives from a slow school-to-work transition.
Italian graduates take much more time to find their first job compared to their European peers, especially due to two reasons, he said.
"Firstly, there is a serious lack of efficient market-oriented education system and employment agencies. Secondly, most of local small- and medium-sized manufacturer companies seek low-qualification professionals, but young Italians are over-educated for such jobs," he told Xinhua.
An evidence was provided by official statistics showing that presently there is an offer in Italy of nearly 100,000 jobs ranging from the service industry to food and beverage, and skilled technicians.
Moreover, Rizza added, a lack of welfare support to pregnancy and the elderly over decades has led millions of Italian women to give up their careers and only dedicate to their families.
New types of temporary contracts introduced in the past years as an injection of flexibility in a too rigid system ended to deepen the unbalance between "insiders" and "outsiders", or people with a stable job and youngsters who are hardly ever given regular work.
Now there is a wide consensus among local experts that this system has failed as companies take advantage of the much lower labor costs associated with short-term contracts by abusing of young employees.
Analysts also agree that the labor reform carried out in June by the Italian emergency government led by Prime Minister Mario Monti will not bring any significant changes.
According to a labor law professor at Milan Bocconi University, Maurizio Del Conte, "the reform will not be able to rebalance the Italian labor market" as it has only reshuffled the previous rules without taking real steps to get away from the dual labor market.
One positive novelty was a government benefit extended to all workers, he told Xinhua. But this instrument needs consistent financing which is very difficult to find in times of crisis, he noted.
Del Conte said a concrete move to fight the "unemployment emergency" would be lowering the fiscal burden for companies that hire young workers. Italy has created a "wasted generation" since the outbreak of the crisis, he warned.
In fact, the professor noted, "when the economic recovery will start, companies of course will hire new graduates, and an entire generation of young Italians will further weight on the public finances."
"Thus Italy urgently needs to encourage employers to hire young workers, it would be the only way to help the labor system move on amid these difficult times," he said.