​Everyone knows the saying “money cannot buy happiness,” but it is an important means to achieving a higher standard of living and well-being in the world we live in. Salaries in Italy are not among the highest in Europe (Switzerland being over €6,000; Luxembourg over €5,000; Germany over €4,000), but the cost of living is lower to compensate.

A look at the average household

The amount of money that a household earns each year after taxes is called net adjusted disposable income. This is the amount of money available to a household for spending on goods and/or services. In Italy, this income is around €22,000 (per capita) per year

What is the difference between median and average salary?

If your salary happens to be higher than both the average and the median then, in this case, you are doing very well. But, if your salary is lower than both, then many people are earning more than you are. Both are used as indicators.

Salary Range: In Italy, salaries tend to range from €920, which is the lowest average,  per month to €16,300 per month which is the highest average (for statistical purposes) though the actual maximum is higher.

Median Salary: The current median salary is around €3,720 per month. This means that half of the population are earning less than that amount while the other half are earning more. The median is simply the value of the middle salary. This average monthly salary includes housing, transport, and other benefits. It is important to keep in mind that salaries vary drastically between different careers and this number includes both the highest paying jobs and the lowest paying ones.


These figures are merely estimates. The numbers vary greatly if you consider specific jobs and locations.

​Source of the data: Istat.it.

The North-South Disparity

Lombardy has the highest gross salary (around €31,400) in the country, while the island of Sardinia was the lowest. The Lazio region, in central Italy, stands third, with an average gross salary of €30,500. The last positions are Southern regions. For example, residents of Basilicata received the lowest wages in all of Italy, with an average of €24,300 per year.

Southern Italy has the highest percentage of low paid employees. These are employees with an hourly salary of less than two-thirds of the median salary divided by the total number of employees. This is likewise for Sicily and the islands.

Woman showing a folding fan on money | Average salary in Italy

How important is experience?

Experience level is the most important factor when determining a salary in Italy. It comes as no surprise that the more years of experience a person has then the higher the wage they receive is. This, however, tends to vary drastically between locations and also depends on the career field.

Employees that have experience anywhere from two to five years earn, on average, 32% more than first-time and junior employees. This applies across all industries and disciplines. Professionals on the other hand, with more than five years experience, tend to earn about 36% more than those with five years or less experience. This continues to increase as you approach the ten-year mark there is about a 21% increase; and, those who cross the fifteen-year mark will see another 14% increase.

How dependent is salary on education level?

​Like experience, changes in salary that are based on education vary from one location to another. They are also dependent on the career field, but this is true of any country. There remains a steady increase accompanying each subsequent level of education.

Workers with a certificate or diploma earn on average 17% more than their peers who only reached the high school level. Employees with a Bachelor’s Degree earn 24% more than those with a certificate or diploma. Those with a Master’s Degree generally receive 29% more than those with a Bachelor’s Degree. Last but not least, PhD holders earn 23% more than those with a Master’s Degree while holding the same position.

Is there a gender pay gap?

Though gender should not—even by EU law—have an effect on pay it does, though not nearly as much as in the past. As with many other countries male employees in Italy earn 6% more on average than their female counterparts across the board.

Pay gaps tend to differ across different sectors. For instance, in 2019 within the banking and financial service sectors, the difference between the salaries of men and women favored men by several thousand euros. One exception to this is the construction industry where women earned, on average, around €5,000 more than men. Meanwhile in some other sectors (like metallurgy and steel), the gap between salaries was very slight or completely equal.

What’s the pay difference between public and private sectors?

Simply put, jobs in the public sector are highly coveted and as such public sector employees in Italy earn about 5% more than their private sector counterparts along with all the accompanying benefits that come from working for the State.

What percentage of salary goes to social security?

Social security contributions  differ yearly but tend to hover around 40%. This is not all on the shoulders of the employee. Companies are generally responsible for contributing 30% while the employees pay the remaining 10%.

Which jobs have the highest salaries?

Employees working in banking and financial services had some of the largest salaries in Italy. However, men earned roughly 25% more than women. Italy, as part of the EU, is slowly becoming a country where work is becoming less “manual” (though its manufacturing sector remains strong) and more “intellectual,” and this generally means that salaries rise. Doctors, lawyers, financiers, engineers (chemical specifically): the usual suspects, all earn higher than average across the board.

If you’re curious about the minimum wage in Italy, be sure to check out our complete guide here.
Do you want to read more? Check also our article about income taxes in Italy as well.
If you want to open a business in Italy, consider reading article about freelancing italy, or buying a shell company in Italy.


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