Companies are hiring but salaries aren’t growing. For four out of ten the paycheck is not enough

Companies are hiring but salaries aren’t growing.  For four out of ten the paycheck is not enough


MILAN – In 2024, 88% of companies intend to hire, especially figures with permanent contracts (76%) and in 2023 six out of ten companies have increased their staff: the annual report on the labor market Salary Guide 2024 by Hays Italia outlines a prosperous period for the labor market in Italy. But, despite the dynamism, there is no shortage of shadows: in 2023 companies had to overcome the shortage of candidates and qualified professionals, which make the recruiting. The mismatch between job supply and demand is now chronic: 40% of companies found themselves facing the general lack of candidates in the market and in particular of qualified professionals (53%), with greater difficulty for intermediate levels.

Among the measures to overcome the current misalignment between skills required and available on the market, companies rely on recruitment companies (39%), strengthen their employer branding (39%) and invest in staff training and retraining (36% ). It is no coincidence that training programs for employees (47%) and the definition of measures to try to retain talent (41%) stand out among the investment priorities in the human resources field for 2024.


In the face of a dynamic job market, however, it seems that salaries remain unchanged: almost four out of ten workers are dissatisfied, and would change companies, mostly while maintaining the same role or industry. In fact, for 2024, Italian workers do not expect major career advancement opportunities in their current company (47%) and do not expect promotions (70%) or salary increases (65%) in 2024.


The issue of remuneration proves to be crucial in the current working landscape. According to the analysis conducted by Hays Italia, during 2023 the average annual gross salary for middle and top management positions was approximately 54 thousand euros, recording an increase of 2% compared to the previous year. However, clear salary disparities emerge between different professional categories, with salaries that vary significantly: from 34 thousand euros for Junior/Specialists to 94,500 for C level professionals.

Despite a slight improvement in pay satisfaction, which stood at 57% compared to 45% in 2022, a significant portion of workers (43%) remain dissatisfied with their salary. More than half (55%) believe their salary is not aligned with their current responsibilities. In 2023, half of the workers in the sample received no raise, and for 7% their wages actually decreased. Future prospects do not seem promising: almost two thirds (64%) of employees do not expect salary increases, especially because the majority do not foresee career progression.

However, if on the one hand workers have doubts and uncertainties, on the other, 59% of companies appear to be inclined to revise wage levels upwards in the coming months, albeit with limited margins (mostly within 5%). But what were the determining factors for obtaining a salary increase in 2023? Mainly, job change (37%) proved to be the most viable path, followed by individual performance (24%).

Flexibility and work life balance

Among the main reasons that push Italians to want to change jobs, in addition to the lack of career opportunities and too low pay, the poor balance between private life and work becomes important.

For workers, in fact, pay is important, but when considering a new job, a mix of elements consisting of professional growth (51%), work life balance (49%), benefits (47%) and interesting roles or projects (41%).

Benefits represent an important aspect both for workers (47%), who mainly evaluate this element when considering a new job, both in the strategy of many companies (46%) as a tool for the recruitment and retention of their collaborators.

Currently almost three quarters of professionals have declared that they receive company benefits which mainly concern the classic computers, telephone, meal vouchers, health insurance or private medical coverage and flexible working, but the most appreciated ones of all are the company car (56%) and smart working (51%). On this point, hybrid work continues to be successful. Compared to 2022, in 2023 the situation is essentially stable: only 32% are “forced” by companies to work exclusively in the office while the hybrid mode of two to four days in the office (51%) is the most widespread.

As with benefits, flexible working is also one of the aspects that workers no longer want to give up for a better balance between work and private life, ranking second among the most appreciated benefits (51%).

However, many employees are satisfied with this situation (63%) and companies have no intention of changing the working model by 2024 (83%). Also because last year’s analysis clearly showed that almost three out of ten workers would be willing to resign if they were forced to return to the office.


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