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In general, there is less formality than most countries in the Italian workplace. The Italians are an expressive, emotional people and this is reflected in their business meetings. It is common to shake hands at the beginning of the meeting and to exchange business cards – which should be in Italian and include your qualifications. Usually there is also social conversation at the beginning and at the end of the meeting. It is not considered rude to interrupt people and expressing emotions is not considered unprofessional or unusual.
Furthermore, it may take some time for your colleagues to reach a decision, as they may not be in a hurry. In addition, hierarchy is still important. For example, you should stand when an older person enters the room.
Italians are occasionally punctual (when the mood takes them), though they may have higher expections of you. It is better to arrive on time to be on the safe side, at least at first. Hours of business usually include a two-hour lunch break and can be from 8:00 to 1:00 and 3:00 to 8:00. Larger businesses will have the more internationally recognised hours, however.
Business is conducted on a personal rather than transactional level, so people will start to trust you once you have begun to open up to them. The better you are at building up this trust and camaraderie, the easier you will find it to get on in Italy. This means that networking is an integral part of Italian business culture. There are numerous business groups and professional associations in Italy.
As jobs are in short supply, applications are subject to an order of priority. Italian citizens come first, then EU citizens, and finally non-EU citizens. This means that there are few positions available for those from outside the EU. Those that are available tend to be high-level management roles in multinationals.
Sections in EMPLOYMENT AND BUSINESS IN ITALY:
» Finding a Job, CVs, Interviews and Etiquette for Expats in Italy
» Work Culture and Labour Market for Expats in Italy
» Expats Owning and Operating a Business in Italy
» Business Groups, Associations and Networking for Expats in Italy
» Business Taxation for Expats in Italy
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If you are considering moving to Italy or are soon to depart, you can find helpful information and advice in the Expat Briefing dedicated Italian section including; details of immigration and visas, Italian forums, Italian event listings and service providers in Italy.
From your safety to shopping, living in Italy can yield great benefits as well as occasional drawbacks. Find your feet and stay abreast of the latest developments affecting expats in Italy with relevant news and up-to-date information.
Working in Italy can be rewarding as well as stressful, if you don't plan ahead and fulfill any legal requirements. Find out about visas and passports, owning and operating a company in Italy, and general Italian culture of the labour market.
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