According to the last report by ISTAT on the labour market in Italy, we are witnessing a slow, but progressive, increase in the number of employed people and a slight decrease in the unemployment rate, still high if we consider the rate of almost all of our neighbour countries in Europe.
During the first quarter of 2016, the number of employed people kept increasing (+242 thousands year-on-year) and the employment rate reached 56.3 per cent for the aged 15-64 years. The increase shows a relevant share of permanent employees and a general stability of temporary employees. 59.2 per cent of people aged 25-34 years, the so-called “young adults”, are employed, an increase of over 1 per cent over the first quarter of 2015.
Figures make an interesting pattern when we see the data compared to education. Only 41.7 per cent of those who completed only until middle school are employed, compared to the 62.9 per cent of those who graduated in high school. Those who hold a university degree, though, reach a 78 per cent peak of employment.
Hence, a university degree still remains a good investment, despite of the mismatch between labour demand and supply being so wide. The game of obsolete traditional competences and key skills for the future of organisations is already playing, and the university system in Italy is largely in delay.
We should rethink and update the idea of “ability” itself, crossing the limit set by the necessity of honing a technical education in damage of experiential education, in a 4.0 trend that runs fast and overwhelmingly. The modern world evolves alongside ideas, setting the ground for needs and opportunities to flourish, requiring a perspective and long-run vision. We need vision to do that, the ability to imagine beyond what the eyes can see: designing, dreaming.
The labour market has changed, and so should universities and schools do. They are no longer mere buildings to which you have to go to grab information you can now find somewhere else. They passed – but the process is still ongoing – from being institution of learning to dynamic platforms for meshing knowledge, information and experiences. They became places for growth, for a wide-spread education. The very same education that makes us aware, attentive and responsible citizens, committed to make our world, eventually, a better place.
This world, this country, will slowly recover as long as it is able to walk on the feet of opportunities, and to leverage them to overcome obstacles. Figures follow so far, but it is still not enough. A good education, large in terms of experiences and not long in frustrations, is the real gym in which we must train the champions of tomorrow to perform their everyday trials.