“Leaving the worst behind” – an analysis of Italian graduates’ migratory decision-making processes

Wednesday, June 26, 2013
C3.17 (Oudemanhuispoort)
Francesca Conti , Department of International Relations, The American University of Rome
The movement of graduates across Europe is of considerable importance for both sending and receiving countries. Italian migrants with an academic qualification represent the bulk of the current phase of Italian emigration – a major change from the migration of the 1960s to 1980s. On the one hand, the migration of academically trained Italians is part of wider trends of intra-European mobilities common among well-educated Europeans. On the other, this is also a very distinct Italian phenomenon with many specific push factors. In this presentation, I compare the reasons of highly skilled women and men who leave Italy for the United Kingdom with those who decide to stay in Italy. The findings derive from semi-structured interviews conducted with 36 Italians living in the London area and with 18 staying in Italy. All of them graduated from university up to five years before the interview and were in the process of entering or establishing themselves on the labour market. My evidence suggests that a crucial role is played by the lack of meritocracy within the Italian labour market. Moreover, possessing a background of mobility and travelling experiences, holding a negative view of Italy, and a lack of identification with other Italians’ ways of living turned out as significant push factors. Meanwhile, staying in the home towns emerged as a decision based on the lack of interest in experiencing mobility vs. the importance a person attributes to social, emotional and cultural ties to his or her family, friends, partners and the local area.
  • leaving the worst behind.doc (105.5 kB)