Uncompetitive pay is behind exodus of academics in Italy

Despite higher education becoming widely recognised as an international market for researchers and other academic professionals as well as for students, uncompetitive salaries in Italy are causing a brain drain, particularly among young talent coming out of Italian universities, and are making the country less attractive to foreign researchers.

That’s according to a new report titled The Attractiveness of European Higher Education Systems: A comparative analysis of faculty remuneration and career paths, which gives a detailed and illuminating insight into the career prospects as well as the pay and conditions of academics in three European Union countries – Italy, France and Germany – and the United Kingdom.

Published as part of the Research and Occasional Paper Series (ROPS) by the Center for Studies in Higher Education, University of California, Berkeley, the study was sponsored by the CRUI, the Conference of Italian University Rectors.

Co-authored by three researchers at the University of Bergamo in Italy – Alice Civera, Michele Meoli and Stefano Paleari – together with Erik Lehmann, a professor from the University of Augsburg in Germany, it is a response to growing concerns in Italy over the brain drain to other countries.

The ROPS report from Berkeley is an abridged version in English of the full study published in Italian, which is under consideration as part of a review of conditions in Italian higher education by the Italian rectors’ and the Italian parliament.

“We wanted to create a comparative study to look at remuneration of academics at different stages in their careers, and why so many were choosing to move abroad from Italy, in particular, to improve their career prospects,” Associate Professor Meoli told University World News.

Differences between countries

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