Janitor's nine hour commute highlights Italy's miserable jobs market

 ROME- A 29-year-old janitor at the Baccioni School of Arts, Giuseppina Giuliano, resides in Naples whilst continuing to be employed in Milan -- her commute is at least four-and-a-half hours by train to reach Milan, without delays, resulting in her commute to work adding up to at least nine hours daily. The cost of such a commute for the young employee is around 400 euros a month, with discounts, accumulated points, and advanced buying strategies.

 However Miss Giuliano still considers herself lucky as this cost is significantly less than what a shared room in Milan currently costs. She continues to look for accommodation, but with a salary of 1,165 euros monthly she will be unlikely to afford rent in Milan in addition to other living costs. 

 She has described the search for housing as an extremely demoralizing and exhausting task, saying that “I realized that now in Milan it's easier to find a needle in a haystack, than find affordable housing”. She says she cannot afford to lose her job as she has currently been granted a permanent posititon at her institution which is an exceptional opportunity. 

 Inflation rates in Italy have been exponentially rising recently and show no signs of slowing down, a trend which has affected particularly people with annual rent reviews. According to Istat, the inflation rate in Italy has reached a 7.8 percent year-on-year level, which is exacerbating the living cost crisis and forcing particularly young people and students to resort to living in lower-cost areas or move back in with relatives.  

 This trend has particularly affected Northern areas of Italy which have seen an even higher rise in inflation, specifically Milan where rent prices are estimated to increase by 80 euros a month, compared to the 53 euro national increase.

 Giuseppina's story is only one of many, with Milan’s fast-increasing gentrification, and failure to develop new residencies, poorer residents of the city are forced to move away, and Milan is not alone in this trend. Around Italy, many young people are resorting to living in neighboring towns with hours-long commutes, as entry-level salaries no longer cover the costs of living in most major cities. This trend is unlikely to decelerate as the high rents are only a byproduct of a much bigger housing market crisis caused by limited supply and high demand due to increased levels of investment, general inflation, and a high number of graduates emerging to find housing post-pandemic.