The right person in the right place: addressing the skills mismatch for a more inclusive labor market in Italy

A 3 years comprehensive research program, announced today by the JPMorgan Chase Foundation and Bocconi University will provide insight on the dynamics and changes of the Italian labor market and data-driven recommendations for job creation and development.

January 29, 2016 (Milan, Italy) – The JPMorgan Chase Foundation and Bocconi University announced today the launch of New Skills at Work in Italy, a three-year research program aimed to provide insight on the dynamics and changes of the Italian labor market and data-driven recommendations for job creation and development.

Among the 22 countries monitored by the OECD for its first Survey of Adult Skills, the Italian labor market is markedly less effective in matching skills with open jobs. Italy has both a high number of underskilled workers (third position) and of overskilled workers (seventh). One worker out of five has competencies above or under those required by his/her job.

According to preliminary research, skill mismatch seems to be one of the causes of the bad resource allocation that leads to exceptionally high youth and long-term unemployment rates in Italy, sluggish productivity growth and lack of GDP growth. In 17 years Italy has lost more than 20 percentage points of GDP growth with respect to European partners and 35 points with respect to the United States.

The initiative unveiled today is part of a JPMorgan Chase's European program focused on addressing unemployment, improve labor market infrastructure and develop a skilled workforce capable of responding to current and future labor market demands. The program is an integral part of the global JPMorgan Chase's global, five year New Skills at Work initiative, originally announced in the USA in December 2013. New Skills at Work remains the largest-ever private-sector effort aimed at addressing the "skills gap" that exists in countries around the world.

Hang Ho, Head of JPMorgan Chase Foundation for EMEA, said: “Despite some recovery of European labor markets, many people cannot access work opportunities, because their qualifications and skills do not match the requirements of available jobs. This skills mismatch diminishes both individual opportunities and the productivity of businesses. Identifying solutions for job creation and equipping people with training and skills employers need is at the heart of the New Skills at Work Program. Through our partnership with Bocconi University, we aim to identify actionable recommendations both to guide our own philanthropic work and to support efforts by private and public stakeholders in addressing labor market challenges, and thus boost skill levels and economic opportunities.”

“The research program is an effective example of how companies and academia can join forces and have a positive impact on real life”, Bocconi Rector Andrea Sironi said. “Thanks to JPMorgan Chase Foundation funding, Bocconi researchers will work on the skill mismatch subject for three years and the Foundation will use their research outcomes to shape best practices aimed to fill the skills gap.”

Said Guido Nola, co-senior country officer for J.P. Morgan in Italy: “As a firm that is strongly committed to promote the growth of the market and the communities where we live and work, we're proud to bring News Skills at Work to Italy and to partner with Università Bocconi and its outstanding team of scholars and researchers on the project. We want to promote a constructive debate between public and private sector as a key factor to formulate successful strategies for the future and play our part in tackling one of the most critical challenges for the future of the country.”

The research program has two main objectives. First, it aims to analyze the role of skill mismatch in explaining the Italian low productivity growth. Second, it will study the role of demand side factors (firms) and supply side factors (education and training) in determining skill mismatch. Based on these findings, it will be possible to formulate a series of policy suggestions on how to improve the functioning of the labor market and of the educational system, as well as the quality of the allocation of workers in the economy.

More broadly, the commitment also builds on existing efforts by the Foundation in Italy to promote and advance economic opportunity for young people from underprivileged backgrounds and migrants, including tailored training and work placement alongside Fondazione Luigi Clerici, and entrepreneurship support with Fondazione Human+.

About New Skills at Work
The JPMorgan Chase New Skills at Work program, a $250 million global initiative launched in 2013, aims to identify strategies and support solutions that help improve labor market infrastructure and develop the skilled workforce globally. The initiative brings together leading policymakers, academics, business leaders, educators, training providers and nonprofits with the goal of connecting labor market policy with practice, supply with demand and employers with the workforce – all to strengthen the global economy and create economic opportunity for individuals. It is the largest private sector commitment to workforce development in the world.

About JPMorgan Chase & Co.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $2.4 trillion and operations worldwide. The Firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing, and asset management. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, JPMorgan Chase & Co. serves millions of consumers in the United States and many of the world's most prominent corporate, institutional and government clients under its J.P. Morgan and Chase brands. Information about JPMorgan Chase & Co. is available at www.jpmorganchase.com.