Keywords: Labor Force and Employment, Size and Structure; Job, Occupational, and Intergenerational Mobility; Human Capital, Skills.
The article investigates how the employment condition of young people changed in Italy in the last fifty years (1945-2009) focusing on the first job experiences. The analysis takes into consideration both the sides of the labour market: the changes regarding the labour supply but also those concerning the labour demand, highlighting the changes in the distribution of job opportunities by industry and stressing the role of the public sector. The variations in the diffusion of non-permanent and of irregular jobs can be attributed, in some cases, to the public policies and, in some others, to the industrialization and terziarization processes that took place in different periods. The article focuses also on the decline of the return to education for young people entering the labour market for the first time and on the role of the family background in terms of protection against job instability. The conclusion provides some reflections concerning the speed of the recent changes that took place in the Italian labour market. Taking into consideration that speed is crucial in order to analyse the mismatching and the process of adjustment of youth's expectations. The analyses are based on longitudinal data provided by ISTAT ("Vite familiari e soggetti sociali") on a sample of 43.850 individuals.