Seriously? Italy Is Facing a Pizza-Maker Shortage

Italians are shunning the profession for cushier jobs

If there was one thing in Italy that you’d think there wouldn't be a shortage of, it would be pizza-makers, right? According to the stereotype, the country is full of robust, mustachioed, flour-dusted pizza-makers (or pizzaioli), singing opera to themselves as they twirl rounds of dough over their head. But in reality, the amount of Italians becoming pizzaioli is far below the amount needed in order to feed the masses, and, increasingly, immigrants to the country are picking up the pizza peel.

According to the Telegraph, an Italian business federation named FIPE has decreed that an additional 6,000 new pizza-makers are needed to keep up with increasing demand, but most Italians in fact shun the blue-collar profession, and immigrants from places like Egypt are the ones who now run most pizzerias in the country’s major cities.

"We are good at it because we are prepared to work hard," Cairo-born Amadeo Al-Wikel, who runs a pizzeria in Rome, told the newspaper. "Italians, in contrast, want a nice comfortable office job where they can work six hours a day, five days a week, in air-conditioning. They're not prepared to work 10, 12 hours a day." 

An Italian pizza-maker in the same city, Alessandro Rossi, agrees with Al-Wikel. "The Italian mindset is that being a pizza-maker is humiliating, it is a manual labor job," he said. "Young Italians want to own 40,000 Euro cars and wear nice clothes but they are not prepared to work for it. So the gap is being filled by the Egyptians, the Filipinos, and the Arabs."

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In a country where unemployment among young people is at around 35 percent, it seems like those on the job hunt might want to consider expanding their boundaries.