For ten years, the free professions have experienced a real boom: then Covid arrived, which excluded tens of thousands of people from the market.
This is the alarm launched by Confcommercio, according to which from 2008 to 2019 freelancers grew by 89% (+ 10% in 2019 compared to 2018). Those not enrolled in professional associations are 429,000 and 98.9% work in market services.
They represent the most dynamic segment of employment but also the most fragile, which was strongly affected by the pandemic effect. Between professional and non-ordinistic freelancers – in 2019 in total they represented over 1 million and 400 thousand workers – at least 40 thousand of them have been lost along the way.
According to the investigation by the Confconmmercio research office, disclosed in the context of the conference “Restart professions: the restart between opportunities and critical issues”, the numerical growth has not matched that of incomes: in fact, if the overall income generated by these professions grew by more than 40% in the period 2009-2019, that per capita is decreased by over 25%, stopping at just over € 15,900.
These are professionals in the environment and safety sector, condominium administrators, wedding planners, ICT professionals, designers, business consultants, trainers, wellness professionals, optometrists and tour guides.
More than half of the category carries out highly specialized scientific and technical activities which grew by 71.6% between 2008 and 2019.
However, the strongest increases in the same period are the complementary activities of personal services, from education + 237.7% to social assistance + 139%, to leisure time + 119%.
According to Confcommercio, if the sector does not recover, it will be difficult to return to pre-crisis employment levels: non-ordinistic professions are able to create new job opportunities even in the phases of the economic cycle and are one of the main drivers of employment growth, even in a context depressed by the insufficient dynamics of total factor productivity. But at this stage they need attention.
Confcommercio Professioni asks, as a matter of priority, fair compensation for professional services and, to get out of the pandemic emergency, the extraordinary payment in installments of the total accumulated fiscal debt, active policies aimed at professional retraining, a tailor-made welfare that also allows a greater reconciliation of work-life times.
“To restart after the pandemic – affirms Anna Rita Fioroni, president of Confcommercio Professoni – we need, above all, tailor-made policies for professionals who, with their skills, are protagonists of the implementation of the NRP. In particular, fair compensation should be introduced for professional services also for non-ordinistic professions and above all towards the Public Administration, more substantial concessions should be provided for the 4.0 transition “.
“In the short term – he underlines – an intervention is needed for the extraordinary payment in installments of the total tax debt resulting as of 31 December 2021”.
“The pandemic has also shown – adds Fioroni – that structural social safety nets are necessary for professional self-employed workers with reference above all to members of the separate Inps management, and the opportunity to make the ISCRO introduced on an experimental basis less onerous should be evaluated. . Furthermore, active policies for professional training and retraining must also be aimed at professional self-employment “.
“In the light of the post-emergency – concludes Fioroni – it is then essential to facilitate access to and guarantee credit while for welfare, supplementary social security and health coverage should be promoted with respect to those offered by the public system and measures for work-life balance” .