Even as Italy is facing high unemployment and a worsening economy, pizzerias are struggling to find locals to make the nation’s signature dish. A report from an Italian business federation cites pizza makers’ long hours and humble pay as the main deterrent; immigrants are stepping up to take the jobs instead.
According to the Telegraph, in the absence of Italian candidates, Egyptians have become the most prolific pizzaioli. “We are good at it because we are prepared to work hard,” an Egyptian pizzeria-owner said. “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.” The head of the Italian School for Pizza Makers also praised the new pizza-makers, saying that “not everyone can [make a good pizza], but the Egyptians can.”
One Italian pizzeria-owner explained that Italians’ ”mindset is that being a pizza-maker is humiliating,” especially among young people, who would rather lead more lavish, fashionable lifestyles. “They are not prepared to work for it,” he added.
Italian unemployment is currently at about 12 percent, with youth unemployment at 35 percent.