In the last few decades labour culture and organisation have repeatedly changed. Alterations in Italian population patterns have contributed to change in labour. Longer life, a drop in birth-rate, and transformation from a country of emigration to a country of immigration are all facts that-together with other events, such as technological innovation-help explain labour changes in Italy. Furthermore, the technological change brought about by the new economy has revolutionised the very concept of work: flexibility and mobility are the cornerstones of the new system while a worker's adjustment to new technology and lifelong education are essential features of the new labour market.
Flexibility and mobility are all the more required in recent times as financial turmoil and rising pressure on banks and credit conditions have adversely affected economic prospects. A mild crisis started in the United States in the summer of 2007 and then grew stronger in autumn 2008. It then reached Europe and the rest of the world, hitting Italy, hard and directly, more or less at the same time. To overcome this crisis a communal effort is needed: attention should be given to the fundamental goals of social cohesion and preservation of our industrial base, as well as support to households and more powerful tools to help them.