What's Up in Pizza: Italy Suffering Shortage of 6,000 Pizzaioli

[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

If you've ever fantasized about picking up and moving to Italy for a new career in pizza-making, now may be your golden opportunity. According to the Italian business organization FIPE, the country is in serious need of experienced pizzaioli.

This isn't to say that jobs in the sector aren't being filled, but rather that increasingly fewer Italians are taking on the crucial role of training new employees, let alone making pies themselves. Outlets like NBC and Time report that the nation's pizzerias, which number at approximately 25,000, are short roughly 6,000 pizzaioli. The demand has lead to a large number of less skilled individuals being placed in positions that have traditionally demanded years of tutelage.

Explanations for the deficit vary widely. Some claim that Italians are simply disinterested in the long hours and low pay; others argue that immigrants, willing or forced to work for less money, have swept up most of the jobs. It's not an uncommon story in Western Europe, particularly in the face of economic crisis. Whether the issue will see its resolution in a growing class of non-Italian pizzaioli or a re-entry of Italian citizens into the industry remains to be seen.