Two thirds of Italian employees earn less than 1,300 a month, with 35 per cent earning less than 1,000 a month.

This is what emerged from a research conducted by IRES (the national institute for social and economic research) and the Italian general confederation of unions (CGIL) based on a survey involving some 6,000 workers.

The survey also confirms that women are not paid as much as their male colleagues - nearly half of all female employees earn less than 1,000 monthly, compared to 27 per cent of men.

Only 16 per cent of all interviewees earn more than1,500 per month, according to the report.

Salary earnings are also strongly influenced by the type and size of the employer by as well as geographical location. In general, wages are lowest in southern Italy and in small-sized companies.

It is not surprising, therefore, that nearly 60 per cent declare that they struggle to make ends meet while 30 per cent are concerned about pension plans. Some 20 per cent of those interviewed confessed that they worry about losing their jobs.

A positive aspect that emerged from the survey is that 78 per cent of employees state that they enjoy the work they do.

On average, 24 per cent of workers in the 25 to 34 age group have had between three to five jobs before their present employment.