Still a Working Title?

Open competitive examinations for recruitment

Michele Borzoni

Workforce is an ambitious documentary project that attempts to draw a composite picture of Italy’s current labour landscape, in the framework of the recent global economic recession.

It is articulated in nine chapters, often distant - not only geographically - but sometimes intertwined: Logistic Centres, Open Competitive Examinations, Bankruptcy Auctions, Call Centres, Industry 4.0, Migrant Agricultural Workers, Trade Union Pickets, Chinese Textile Industry and Workers’ Buyouts.

Open competitive examination is one of the nine chapters of the Workforce project.

The project features different stories ranging from the evidence of the scars of the crisis to the impact of globalisation; from technological innovation to migration; from failures to rebirths.

Whilst these works focus on Italy, these stories are very much recognisable in other parts of the globalised world. Michele Borzoni presents his country as a case study that illustrates not only the effects of the economic crisis on the labour system, but also the impact of longer processes, such as the technological revolution, globalisation and migration. These include the increasing job insecurity which many citizens face, the deterioration of the old manufacturing sector, the rise of logistics services, automation, the first winning local productions and the impact of intense migratory flows from developing countries.

As is the case in many countries worldwide, entry into the civil service in Italy is based on open competitive examinations, a particularly heavy bureaucratic procedure. Aspiring policemen, nurses or teachers are purposely recruited for a life-long career and contracts in the public sector, allowing them to benefit from the highest protection available on the job market. With the current unemployment rate at 11.9%, a permanent job in the civil service still represents a dream for many.

About the artist:

Michele Borzoni was born in 1979 in Florence, Italy. He graduated in 2006 at the International Centre of Photography in the Documentary Photography and Photojournalism Program in New York. In 2006 he attended the Eddie Adams Workshop, Barnstorm XIX.

Since 2006, he has been working with Italian and international magazines (amongst others Time, International Herald Tribune, Newsweek, M Magazine, Vanity Fair and Elle). He is one of the founders of the collective TerraProject Photographers, with whom he has been working since 2006.

In 2010 he received the First Prize in the People in News Singles category of the World Press Photo Award and in 2012 he was selected by Photo District News as one of the PDN ‘30 new and emerging photographers to watch’.

Open competitive examination for recruitment of 40 official historians at the Ministry of Heritage and Cultural activities. 1,550 people applied for the exam which took place in the new Fiera di Roma.

Open competitive examination for recruitment of 14 police officers in the municipality of Milan. More than 10,000 people applied for the exam which took place in the Mediolanum Forum of Milano.

Open competitive examination for recruitment of 860 non-commissioned military officers. 7,672 people applied for the examination which took place in the recruitment centre of the Italian army in Foligno.

Open competitive examination for the recruitment of 12 teachers for the kindergarten in the municipality of Florence. 2,813 people applied for the exam which took place in the Obi Hall in Florence.

Open competitive examination to recruit 84 members of staff for the Italian Air Force. There were 3,387 candidates at the pre-selection test, which was held in the airport hangar.

Open competitive examination for recruitment of one nurse in the hospital of Cremona. 1,099 people applied for the exam which took place in the indoor stadium of Cremona.

Open competitive examination for recruitment of 48 administrative officials in the Municipality of Florence. 3,981 people applied for the position which took place in a sports hall in Florence.