Dirigente, quadro, impiegato, operaio: how to translate these Italian job titles?

Translating a job title is not always an easy task because very often job titles reflect country-specific wordings and sometimes even job-related laws. In Anglo-Saxon countries, for example, there are no laws or regulations that identify and regulate professional category levels such as Italy’s dirigente, quadro, impiegato and operaio, which were legally identified and regulated by Italian work contracts in 1985. Said law is Italian, hence there is no simple and direct translation of these categories in other languages. However it is worth pointing out that these are professional category levels, not specific job titles. There are no similar laws in Anglo-Saxon countries on professional category levels. Let’s start with describing what tasks these professionals carry out.

Jam-makers beware!

A dirigente forms part of the management (or upper management) of a company. Wikipedia refers to this word as a synonym of manager, but CV-in-inglese.it finds that this professional category is more in line with directors, managing directors, CEOs, CFOs, CTOs, Heads of… etc. and in general with those who sit on a company board. A manager can be part of the upper management and therefore be a dirigente, but it is rather uncommon.

A quadro carries out managerial tasks and reports into a dirigente. He / she has a significant degree of autonomy and is directly responsible for the tasks, projects and staff (if any) he / she is assigned with. Funzionari normally are on the upper side of this professional category. All managers in general belong to this professional category: finance managers, operations managers, marketing managers, shop managers, events managers, site managers, etc.

An impiegato or impiegata reports into a quadro (or into a dirigente when employed by SME) and carried out office-related tasks and projects: PA, marketing, bookkeeping, etc. For this professional category, again, there is no direct translation but the job title is normally translated with a short description of the tasks the person effectively carries out: PA (Personal Assisant), PR assistant or executive, book-keeper, office manager, customer service officer and so on.

An operaio (or operaia) carries out manual work, often in a factory, and reports directly into a dirigente or quadro. In English this professional category is mostly translated as factory worker, but the Italian connotation also includes other manual workers such as builders, gardeners, shop assistants, cleaners, etc.

When applying for a job abroad, a good CV in a foreign language should include job titles that highlight as best as possible the role held and the tasks involved. It is advisable to use a specific job title rather than a country-specific professional category which may be unknown abroad.

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