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The growth of independent professionals is a structural trend in the Italian labour
market, which continued also during the Great Recession. Difficult and
risky would be to forecast what will happen in this occupational area in the
incoming months, but a a comparison with previous crises can provide some
hints. In spite of the overall resilience of independent professionals’ employment
levels, those who are dependent on only one client were hit harder. They
are younger workers, often females, working in the sectors of traditional liberal
professions and, even more often, consultants, experts and freelance in the
social services, public or supported by public spending, and in the culture and
entertainment sectors. They usually have shorter seniority and, likely, limited
availability of accumulated resources. The analysis of the perceived risks of
losing one’s job seems to support the hypothesis of a greater weakness of this
worker profile when facing a crisis.