AN Italian supermarket chain is offering customers who spend more than 30 euros (S$47.75) a shot at a lottery with an unusual payoff: jobs.
"Our competition is open to everyone, of any age or social class," said Alessandra Aloisi, human resources manager at Gruppo BSE, which controls three One Price supermarkets in the Rome area. "Some participants are even asking if they can pass the prize, that is the job, on to a relative or friend," she said.
The chain is awarding part-time, temporary shop-assistant positions to winners of the lottery. Anyone spending more than 30 euros at one of their stores can enter the draw.
Italy's economy is mired in its fourth recession since 2001, and a double-digit joblessness rate is harming domestic demand.
The unemployment rate rose to a 13-year high of 11.1 per cent in October, the National Statistics Institute said yesterday.
"Some companies invest in other prize competitions, like free-holiday contests," Ms Aloisi said. "We think it's more ethical to offer a job opportunity, even a temporary one."
The four-hour-a-day jobs that One Price will award to 12 contest winners come with monthly gross pay of 1,100 euros.
Italy's recession will probably extend till much of next year and the jobless rate will rise to 11.4 next year, the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) forecast in November.
"It is important to consider the very difficult labour conditions we have at present," said Salvatore Zecchini, an economist at Tor Vergata University in Rome. The lottery, which runs till Dec 30, is "an indicator of the tensions and difficulties of finding employment". - Bloomberg