I have translated employee into Italian. I have found two translations. What is the difference between "dipendente m" or "impiegato m"?

1) Peter is an employee of Nestle.
2) Microsoft has more than 50'000 employees worlwide.

Thank you.

3 Answers 3


NOTE: I looked in various dictionaries and I cannot find a definition that shows a clear difference. What follows is simply my understanding of it.

The word dipendente is pretty much a synonymous of employee: someone who is employed by someone else to do a job (usually, but not necessarily, a long term job). The word impiegato is used to mean an employee that works in an office, similar to what you might call in English office-worker.

I should add that the word dipendente has a second, less common, meaning as dependant, that is a person whose livelihood depends on someone else (e.g. children or elderly relatives). This is rarely used outside of legal writing though.

  • 3
    Another good definition is that an impiegato is someone who has a low-end white-collar job. Oct 14, 2016 at 9:59

This is an old question, but I want to explain my point of view:

The difference, in Italian language, between two words exists, infact:

Dipendente Is a person has a job in the enterprise and have a contract as

  • fixed-term contract
  • permanent contract

Impiegato Indicates a job title (in italian qualifica)

If you image a set theory to explain this, you can use a set about dipendente term and in this set you have a subset represented by impiegato, another by operaio (worker), quadro and so on.

  • I can sort of see where your view comes from, but how would it be consistent with a standard dictionary definition such as “Persona che svolge continuativamente la propria attività professionale, esclusa la prestazione di semplice mano d’opera, alle dipendenze altrui, dietro pagamento di una retribuzione” (Treccani)?
    – DaG
    Nov 21, 2016 at 18:42
  • @DaG: you refer on term "impiegato". In this defintion you have "esclusa la prestazione di semplice mano d'opera", but a "dipendente" can be employeed on "prestazione di semplice mano d'opera" if he is an "operaio" (worker)
    – Joe Taras
    Nov 22, 2016 at 9:02
  • I agree, it is a subset, but I am not sure about the “job title” definition, but rather on a kind of work (office as opposed to office, factory and everything else).
    – DaG
    Nov 22, 2016 at 11:00
  • @DaG: Is it possible I've translated "job title" in wrong way. The correct term is italian Qualifica (may be it must be translated with other english term?)
    – Joe Taras
    Nov 22, 2016 at 11:03
  • Passiamo un attimo all'italiano. Intendi quella che qui è l'accezione 2.b, no? quello che dici mi sembra un po' troppo riduttivo rispetto all'uso comune della parola “impiegato”, ma magari è corretto rispetto al diritto del lavoro, non ne so abbastanza.
    – DaG
    Nov 22, 2016 at 11:08

"Impiegato" is a role , usually an office worker.

"Dipendente" is a subordinate worker

A "impiegato" is a particular "dipendente".

  • 2
    This answer is a bit poor, and does not add much to what has already been answered. Would you try to make it better?
    – user525
    Nov 22, 2016 at 9:35
  • I was just trying to give a short and simple answer. Nov 22, 2016 at 11:43

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