Austria: Bankruptcies fall despite coronavirus pandemic

There was a 38 percent decrease in corporate bankruptcies in 2020 throughout Austria, but there are worrying signs on the horizon.

Austria: Bankruptcies fall despite coronavirus pandemic
Picture of Euro notes ADRIAN DENNIS / AFP

The decrease is believed to be due to laws which mean companies have not had to report insolvencies since 1 March 2020 and financial aid during the corona pandemic.

And while 1,144 bankruptcies were recorded in the first quarter of the year, there were only 538 in the last three months of 2020. 

Wiener Zeitung reports the highest numbers of corporate insolvencies were in the financial services and services sector (667).

This was followed by construction (665), retail (563) and accommodation and catering (484).

There were comparatively few bankruptcies in the areas of information and communication (105), personal services (168) and manufacturing (194), a similar picture to 2019. 


Zombie attack

The paper reports the association for the protection of creditors has repeatedly warned of “zombie companies”, or companies which have gone bankrupt, no longer have any assets and can only be kept alive with government funds.

If the aid runs out, a wave of bankruptcies will set in that will extend into 2022, it is said. 

Tourism, gastronomy, the event industry and fitness centers have been faced with a massive drop in sales since the corona pandemic began last year. 

Wiener Zeitung also reports the number of personal bankruptcies in Austria fell by a quarter in 2020, to 7,300, while for the first time spending too much, rather than self-employment, has become the most common reason given for personal bankruptcy.

By July 17, Austria has to implement an EU directive which, among other things, provides for a reduction in the debt relief period for “honest entrepreneurs” from five to three years. It is up to the states whether they also allow this to apply to private debtors.

The state debt counselling organisation ASB is very much in favour of the reduction of the debt relief period being extended to private debtors, managing director Klemens Mitterlehner told Wiener Zeitung.

He said women were more often private debtors or guarantors of entrepreneurs, and unless the rule was applied to these categories, men would be more likely to get a three year period of bankruptcy, while women faced five years.  

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EXPLAINED: How to find a summer job in Austria?

Though Austria is mainly known for its winter resorts, there is no shortage of possibilities for those looking for seasonal jobs in summer.

EXPLAINED: How to find a summer job in Austria?

Summer is coming up, and those few hot months are a perfect opportunity for many people to get a seasonal job and earn some extra cash.

Austria’s economy is heavily based on tourism. But even though the winter resorts and sports are what the alpine country is most well-known for, the summer months are also hectic in the tourism and gastronomy sectors.

The demand for seasonal workers usually is high but has increased even more in the last few years. According to the Austrian employment agency AMS, there are more than 15,000 open positions in gastronomy and tourism still lacking workers.

The pandemic widened the gap, as the sector was hardly hit by lockdowns and changes in consumer behaviour. With coronavirus restrictions, the field lost some of its attraction. It is still having trouble finding new labour, AMS boss Johannes Kopf told broadcaster ORF.

A summer without coronavirus restrictions

However, for the first time since the pandemic started, Austria will see a summer with almost no coronavirus restrictions.

The country has recently dropped its 3G rule for entry for travellers, meaning that tourists (and residents) no longer have to show proof that they were vaccinated against Covid-19, recently recovered from the disease or tested negative.

The expectation is high that this will boost tourism, especially as the 3G rules and the mask mandate also fell in most indoor areas.

READ MORE: LATEST: What are Austria’s current Covid-19 rules?

Last year, even with some restrictions still in place, the sector saw a recovery compared to 2020 but was still not at pre-pandemic levels, according to Statistik Austria.

Still, the May to October season had more than 66 million overnight stays, with almost half of them (42.7 per cent) coming from Germany.

From imperial cities to lakes and mountains, Austria has no shortage of offers during summer. As travelling resumes, the sector is desperately looking for workers.

vienna, pratter

Vienna is big touristic destination also during summer months (Photo by Anton on Unsplash)

Where can I find summer jobs in Austria?

The capital is undoubtedly where most visitors come, according to Statistik Austria. However, it is also where many establishments have a year-round crew, and seasonal work might not be as easy to find.

It is far from impossible, though, and it is worth the search if you have your eyes set on Vienna.

READ ALSO: One day in Vienna: How to spend 24 hours in the Austrian capital

However, other major Austrian cities also have openings, most notably the touristic towns of and around Innsbruck and Salzburg. Of course, the mountainous region of Austria might be most famous for its ski slopes. Still, they also offer breathtaking summer views, cool and beautiful alpine lakes, and numerous hiking trails.

Plus excellent hotels for people to stay in and great Austrian restaurants – all looking for employees.

What types of jobs are available?

There are many job openings to skim through, but most will be the most traditional service work in tourism and gastronomy: waitressing, housekeeping, cooking, and reception.

If you look outside of Vienna, several professions in the tourism and gastronomy sector are included in Austria’s list of shortage occupations.

READ ALSO: How Austria is making it easier for non-EU workers to get residence permits

Those include some surprising ones like department store sales clerks, waiters and waitresses, masseuses, and others. If you don’t have a right to work in Austria (non-EU citizens without a work permit, for example), being skilled in a shortage occupation makes it easier to be hired and get a residence permit.

Most of these jobs will require a certain level of German, especially since Germans are an overwhelming part of tourists entering Austria. However, the high demand for workers might help those who do not speak the language yet, especially for positions that don’t require much customer interaction.

READ ALSO: Austria: Six German expressions to entice your Wanderlust

Another popular job for summer is instructor, or caretaker, in summer camps. As many of them are bilingual or in English, German is not usually a mandatory language – there are also positions for English teachers, especially in camps and schools with summer courses.

Where can I find these jobs?

As with most industries and professions, searching online is usually the first step in finding a summer job in Austria.

Outside of known employment platforms such as Glassdoor and LinkedIn, Austria’s might be a good place to look.

READ ALSO: Six official websites to know if you’re planning to work in Austria

Hogastjob is also a local platform with plenty of seasonal offers in Austria, Germany and Italy (South Tyrol region).

Another approach is to contact resorts or hotels directly to find out when they are hiring for the summer season and the types of roles that will be available – they should also have a job vacancies page on official websites that you can check.

Or get in touch with friends that have previously worked in the summer season in Austria and ask for a recommendation.