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WORKING IN AUSTRIA

Jobs in Austria: What types of jobs are in demand and where?

Austria has hit its lowest unemployment rate in years. There are still thousands of open positions, and demand is high for workers in the country. Here's what you need to know.

Jobs in Austria: What types of jobs are in demand and where?
A passenger arrives to board the first Nightjet train between Vienna and Paris at the Central Station in Vienna, Austria on December 13, 2021. The tourism sector was particularly affected by the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the war and Ukraine, rising inflation and supply bottlenecks, Austrians had one piece of particularly good news in the last few days: the unemployment rate reached a record low, according to Public Employment Service Austria (AMS).

In May, the unemployment rate was at 5.7 per cent, the lowest rate in 14 years and 20.6 per cent lower than in May 2021. At the same time, though, there was a record of open positions, according to the employment agency.

By the end of the month, more than 138,000 vacancies were registered as immediately available with AMS.

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

The job monitor of the ÖVP-Wirtschaftsbund, which evaluates all online job advertisements in Austria, currently counts more than 281,000 vacancies – the difference is due to the fact that not every employer registers a position with the AMS.

Moreover, some posts are only advertised with the Austrian authority after weeks or months on other platforms.

But where are these jobs?

Upper Austria has the most open positions

Upper Austria, the northern state bordering Germany and the Czech Republic, is where most of the vacancies are, according to data from AMS.

Just about 23 per cent of all open positions are in the state, and the number of vacancies increased by 51.4 per cent compared to the year before.

Lower Austria has 15.6 per cent of the vacancies, followed by Styria (14.5 per cent) and Vienna (14.4 per cent).

Burgenland, Austria’s least populous state, has just about 2 per cent of the open positions, according to AMS data.

Tyrol is the state where the number of vacancies has grown the most, 77.2 per cent compared to the same period in 2021.

Which sectors need more people?

One-third of the vacancies in Austria are in the industrial and commercial sectors, according to the employment agency.

Services, including gastronomy and hospitality, have a high demand for workers and are also the sector where demand increased the most after the pandemic – the increase was 71.1 per cent.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How to find a summer job in Austria?

According to the ÖVP-Wirtschaftsbund data, about 15 per cent of job vacancies in Austria are in the tourism sector. Travel and services have certainly taken a hit during the pandemic years, especially in countries heavily dependent on it, such as Austria.

Austrian workers’ associations have been warning of impending chaos in the sector, especially as the tourist and summer seasons approach.

“The summer season is just around the corner, and tourism companies will not find workers,” the head of Wirtschaftsbund Kurt Egger told Die Presse. The association proposes double the quotas for tourism seasonal workers from outside the EU to 4000 as an immediate measure.

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

The federal government has also announced a comprehensive reform in its residence permits and work visas to attract more workers into shortage occupations and make it easier for high-skilled professionals to immigrate to Austria.

However, the changes are not simple, and new systems could take months to implement.

Who are the unemployed in Austria?

Though the unemployment rate is low, more than 235,000 people are registered as unemployed with the AMS. However, the number is 80 per cent lower than the year before.

Most are men (53.9 per cent) and Austrians (65.1 per cent). They are also young, with 56 per cent between the ages of 25 to 49.

Austria has broad support systems for its unemployed, with monthly payments, assistance with job seeking and free courses for those looking for jobs.

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WORKING IN AUSTRIA

What are the rules on working overtime in Austria?

There comes a time in many people’s working life when overtime is required (or even welcomed). But what are the rules in Austria?

What are the rules on working overtime in Austria?

Working overtime (Überstunden) usually means earning extra money – but it also requires more work and less time for your private life.

Plus, whereas some people might jump at the chance to boost their income, others might not have the capacity to take on more work due to family commitments, or even poor health.

READ ALSO: Reader question: How can foreign doctors practise medicine in Austria?

So what happens if your employer asks you to work overtime in Austria?

Here’s what you need to know.

What are regular working hours in Austria?

Regular working hours are set by the Working Time Act (Arbeitszeitgesetz), which applies to most private-sector employees in Austria over the age of 18.

The law states that regular working hours are eight hours within a 24-hour period, or a 40-hour week.

However, this is not set in stone as working hours can be adjusted by collective agreements or negotiations with an employer. 

This means a working week can be reduced to 38 hours, for example, or a working day increased to 10 hours to allow for a four-day work week or flexible working.

Likewise, shift work has different rules and staff can work up to 12 hours during one shift without stepping into overtime territory.

FOR MEMBERS: Will a 4-day week and free German lessons help Vienna’s transport network find staff?

What is considered as overtime?

If someone has a job with regular working hours of eight hours a day or 40 hours a week, then overtime starts when they go over those hours. But only if there are no previously agreed exceptions in place.

Furthermore, employees can only be expected to work overtime if it does not create a conflict with their other responsibilities, such as child care or health care.

For anyone that does work overtime, they should be paid at a rate of 1.5 times their usual pay.

For part time (Teilzeit) staff with a set number of contracted hours (e.g. 25 hours), the pay for overtime is 1.25 the usual rate. This is known as “extra work” (Mehrarbeit).

READ MORE: How Austrian employers use private detectives to check if workers are sick

What are the rules for working overtime in Austria?

According to the employment law in Austria, staff can work up to 20 hours per week in overtime. This means up to 12 hours a day and up to 60 hours a week.

But any request by an employer to work overtime can be refused if it would result in working more than 10 hours per day or 50 hours a week. An employee does not have to give a reason for turning down overtime.

It’s also worth noting that conditions around overtime can vary depending on an employment contract or collective agreement, so always check the rules in your workplace before agreeing to (or declining) overtime work.

Vocabulary

Overtime – Überstunden

Extra work – Mehrarbeit

Full time – Vollzeit

Part time – Teilzeit

Flexible working – Gleitzeit

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