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.

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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.

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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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EXPLAINED: When can I get a day off work in Austria?

It’s important to know your employment rights when working in another country. Here’s what you need to know about taking a day off work in Austria.

EXPLAINED: When can I get a day off work in Austria?

Austria is known for having a good work/life balance and for prioritising time off for rest. 

So it comes as no surprise that holiday entitlement is quite generous in the Alpine Republic and that workers enjoy a high number of public holidays every year.

But there are some rules to be aware of when it comes to taking time off work, as well as some special circumstances that international residents might not know.

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Taking a holiday (Urlaub)

Holiday entitlement for workers in Austria is enshrined in employment law which states full time workers (those working five days a week) can take a minimum of 25 days holiday every year – the equivalent of five working weeks.

The amount of leave a person can take for holidays then varies depending on how much they work.

Four days a week = 20 days of holiday per year.

Three days a week = 15 days holiday.

Two days a week = 10 days holiday.

One day a week = five days holiday.

READ ALSO: Nine things you need to know when relocating to Vienna

After 25 years of full time work with the same employer, workers then gain an extra five days of holiday every year, increasing the annual leave to six working weeks.

In most cases, employer consent is needed to take holidays, so always speak to a boss before booking a holiday. 

But keep in mind that full annual holiday entitlement only kicks in after six months with an employer. Until then, employees gain two holiday days for every month worked.

Public holidays in Austria

Austria is considered as one of the leading countries when it comes to national public holidays with 13 every year, or up to 15 in some states.

But what happens if a public holiday falls on a weekend?

Saturday is technically not a rest day (unlike Sunday), so people who usually work on Saturdays will have the day off (or get double pay for working on a holiday), and most shops and supermarkets will close.

READ MORE: Reader question: What happens in Austria when a holiday falls on a weekend?

However, when a holiday falls on a Sunday, very little changes because Sundays and public holidays are regulated by the same laws. In both cases, stores and shops will be closed, and people who need to work will receive double pay on their basic hourly wage. 

Unfortunately, for non-essential workers (those who usually work Monday to Friday), if a public holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday it is technically “lost”, and not replaced on another day.

For many international residents in Austria this can be surprising with countries including Belgium, England, Spain, and Thailand all compensating workers with a day off during the week if a public holiday falls on a weekend.

So far, there has been no discussion about changing the rules in Austria, so weekend public holidays are destined to be “lost” for the foreseeable future.

Sick leave

In some countries it’s possible to call in sick for a few days without having a doctor’s note and still get paid.

Unfortunately, Austria is not one of those countries and employees need to present a written letter from a doctor to take time off sick or receive sick pay (Krankenstand). 

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However, there are some benefits to this – mostly if someone falls ill while on holiday.

In this case, holiday pay can be transferred to sick leave if a worker is unwell for more than three days while on vacation and has a doctor’s note to prove it.

This has been especially useful for some people during the Covid-19 pandemic who caught the virus while on holiday.

Family and childcare

Workers can take paid leave for up to one week (five days) to care for a sick relative if they live in the same household, also known as Pflegefreistellung.

Parents can also take paid childcare leave if their kids are sick. Generally, one week of childcare leave is permitted each year.

In both cases, paid leave can be extended up to two weeks in certain circumstances.

Special circumstances

In Austria, employees are entitled to Sonderurlaub, otherwise known as special leave.

This allows people to request between one and three days of paid leave for a specific event, such as a wedding, moving house or attending a funeral.

This type of leave is in addition to a person’s standard holiday entitlement and so won’t eat into a vacation allowance.

Useful links

Living and working in Austria

Work in Austria

Austrian Economic Chamber (WKO)