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.
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.
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.
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.