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WORKING IN AUSTRIA

LATEST: What is the job market in Austria like right now?

Austria has seen unemployment fall as job vacancies reach an all-time high record. So, what is the job market looking like right now in the country?

LATEST: What is the job market in Austria like right now?
Photo by Ernie Journeys on Unsplash

In the second quarter of 2022, according to Statistics Austria, a total of 4,438,900 persons aged 15 and over were employed, while 197,900 were unemployed. There were 206,300 job vacancies, another all-time high record in the country.

“The upswing in the domestic labour market continues and is not yet affected by the Ukraine war and its consequences for the global economy. Nevertheless, the labour market is facing great challenges: At 206,300, the number of job vacancies in the second quarter once again reached a record level, exceeding the number of job seekers for the first time”, said Statistics Austria Director General Tobias Thomas.

“This is a clear signal of the increasing shortage of skilled workers and labour”, he added.

READ ALSO: ‘We need immigration’: Austrian minister insists foreign workers are the only solution

Currently, the Alpine country has an employment rate of 74.1 percent among people between the ages of 15 to 64. The employment rate is higher for men (78.2 percent) than women (69.9 percent).

Job vacancies at new high

Since the second quarter of 2021, when unemployment was still high due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the labour market has recovered steadily, Statistics Austria said. In the first three months of 2022, there were 33 percent fewer unemployed than in the same period the year before.

At the same time, the number of job vacancies in Austria reached its highest level since the beginning of the time series in 2009, with a total of 206,300 vacancies.

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

Compared to the previous year’s quarter, an increase of 48.9 percent was recorded and even compared to the pre-crisis level (the first three months of 2019), there were 59.8 percent more vacancies advertised.

Where are these jobs?

All economic sectors covered by the job vacancy survey (manufacturing, services and public sector) recorded significantly more job vacancies in the second quarter of 2022, both compared to the same quarter of the previous year and compared to the pre-crisis level.

In the manufacturing sector, there were 52,400 vacancies, in the services sector, 124,800 and in the public sector, 29,100.

Screenshot from STATatlas

There is a stark difference in employment rates between the different states in Austria, as well. For example, the lowest rate is by far in Vienna, with 66.2 percent. The average in the country, in comparison, is 72.4 percent.

The highest employment rates are in Upper Austria (73.3 percent), Vorarlberg (76.2 percent), and Salzburg (75.5 percent). The lowest are Vienna (66.2 percent), Carinthia (70.7 percent) and Burgenland (71.8 percent).

Lower Austria’s employment rate is 73.9 percent, Styria’s is 72.9 percent, and Tyrol’s is 74.1 percent.

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

Work from home schemes still in decline

In the second quarter of 2022, only 15.5 percent of those in employment still worked from home at the time of the survey. This corresponds to a decline of 4.4 percentage points compared to the same quarter of the previous year.

Additionally, only 4.5 percent stated that they were working from home because of the pandemic.

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WORKING IN AUSTRIA

EXPLAINED: How to register as self-employed in Austria

Working as a freelancer in Austria is an attractive prospect for international residents. But the process might not be as easy as back home. Here’s what you need to know.

EXPLAINED: How to register as self-employed in Austria

Anyone that has set up a business as a freelancer in Austria will know how confusing it can be. Especially if they are from countries like the UK and US where starting a business as a sole trader is fairly easy.

In Austria though, there are several steps to registering as self-employed, with limited information in English on how to navigate the process. 

So to help foreigners in Austria get started, we spoke to Vienna-based business consultant Miglena Hofer to break down the steps when registering as self-employed.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: What can I deduct from my tax bill in Austria?

Obtain a business licence (or not)

The first step to becoming self-employed in Austria is finding out if you need a business licence.

Sounds simple enough, right? But for those without strong German language skills, it can quickly become tricky.

Miglena Hofer told The Local: “There is a lack of information about the process in English, especially explanatory information. 

“In Austria there are also different types of self-employed people. The two main types are business owner and operator, and the new self-employed [such as writers, photographers].” 

“Almost everything requires a business licence in Austria. Even if you only intend to cover costs with your work, it still counts as a business.”

READ NEXT: ‘Brutal’: What it’s really like to learn German in Austria

The Ministry of Labour and Economics has a list of regulated trades that need a business licence in Austria (only available in German). Professions include electrician, hairdresser, florist and masseuse. 

If you do need a business licence, an application has to be submitted by the first day you plan to start working in your business. 

To apply for a licence, visit the Gewerbe­informations­system Austria (Business Information System Austria). This website has the option to translate the information into English.

Any professions that don’t require a business licence, like journalists, artists and teachers, are classed as new self-employed (Neu Selbständige) and can move on to the next steps.

Notify the tax office 

This involves filling in the form Verf24 and sending it to the tax office (Finanzamt) to inform them that you are self-employed. There is a deadline of four weeks after you have started operating for this part of the process.

You also have to make an appointment at the WKÖ (Austrian Economic Chamber) and become a member. This involves paying an annual fee (which varies depending on the type of business) and in some places, like in the Alps, you might have to pay a tourist tax.

However, finding information or help in English at this stage can be difficult, and business consultant Miglena advises anyone struggling to reach out for help.

FOR MEMBERS: Digital nomad visas: How does Austria compare with other countries?

She said: “Many Austrians refuse to give advice in English, which is a curious thing. This applies to all kinds of professional services, but it’s important that we are understood.

“I don’t want people to be afraid. I want to make starting a business in Austria easy. Once you know how to do it, it’s fine. But it’s easy to feel lost and be overwhelmed by legal German words.”

Set up social insurance

The final stage in the process is to register with SVS – the social insurance fund for self-employed people in Austria.

It is mandatory for everyone living in Austria to have social insurance (or comprehensive private health insurance). It gives people access to public health care and includes pension contributions.

Registering with SVS has to take place within four weeks from the date of starting a business. You will then receive an e-card (if you don’t already have one) and start paying social insurance bills on a quarterly basis.

The good news about SVS payments though is that they are tax deductible, so don’t forget to include them in your bookkeeping.

Useful vocabulary

Business registration – Gewerbeanmeldung

Business licence – Gewerbeschein

New self-employed – Neu Selbständige

Social insurance – Sozialversicherung

Tax – Steuer

Tax office – Finanzamt

Useful links

Austrian tax office

Business Information System Austria (GISA)

Social insurance

Self-employed in Austria

Ministry of Labour and Economy

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