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How useful is Austria's new AI tool for foreign job-seekers?

Amanda Previdelli
Amanda Previdelli - [email protected]
How useful is Austria's new AI tool for foreign job-seekers?
(Photo by Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP)

Austria's employment agency launched a new (multilingual) tool to help people seeking information on jobs and working in the country. But how good is the chatbot?


The Austrian Employment Service (AMS) has launched a new tool for those looking for job information in the country. The "Berufsinfomaten" is a chatbot based on ChatGPT, the artificial intelligence tool that dominated headlines worldwide.

It aims to answer your questions about job profiles, training opportunities, salary levels, further training and similar job-related topics quickly and efficiently, according to the official site.

But how helpful is Austria's 'jobs ChatGPT'?

The tool cannot replace human-made content or a personal consultation, but it does help get quick answers, AMS argue.

Kopf expects the bot to make the advisory process easier. Research is done with just one click, allowing advisors to spend more time on personal advice.

The Berufsinfomaten has no access to personal data such as customer data and ignores personal details if customers provide them during use. According to the AMS, the "Berufsinfomat" only uses publicly available data.

We tried it out, asking it (in English) questions we often get from our readers. We quickly learnt that you will get broad answers if you ask broad questions. For example, asking it how to get a job as a third-country national gives us answers such as "programs and models for obtaining a work permit are highly individual", and the tool then tells us to go to our "local AMS branch". 

READ ALSO: Red-White-Red: How Austria is simplifying work permits for non-Europeans

We took the opportunity to ask if our local AMS branch would help us in English. The answer was "Yes, the Austrian Employment Service (AMS) can assist in English. The AMS offers various services for job seekers, including those who are not fluent in German. 

"It is advisable to contact your local AMS branch to inquire about the availability of services in English and to receive personalised support for your job search and employment needs in Austria."

Anyone who has dealt with the AMS before their fluency in the local language knows that the emphasis here is on "inquire about the availability of services in English".

Austria's new AI tool for job-seekers. (screenshot Berufsinfomaten)

Things got a bit more fun once we went more specific, asking it how to get a job as a medical doctor in Austria as a non-EU citizen. It again gave us a very general reply, "You will need to go through the process of obtaining a work permit", and told us to reach out to AMS offices. This time, though, it also asked us a follow-up question: "Have you already completed medical training, or are you still in training?" to which we replied, "Yes". 

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

It then introduced us to the Austrian Medical Chamber, which would help a doctor with medical training get their qualifications recognised in Austria. Points for that, because it does help anyone who really is just starting out with their search. The downside, though, was that for some reason, it was unable to give us the Chamber's official website, instead giving us an address, phone, fax (!) and simply stating: "website:" (yes, it left that part blank). When pressed on it, it basically told us how to Google for a website. 

The bot is also really good at giving general advice, which some might find helpful, but some might think it's too obvious. When asked how to get a job as a seasonal tourism worker, it has a very ChatGPT-style reply mentioning things like "research job opportunities" and "keep an eye out for seasonal job fairs". 

It always ends up telling you to "seek personalised advice from the Austrian Employment Service (AMS)".

READ ALSO: What will the job market in Vienna look like in 2024?


Biased responses

The tool has also already received criticism not unlike those Chat GPT itself received: namely, it is biased. Extremely biased.

If you ask it to suggest a career path for a 34-year-old woman, for example, the first recommendation is jobs in the nursing sector. When prompted for career recommendations for a 34-year-old mand, however, the bot starts by recommending IT jobs. 


How safe is the tool?

It uses ChatGPT technology - not the latest one, though, according to some queries made by IT professionals. It's safe as it won't share private information even if you feed it with your data (but it asks you not to enter any personal information). 

However, it warns that "due to the use of AI, an error-free answer is not guaranteed".

Additionally, as it made its debut, software developers have experimented to see how protected the interface is, with one person exposing on X how he was able to enter the code to get free GPT-4 access. He explained: "If you integrate ChatGPT into your own site, you have to pay for it. That's why access is usually secured. This has not been done here".


What is the verdict?

The unsecured access doesn't have significant consequences for individual users, so the chat is safe. It's also good for quick and (very) general answers in any language. 

However, the constant refusal to give more specific answers (even about visas and permits) is annoying, to say the least. After every superficial reply, the bot will tell you to reach out to the Austrian Embassy or Consulate or to find your local AMS branch or give you sources of information in German. 


READ ALSO: Five reasons not to trust ChatGPT about Austrian politics

It's an excellent source for general information ("How do I become a YouTuber in Austria?" or "What training do I need to become an elderly care worker?") and to start your research, especially if you are already in Austria. But it won't be enough for more detailed or specific information.


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