Labour market information

Print this page

Austria - National Level

Short overview of the labour market


There are 8 898 457 people living in Austria (as of 2019); based on the annual average for 2019, 3 797 304 were wage earners, 799 483 of whom were foreign employees, with 487 098 EU/EEA nationals including Swiss nationals.

In 2019, an average of 301 328 individuals (down by 10 779 compared with the previous year) were registered as unemployed with the Austrian Public Employment Service (Arbeitsmarktservice Österreich (AMS)). The unemployment rate for 2019 was 7.4% (national calculation method). According to the international definition, the unemployment rate for 2019 was 4.6%.

Based on the annual average for 2019, the unemployment rate for young people (up to 25 years old) was 6.3%, a 0.4% fall on the previous year. In the same period in Austria, unemployment among the older generation (50+) was at 10%, a 1.3% rise compared to the previous year.

Based on the annual average for 2019, a rise in the number of vacancies was registered, among others, in the following sectors: ‘information and communication’ (+5.9%), ‘professional, scientific and technical services’ (+4.2%), ‘water supply, sewerage and waste collection activities and elimination of environmental pollution’ (+3.9%), ‘construction’ (+3.8%), ‘arts, entertainment and recreation’ (+2.9%), ‘education’ (+2.7%), ‘real estate activities’ (+2.5%), ‘agriculture and forestry’ (+2.1%), ‘accommodation and food service activities’ (+1.9%), ‘goods-producing activities’ (+1.6%), ‘transportation and storage’ (+1.6%), ‘mining and quarrying’ (+1.2%), ‘wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles’ (+1%), ‘other economic services’ (+0.9%), ‘energy supply’ (+0.7%), ‘public administration, defence and compulsory social security’ (+0.6%) and ‘healthcare and social services’ (+0.5%). A drop in the number of vacancies was registered in the ‘other service activities’ sector (-0.1%).

A total of 12.6% of Austrian workers commute to another federal province, but only 0.8% of workers commute abroad.

At +1.2%, the real economic growth in economic performance will remain somewhat below the long-term trend growth in 2020.

Although companies will also increase their staffing levels in 2020, the growth in employment will not be great enough to make up for the additional labour pool.

An annual average increase in wage earners by 35 400 to 3 755 700, which is smaller compared to the previous year (+59 000), is therefore also to be expected in 2020. Unemployment will increase by an average of 2.7 percentage points compared with the previous year. The labour pool will increase by 43 700 people (+1.1%) to 4 066 300 on average over the year.

The number of workers required in the construction industry is expected to rise further. The number of workers required in the fields of tourism/food service and professional, scientific and technical services will likewise increase in the forecast period.

Slight job losses must be expected within the banking and insurance sector and in the field of energy supply.

There will be a slightly above-average increase in employment levels in 2020 in companies located in the federal provinces of Tyrol and Salzburg (+1%), but also in Upper Austria, Lower Austria and Vienna (+1%). The increase in the number of people employed by companies located in Carinthia (+0.7%) and Burgenland (+0.8%) will be below average.

In 2020, the increase in employment amongst women is mainly expected in the services sector; the increase in employment amongst men in the production sector is lower. Overall, the number of wage earners will grow more strongly amongst women (+1.5%) than amongst men (+0.9%).

Whereas the last few years have seen a significant decline in unemployment amongst women, that decline is expected to come to a standstill in 2020. A widening of unemployment amongst men is expected.

The structural change in the direction of services is causing a growth in part-time employment. Increased employment growth will in particular be seen in business areas and occupational groups with a high proportion of part-time workers. Part-time employment will continue to increase above all in ‘healthcare and social services’, ‘retailing’, ‘accommodation and food service activities’ and ‘education’.

A trend towards occupations with higher qualification requirements is also to be observed. This applies both to business areas in which occupations with high qualification requirements are already strongly represented and to sectors with relatively low qualification requirements for employees overall.

By 2023, unskilled work in the area of goods manufacturing will decrease by 0.2% per year whereas, due to the highly service-orientated economy in Austria as a whole, there will be a slight increase in unskilled work in the tertiary sector.

The recovery on the labour market in the last few years means that unemployment has dropped among workers of all educational levels, but more highly educated individuals must face a slight increase in their (relatively low) chance of unemployment in 2020.

The number of employees with compulsory schooling as their highest level of education continues to decline in 2020.

The number of employees with academic degrees (university, college, academy, university of applied sciences) will continue to grow (by an average of 2.7% per year).

The highest increase in the number of employees will take place in the services sector, followed by the production sector; in the primary sector, the level of employment will stay approximately the same.

The essential soft skills in almost all areas and sectors include social and personal skills such as strong communication, customer focus, flexibility, ability to handle stress, a willingness to learn and intercultural skills (working in international teams), as well as excellent knowledge of English and other languages.

In healthcare, familiarity with medical information systems is important, as is experience with quality management, project management, and health promotion and care. In addition to psychological expertise, the most important qualities required are the ability to cope with frustration and good communication skills.

For the electronics/electrical engineering, telecommunications, information technology and machine/automotive/metal sectors, expertise in operating systems, use of computer systems, business management, energy and process engineering, quality management, etc. are essential.

In the construction and timber sector, expertise in the areas of building renovation, waste management and waste disposal and specific IT skills are advantageous. For the office, business, financial and legal sectors, additional technical knowledge is beneficial, as are business management, SAP and e-business skills.

The largest employers with the most employees include Rewe International AG (retail of foodstuffs and pharmaceuticals, tourism), Strabag Societas Europa (construction), Spar AG (foodstuffs, sports and fashion goods), Voestalpine AG (metal), Trenkwalder Group AG (management consultancy and personnel placement), Raiffeisen Bank International AG, Erste Group Bank AG, ÖBB Holding AG (passenger and freight transport), Swarovski AG Gruppe (crystal), Novomatic (gambling), Wiener Krankenanstaltenverbund (healthcare), Porsche Holding GmbH (vehicle sales) and OMV AG (energy supply).


Text last edited on: 04/2020

Are you satisfied with the information provided on this page?