3.2 Administration and governance
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The Federal Ministry of Labour and Economy leads national labour market policy in Austria. It works on initiatives to promote employment, improve working conditions and address labour market challenges, including youth employment and entrepreneurship.
The Public Employment Service Austria (Arbeitsmarktservice Österreich, AMS) operates under its supervision and plays an important role in the implementation of labour market policy. With significant involvement of the social partners, it contributes to the prevention and elimination of unemployment in Austria and offers various programmes and services to support young job seekers, including career counselling, job placement assistance and vocational training. These services are provided through regional offices of AMS across Austria.
The social partners, including the Austrian Chamber of Labour (Arbeiterkammer, AK), the Austrian Economic Chambers (Wirtschaftskammer Österreich, WKÖ), and the Austrian Chamber of Agriculture (Landwirtschaftskammer, LKÖ), play a crucial role in shaping labour market policies. Through their involvement in social partnerships, they represent the interests of workers, employers and other stakeholders, including young people.
The Federal Youth Council (Bundesjugendvertretung, BJV) represents the interests of young people in Austria at national level. It actively promotes policies and initiatives that benefit the youth community, covering areas such as employment and entrepreneurship (Lage am Arbeitsmarkt). The Council works in partnership with government bodies and stakeholders to influence decision-making and ensure that young people's needs are taken into account in the labour market.
Moreover, a number of stakeholders are actively promoting youth employment and entrepreneurship in Austria. Alongside these efforts, the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research is formulating educational policies to equip young people with both labour market skills and an entrepreneurial mindset. In this endeavour, educational institutions and vocational training centres play a key role by effectively bridging the transition between education and the labour market through the provision of basic training.
Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and youth-focused organisations are also active in promoting policies that address the specific barriers faced by young job seekers and aspiring entrepreneurs. Prominent organisations such as Junior Chamber Austria (junge Wirtschaft) and Junior Achievement Austria (JA Austria) make a significant contribution by providing valuable opportunities for Austrian youth to gain practical entrepreneurial experience, develop essential skills, obtain qualifications and receive comprehensive support for their integration into the domestic labour market. More detailed information on this can be found in chapters 3.6, 3.8 and 3.10.
Distribution of responsibilities in the federal system
Austria operates under a federal system. This means that both the federal government and the nine federal states have specific roles and powers in shaping policies and implementing initiatives in the field of youth employment and entrepreneurship.
At the national level, the Austrian government plays a key role in shaping employment regulations. The primary responsibility for employment policy lies with the Federal Ministry of Labour and Economy, which works with other ministries and the Public Employment Service (AMS) to create an enabling environment. In parallel, the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research focuses its efforts on formulating education policies that equip young people with the necessary skills and attitudes to succeed in the labour market and to pursue entrepreneurial ventures.
While complying with national legislation, provincial governments in Austria have some freedom to shape youth employment and entrepreneurship policies in their regions. They can tailor programmes to local needs and work with local employment services (regionales Arbeitsmarktservice) to tackle youth unemployment. With regard to youth entrepreneurship, regional governments provide grants, subsidies and support to encourage young entrepreneurs.
The Austrian Youth Strategy provides a nationwide framework for youth policies, including youth employment and entrepreneurship. Following a cross-sectorial approach, different ministries, including the Ministry of Labour and Economy, the Ministry of Education, Science and Research, and the Ministry of Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology implement the youth objectives assigned to them under the action field 'Education and Employment' (Handlungsfeld 'Bildung und Beschäftigung') based on their relevant expertise.
In addition, Austrian labour market policy is characterised by strong cooperation between governmental and non-governmental actors, including the social partners (see above under 'Main actors'). They take into account the practical concerns of workers and employers and contribute to a balanced regulatory framework. Depending on the issue, the relevant ministry cooperates with other ministries, regional governments, interest groups and foreign authorities. This cooperation includes aligning objectives, exchanging views, creating tools, developing legislation, initiating projects and improving services.