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EACEA National Policies Platform


3. Employment & Entrepreneurship

3.3 Skills forecasting

Last update: 15 January 2024

Forecasting system(s)

In Austria, national and regional authorities work closely with research institutions to forecast future labour market needs and identify in-demand skills. Key players in this collaboration include the Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO), Statistics Austria (Statistik Austria), SORA Institute (Forschungs- und Beratungsinstitut SORA), JOANNEUM RESEARCH (in German), and the Institute for Research and Development in VET (ibw Austria). Together, these organisations analyse a variety of factors such as demographic changes, technological progress, economic, trends and the political framework conditions to produce labour market forecasts. 

The Public Employment Service Austria (AMS) plays a central role in forecasting and responding to labour market needs in Austria. As a key national player, the AMS contributes significantly by providing continuously updated reports and tables with valuable data on employment, unemployment, job offers and apprenticeships (Arbeitsmarktdaten und Arbeitsmarktforschung). Additionally, the AMS offers a range of tools to help jobseekers, employers, and policymakers understand occupational and skill trends:

  • The AMS JobBarometer (formerly Skills Barometer) is an online information system that provides data on labour market trends in Austria. It helps to anticipate medium-term changes and upheavals in the domestic labour market and enables individuals to prepare for structural changes in employment and education. The tool is based on a wide range of information and data relevant to the demand side of the Austrian labour market, contextualised with additional information on the labour market, economic development and demographic trends (Methodische Dokumentation).
  • The BMAW AMS Labour Force Barometer (BMAW AMS Fachkräftebarometer) is another tool used in Austria to assess labour shortages at the occupational level. It provides information on top occupations with job openings for the entire country and each state. The Barometer has three indicators capturing seasonal factors, structural labour demand elements, and economic developments. It analyses labour supply in relation to demand, offering insights into job market dynamics using Austrian Public Employment Service data. openings. Additionally, it incorporates data on the overall economic development of the job market in Austria by analysing online job advertisements from various platforms.

Skills development

The demands on young people's education are constantly increasing. In addition to good academic performance and technical knowledge, the labour market requires social and personal skills. In Austria, children and young people can acquire these competences at school, at university, during vocational training and in the context of out-of-school child and youth work through informal and non-formal learning. 

To provide young people with the necessary skills for the future labour market, the Austrian authorities consider labour market projections. These forecasts help to design targeted policies and programmes according to the expected skills and job requirements. 

Formal education (general, higher and vocational)

Forecasting systems are essential for adapting the Austrian education system to the changing needs of the labour market, especially in the design of school and university curricula. This includes the provision of career guidance, innovative teaching methods and transition programmes to facilitate the transition from education to employment. With about 70% of upper secondary students enrolled in vocational education and training (VET) programmes, divided between dual vocational training and vocational schools, the focus is on providing practical skills and improving job prospects. However, despite the high enrolment in VET, Austria faces challenges in meeting the demand for skilled workers, especially in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) and digital fields.

The Austrian Public Employment Service (AMS) plays a crucial role in addressing skills shortages by evaluating the ‘apprenticeship gap’ and monitoring the performance of graduates from different educational pathways to anticipate and address future skills gaps in the labour market. 

To address labour market needs and skill shortages, the Austrian government, together with the social partners and the Public Employment Service (AMS), is prioritising digital literacy in education (Digitale Grundbildung) and supporting initiatives to fill skills gaps. The AMS plays a key role in subsidising training, particularly in areas such as STEM, health and social services where there's an identified skills shortage (Fachkräftestipendium). In addition, the government incentivises employers to take on young apprentices by offering subsidies and aligning training with expected market demand. The Public Employment Service (AMS), in cooperation with the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (WKO), actively promotes apprenticeships and supplementary training, with a strong focus on high-demand sectors such as construction (see programs and initiatives). 

Non-formal and informal learning: youth work

In Austria, youth organisations and open youth work contribute significantly to the development of young people's competences. They offer diverse opportunities and activities to learn a range of skills, from social skills to technical and organisational skills, and promote personal development and civic engagement. Areas of focus include political education, health literacy, cultural education, gender reflective identity development, digital education and media literacy. In addition, the National Agency for Education and Internationalisation (OeAD) enhances learning experiences through programmes such as Erasmus+ and the European Solidarity Corps. These programmes enhance personal, social and professional competences and promote European awareness.

The Austrian Youth Information Centers, which handle about 160,000 enquiries every year, receive most enquiries in the fields of work and education. Therefore, they provide young people with comprehensive information and tips on the various educational pathways, inform young people about non-formal education opportunities at home and abroad, support them in recording the competences they have acquired in informal settings, and offer informal learning through workshops aimed at empowering young people. 

Programs and initiatives

In Austria, the public authorities are actively tackling youth unemployment and improving employment opportunities through several initiatives. Notable programmes include 'education until 18' (Ausbildung bis 18) and 'training guarantees until 25' (Ausbildungsgarantie bis 25), which aim to adapt education to current labour market needs. Vocational education and training (VET) is a key component, emphasising technical skills and labour market integration. In addition, the Public Employment Service (AMS) provides specialised training to ensure that young people's skills match the needs of the labour market.

Action Future Youth and Training Guarantee until 25 (Aktion Zukunft Jugend und Ausbildungsgarantie bis 25)

Austria's Training Guarantee until 25, implemented by the Public Employment Service (AMS) since 2017, is an important programme for upskilling young people aged 19-24, mainly targeting those with only compulsory schooling. It aims to improve long-term labour market prospects and address skills shortages. In 2021, it supported 12,108 individuals with a budget of €78.86 million, with around 14,300 young people in this age group registered as unemployed. The programme includes apprenticeships for over-18s, skilled worker training, certification preparation courses, vocational qualifications and education programmes. Significantly expanded with an additional €700 million as part of the 'Corona Job Offensive', it focuses on young adults with low or outdated qualifications, benefiting some 29% of those under 25 and 43% with only compulsory education (BMA 2021: Jugend und Arbeit in Österreich, p. 71f). 

The 'just2Job' placement foundation, set up by the Ministry of Labour, facilitates integration into the labour market by shortening training periods and supporting certification. With a budget of €12 million until the end of 2024, it finances in-company training, including financial support for interregional placements and re-entry (ibid.).

Qualification promotion: personnel and organisational development

The Public Employment Service (Arbeitsmarktservice, AMS) supports companies in improving the qualifications of their employees and further developing their organisations (Qualifizierungsförderung). This includes subsidies to promote the attendance at building trade schools (Bauhandwerkerschulen), measures to enhance new digital skills (described below), and subsidies for the upskilling of employees in the field of social services of general interest. Furthermore, AMS supports the further qualification of low-skilled workers with the aim of improving their skills in order to secure their jobs and increase their income. In the COVID-19 pandemic, impulse consulting on-demand is provided to help companies overcome the specific challenges of the crisis and subsidies support the costs of qualification for workers in COVID-19 short-time work.

AMS ‘New Skills’ project series

The Austrian Public Employment Service (Arbeitsmarktservice, AMS) regularly conducts expert discussions on current skills needs in order to respond proactively and effectively to new trends in the labour market. The New Skills Discussions of the AMS, conducted by the Austrian Institute for Vocational Education and Training Research (öibf) and the Institute for Educational Research of the Economy (ibw), involve experts from business, education, politics, interest groups and basic and applied research and development. These discussions provide insights into the rapidly evolving education and labour market, which is characterised by trends such as Industry 4.0 and digitalisation. 

Initiated in 2017 by the AMS Standing Committee on New Skills, consisting of experts from the AMS and social partners, the aim is to inform the public and experts with research findings and recommendations for vocational education and training in different sectors and educational institutions. All publications produced within the framework of this initiative can be downloaded in full text in the respective annual folders.

Programmes to train skilled workers

In 2013, the programme 'professionals/skilled workers scholarships’ (Fachkräftestipendium) has been introduced to reduce skills shortages. It supports the training of low and medium-skilled workers and job seekers in occupations with labour demand. Also, the ‘Skilled workers intensive training’ (FacharbeiterInnen-Intensivausbildung, FIA) programme addresses registered jobseekers and gives them the opportunity to complete apprenticeship training in a shortened time. A specific objective is to qualify women for ‘future jobs’ (e.g. crafts and engineering, health).