The economic outlook is bleak: As reported, the economy will grow only slightly in the coming year – if at all. For the labor market, however, this only means a small relaxation, as it was said today, Wednesday, at a press conference of the liberal think tank Agenda Austria: The problem will continue to accompany us in the coming years.
The situation is particularly critical in the so-called shortage occupations: These are those professions in which there are less than 1.5 unemployed for every 100 advertised positions. There were more than 80,000 vacancies in shortage occupations at the end of July 2022. This means that every second advertised position in Austria was in a shortage occupation. There is a shortage in 76 professions nationwide. There are also 65 regional shortage occupations, i.e. those that are difficult to fill only in certain federal states.
According to Agenda Austria economist Denes Kucsera, there is also a large regional gap here. The situation in Salzburg and Upper Austria is particularly dramatic. Around 34,000 vacancies are advertised in our federal state. 73.5 percent are shortage occupations. Three years ago it was 50 percent of the jobs. The most in demand are sorters and packers, warehouse workers, electrical contractors, and traders and sellers
For comparison: In Vienna, the proportion of shortage occupations has risen from five to 8.9 percent. In the federal capital, the shortage is essentially limited to technical professions and nursing. On the other hand, the number of job-seeking salespeople exceeds the number of vacancies in Vienna many times over. In Lower Austria and Burgenland, too, more people are looking for a job in this profession than the state has to offer.
According to economist Hanno Lorenz, in order to counteract these problems, domestic mobility needs to be increased: “Around 15 percent of the unemployed could be offered vacancies in shortage occupations if those affected were willing to commute or relocate to another federal state.” Here changes are needed in the reasonableness criteria: At present, a job is only considered reasonable if the salary is at least 80 percent (for the first 120 days of unemployment benefit) or 75 percent (in the event of unemployment beyond that) of the previous job. Precisely because the long-term unemployed (twelve months or more) have poorer chances on the job market, this limit should be lowered to the amount of the unemployment benefit, as in Germany, if you have been unemployed for twelve months or more. In addition, reasonable travel times (return journey) should be extended from the current two hours a day to three hours. Positive incentives, such as a mobility bonus, are also conceivable.