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Urgent Need for Specialized Workforce

Published: May 17, 2011; 13:24 · (Vindobona)

Lack of skilled employees hits Austrian crafts enterprises. Opening of the labor market could help to satisfy the demand.

Urgent Need for Specialized Workforce / Picture: © Vindobona.org

According to a current analysis by KMU Forschung Austria, 27% of Austrian crafts enterprises suffer from a critical lack of specialized workforce, even though it is by far the most important sector for apprenticeships. 620,000 Austrians are employed in crafts companies and more than 130,000 apprentices are currently being trained in the sector. On the second position is trade with 18,700 apprentices, followed by industry (16,400) and tourism (12,600).

“The number of apprentices is apparently not sufficient to satisfy the demand for specialized workforce and the demographic development is going to further aggravate the problem”, says Walter Bornett, director of KMU Forschung Austria. In principal, the opening of the Austrian labor market to people from EU member countries of the 2004 enlargement round should bring a relief. However, he is afraid that this opening could have come too late. Those people who are really qualified and willing to move abroad might already have found a job in other European countries.

Not all sectors are concerned by the lack in equal measure, but overall there is demand for at least an additional 13,000 skilled employees, as estimated by Bornett.

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