View from the Ground
Overall, the Austrian economy is doing well. Looking back at 2018, the positive momentum from the first half of the year couldn’t be maintained for the third and fourth quarters. Industry demand for certain skills fell, which coincided with a general economic slump and negative tendencies from the German market – led by the weak automotive industry. However, the mood in the domestic export industry remains optimistic and the skilled labour market in Austria continues to develop well with a strong focus on technical skill sets in the IT sector and roles connected to Industry 4.0. Growth is coming from all over the industrial sector, as well as the service sector. This growth is providing skilled workers with a generally positive environment. We are seeing a strong and continuously growing demand across several sectors, especially in IT, engineering, life sciences and finance. As a result, pressure in high-skill sectors are increasing.
Mark Frost, Managing Director, Hays Austria
In 2018, Austrian GDP rose by 2.7%, up slightly from 2.5% in the previous year. This in part reflected particularly rapid growth in the economic output produced by the utilities, mining and quarrying, and transport sectors. The first two of which have been the fastest-growing sectors over the previous five years.
Unemployment fell to 4.8%, its lowest since 2011. Youth unemployment (15- to 24-year olds) also fell to 9.3%. The tight labour market has led to strong wage growth: wages went up by 2.6% in 2018.
The labour force grew by 6.2% between 2011 and 2017, but its composition has also changed. The share of non-Austrians rose from 11.5% to 16.2% in that same timeframe. However, the unemployment rate among immigrants stood at 9% in the last quarter of 2018, suggesting they need to be better integrated into the economy.