Austria has low levels of labour migration from non-EU/EFTA countries. At the same time, intra-EU free mobility has grown significantly and since 2011, overall migration for employment is above the OECD average. It recently reformed its labour migration system, making it more ready to accept labour migrants where they are needed, especially in medium-skilled occupations in which there were limited admission possibilities
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At 5%, Austria’s unemployment rate is high in a historical perspective though still lower than in most OECD countries. The same is true for the youth unemployment rate, which at 10% is twice the level of the rate for the total labour force. While the employment rate in 2014 is above the rate before and during the crisis, the reversal in the increase in unemployment is yet to come.
Two rounds of the Survey of Adult Skills are under way: Round 1 (2008-13) with 24 participating countries, whose results were released in October 2013, and Round 2 (2012-16) with 9 participating countries, whose results will be released in 2016. A third round is scheduled to begin in May 2014.
This short thematic paper summarises the key findings of the study visit.
Important challenges for the future of Austrian well-being arise from demographic and environmental trends. The ageing of the population calls for a fair balance between life-time pension contributions and entitlements, drawing on the recent pension reform.
Austria enjoys strong material well-being and high quality of life. Steady convergence with top GDP per capita levels translated into decisive improvements in household disposable incomes while significant redistribution has ensured low income inequality and poverty.
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A Skills beyond School Review of Austria
Issues covered during the study visit included exploring features unique to the Austrian system, such as the dual apprenticeship system and qualification guarantees. The structure and targets of the Territorial Employment Pact were discussed and project visits to relevant initiatives organised.
The transition from education to work is not easy for many young people, particularly when it comes to finding sustainable employment with progression opportunities. Recently established national policies to support youth will be only effective if implemented in a coordinated way at local level.
Country Notes from OECD Economic Policy Reforms: Going for growth 2011 presenting OECD recommendations for structural reform priorities for individual countries.