LAB meeting, Austria

In the first LAB-meeting we discussed the role that young migrants from EU8-countries (Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia) play on the Austrian labour market. In particular, employers in industries that face a shortage of (skilled) labour are interested in hiring young people from EU8 countries, e.g. in the IT/high-tech, tourism and care sectors. In the near future, Austrian companies will have to implement effective recruitment strategies due to increasing skilled labour shortage in many industries. Labour market intermediaries increasingly fulfil a bridging function between employers and employees from abroad. In recent years, the number of labour market intermediaries has considerably been rising in Austria. The question what role intermediaries play for working conditions or work contracts of young EU8 migrants is still open. LAB members suppose that firms’ recruitment and selection procedures are not free from discrimination. Furthermore, many migrants work in sectors characterised by challenging working conditions, e.g. in tourism (very long working hours) and construction (long working hours, high accident risk).

LAB members do not know what factors motivate young EU8 people to migrate to Austria, nor are they familiar with policies and management practices that are suited to increase the attractiveness of Austrian employers. Thus, the LAB members’ key question reads: what has to be done to increase the attractiveness of Austria as a target country for (highly) skilled EU8 migrants?

Main issues of debate

Importance of young EU8 migrants for the Austrian job market

Currently, the visibility of young EU8 migrants at the Austrian labour market is quite low. Employers in industries that face a shortage of skilled labour are interested in hiring young EU8 migrants, e.g. in IT/high-tech, tourism and the care sector.

Recruitment strategies of employers and intermediaries targeting EU8 migrants

In the near future, Austrian companies will have to implement effective recruitment strategies due to increasing skilled labour shortage in many industries. While many large firms with specialised HR departments pursue specific strategies to recruit employees from abroad, small and medium-sized companies usually rely on more informal recruitment channels or on the services of labour market intermediaries.

Importance of intermediaries regarding recruitment/job search and corresponding practices

In recent years, the importance of labour market intermediaries has been continually rising. The number of agencies offering personnel leasing or temporary jobs is still increasing, especially in the care, building and cleaning sector. Several agencies recruit women from EU8 countries to work in the form of one-person businesses in Austria, especially in the care sector.

Working conditions and contract forms of young EU8 migrants

LAB members suppose that firms’ recruitment and selection procedures are not free from discrimination. In contrast, working conditions and contract forms are the same as those of domestic employees. Major labour market barriers are the complex procedures for formal recognition of skills/education and lacking German language skills. Many migrants work in industries characterised by poor working conditions, e.g. in tourism (very long working hours) and construction (long working hours, high accident risk).

Motives of young EU8 people to migrate to Austria and corresponding practices

LAB members do not know these motives. The employers’ representative is more interested in the opposite question: what has to be done to increase the attractiveness of Austria as a target country for highly skilled migrants?

Data sources for quantitative analyses and contact to interview partners

The public employment services (AMS) of Styria recommends some data sets and offers data access. The Styrian economic chamber (WKO) will provide numbers on their member records. All LAB members are willing to help us getting into contact with potential interview partners.

Location: University of Graz, Austria

Date: 4th of June 2014

Participants:

University of Graz

Renate Ortlieb and Silvana Weiss

 

Wirtschaftskammer Steiermark (WKO; Styrian Economic Chambers)

Ewald Verhounig

 

Arbeiterkammer Steiermark (AK; Styrian Chamber of Labour)

Ursula Strohmayer

 

Arbeitsmarktservice Steiermark (AMS; Styrian Public Employment Service)

Marcos de Brito e Cunha

 

Innovative Sozialprojekte (ISOP; Innovative Social Projects Graz)

Nuray Kanik-Richter and Samira Suljanovic