On the labour market, employers look for suitable workers while workers look for vacancies. However, the special thing about the labour market is that it is not price – i.e. wages and salaries – which regulates supply, because that is avoided via the lower limits for wages in the collective agreements.
Unlike for products and services, there is also a lack of complete transparency – for example with regard to the working conditions on offer, the abilities of workers and the general state of the labour market.
In order for the labour market to function well, the intervention of politics is therefore a decisive factor. In Austria, a system of cooperation between politicians and the so-called social partners has developed which is often seen as an example of how a less confrontational approach can succeed. Workable compromises lead to productive labour market and social legislation and ensure functioning cooperation in the world of work.
The Public Employment Service (Arbeitsmarktservice, AMS), a public sector company with its own legal identity, is responsible for carrying out labour market policy.
International labour and social standards are formulated and asserted by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), a special organisation of the United Nations.
The concepts and requirements of the European Union also form part of the framework for Austrian labour market policy.
Main focuses and measures
In accordance with the Public Employment Service Act (Section 59 para. 2), the Minister of Labour is obliged to issue labour market policy targets to the Public Employment Service. The current targets for 2019 include subsidies in relation to equal opportunities for women, young people, older people, migrants and people with health-related limitations.