ECONOMY

Addressing the Skilled Labor Shortage: The Vital Role of Further Training in Austria

The prevailing issue of a “skilled labor shortage” has become a significant concern this year, and addressing this challenge is putting a strong emphasis on further training for the workforce. Markus Raml, who serves as the curator of WIFI Austria, highlights the critical role of education, stating, “The future prosperity of Austria hinges on our ability to address the issue of education effectively.”

The latest IMAS Further Training Barometer, conducted on behalf of WIFI, underscores the importance of professional development. Paul Eiselsberg from IMAS International points out that 83 percent of entrepreneurs view employee training as either “important” or “very important.” However, this figure has declined from the 91 percent recorded in 2022. Nonetheless, approximately 18 percent of companies intend to increase their investments in employee training this year.

While 55 percent of employees consider lifelong learning to be “very important,” only a third of them are able to effectively implement it. Challenges in this regard include cost constraints, keeping pace with rapidly evolving knowledge, and aligning training with available time. Tatjana Baborek, Institute Director of Wifi Austria, emphasizes that further training and lifelong learning are essential for remaining professionally relevant and adaptable.

Entrepreneurs also recognize the crucial role of employee training. Mariana K├╝hnel, Deputy Secretary General of the Austrian Economic Chamber, emphasizes that enhancing the qualifications of existing workers is vital when faced with challenges in recruiting new talent. Raml adds, “An employee and entrepreneur who are well-trained tend to find more satisfaction in their work.”

The survey results reveal that 81 percent of employees and 77 percent of entrepreneurs support an increase in state funding for further training. There is also substantial support for a state-funded education account, with 74 percent of employees and 79 percent of entrepreneurs expressing interest. From an entrepreneur’s perspective, the most sought-after training topics include IT and digitalization, technology, quality management, sustainability and green skills, as well as innovation and digital transformation. These areas are seen as crucial for maintaining competitiveness and thriving in today’s rapidly changing job market.

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