Sozialpolitische Studienreihe


Unemployment as a challenge ...

The training courses of Public Employment Service Austria (AMS) support the qualification efforts of young people, women and men faced with unemployment. As part of the broad range of service, guidance and support offers of AMS, the training courses aim to enhance the employability of the young people, women and men. For them it is a matter of establishing themselves again on the labour market, and this often also involves further reorientation measures in a professional and personal respect.

... encourages people to look for professional reorientation with support from AMS training courses to provide them with qualifications

The extent of reorientation caused by unemployment is influenced by the corresponding individual circumstances. Training participants indicate it is a matter of quickly finding a job again. Other participants expect an improvement in their employment situation with the new job: better pay, less physical strain, less stress, longer or also shorter weekly working hours, more favourable daily working hours, easier access to the workplace from the place of residence. A group of training participants is also absolutely looking for a further career change, whether because they have not acquired any recognised professional qualifications or whether they can no longer exercise their previous profession because of health impairments.

Range of available training measures corresponds with the many different expectations of the training participants

The many different expectations of potential training participants are met by the wide range of training courses offered directly by AMS or which it promotes as part of participation in measures of the free training market. These range from courses lasting a few weeks up to training over several years that leads to a certificate when completed.

No guarantee of meeting expectations ...

Participation in training is no guarantee that the trainee will find a new job quickly or that this new job will meet all expectations. A representative sample of training participants who managed to find a job within three months of completing the training gave the following retrospective assessment: around a half said that the training helped them considerably in finding work. Around a half also indicated that, overall, they are more satisfied with the new job than with their previous employment; among women the share was a little higher than among men.

... even if the content and duration of training are chosen by the participants themselves

The risk that young people, women and men taking part in training are disappointed - because they think their expectations have not been met - cannot be excluded even if they chose the type and length of training themselves, as indicated retrospectively by a third of participants. Around a half said that they followed the recommendation of AMS. One in seven participants saw the choice of training as a result of a joint decision with AMS. In this respect there is hardly any difference between women and men.

Weighing up the pros and cons of the efforts and hard work against more stable employment and better pay ...

With regard to the content and duration of training, the pros and cons have to be weighed up between the efforts and hard work associated with the training on the one hand and the expected improvements in the subsequent professional life on the other. From this perspective the training represents an investment in future employability: is the hard work during training balanced out by better pay, more stable employment and other positive quality characteristics of the future job?

... involves a high level of uncertainty ...

This question is hard to answer, not least for the participating women and men, because although there is little uncertainty about the hard work arising directly, there is uncertainty about the improvements in the participants´ own employability which will become visible in the coming years. The advisors at AMS also face this uncertainty. In individual cases it cannot be resolved directly either. But for a group of registered unemployed people who have taken up longer training, it is probably possible to assess whether this "investment" has been worthwhile in the long term.

... because the earnings from higher employability become visible over a longer period in the future

For this purpose, the unemployed women and men who took part in longer training in 1999 were "statistically accompanied" over the period from 2000 to 2010 by conducting a progress analysis. An analogous process was used for two other groups of people. These people had more or less the same requirements when they registered as unemployed, but then in some cases took part in only shorter training and in some cases in no training at all; these two groups of people "short training" and "no training" are used as control groups in a statistical sense to be able to observe the effect of longer/more intensive AMS training.

The long-term experiences of participants in longer training compared with participants in shorter training

With regard to the additional hard work involved initially in longer training (between 182 days and 365 days) compared with shorter training (between 28 days and 112 days), the participants in longer training in 1999 had the following experiences: in comparison with those who participated in shorter training, they had to deal with an additional 184 days of training, were unemployed for 97 days longer, were in employment with full compulsory social insurance for 55 days fewer, which was reflected in annual income from employment of EUR 2,056 less (without social transfers).

Noticeable additional hard work in the year of training which is balanced out by the bonus of enhanced employability, however

It only took a few years, though, until the gained better employability compared with the participants in shorter training had balanced out the additional hard work in the training year: the lost days of employment in 1999 were already caught up on in 2003; in terms of the annual income from employment, the catch-up process only took until 2001. The bonus of longer training compared with shorter training was effective in every single year up to the end of the statistical observation period (2010).

From the perspective of the public purse: additional expenditure in the training year ...

The longer training also meant higher costs for the public purse. If this expenditure is assessed at actual costs, for every 1,000 participants in longer training an additional amount of approximately EUR 7,635,000 of active labour market policy funds was required.

... and relief in the subsequent years

This additional expenditure was accompanied by savings and additional charges. If these are calculated at the current income tax scale and the current rates for social security payments, over a period of eleven years there is a total of EUR 55,624,000 in relief; at 2012 prices and without discount factor, the balance amounts to around EUR 47,989,000.


To sum up, longer training pays off - for the participating women and men and for the public budget, and also for the companies demanding labour which can count on higher productivity with the newly employed staff.