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Gender Equality in the Labour Market

Even though progress has been made and numerous initiatives have been successfully implemented, further efforts are needed in order to achieve gender equality in the Austrian labour market. Discrimination against and disadvantages for women are still distinct in many areas of the labour market:

  • Austria's gender pay gap remains one of the largest in the EU.
  • The Austrian labour market is characterized by a high female employment rate and, at the same time, by increasing part-time employment among women. Part-time employment can be detrimental to women’s economic independence during their professional lives and after retirement.
  • Mainly women carry out unpaid care work within the family and face the consequences of related career breaks.
  • The Austrian labour market is gender-segregated: Women predominantly work in lower-paying jobs in the service industries such as in retail or in health and social services.
  • Women are still underrepresented in leading positions in the economy, in science and research, in politics and the public service in Austria.

What steps are taken to strengthen gender equality in the labour market?

The National Action Plan on Gender Equality in the Labour Market has been developed to eliminate the disadvantages women are still facing and to foster strategic and coordinated implementation of various initiatives and policies.

It is important to overcome barriers for women for re-entering the job market and taking up full-time positions. Awareness raising for the consequence of part-time work on retirement benefits is also necessary. Reconciling work and family life is by no means a challenge for women only, but needs to focus on increased engagement of men and fathers. Public awareness for these topics is being raised by the campaign on paternal leave “Real men take parental leave”.

Eliminating structural discrimination in the labour market and strengthening pay transparency have a positive effect on narrowing the gender pay gap. Pay transparency is an important step for achieving income equality. In 2011, two mechanisms have been implemented to promote pay transparency: the legal requirements (1) to state the minimum wage in job vacancy advertisements and (2) to present income-reports for companies employing a pre-determined number of workers. As of 2014, companies with 150 employees or more are required to produce income reports. Additionally, the online wage calculator offers easily accessible information on wages commonly paid in a sector or region.

Highlighting good practices supports the promotion of equal representation of women and men in leading positions in all areas of society. The project “Women are TOP! To the top by innovative corporate cultures”, is an initiative relating to boards of directors and executive positions with an aim to promote gender equality in organizational cultures.

Gender stereotypes continue to pose an obstacle to achieving gender equality in many areas in society. Efforts continue to be made to achieve sustainable changes to gender stereotypical behavioural patterns in education and working environments. The Girls' Day / Girls' Day Mini as well as the online information platform "My technology" aim at further diversification of women’s and men’s/girls’ and boys’ education and career choices.

Further information in German

This English information page offers a brief overview of the activities carried out by the Division for women’s affairs and equality in the area of gender equality in the labour market. The short presentation does not cover all fields of activity and projects of the division. Further information in German is available at “Arbeitsmarkt”.

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