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Meetings Calendar 2006
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Key Factor Human Resources

 

In recent years Austria has also redressed its shortage of human resources in research and development. In 1998 the number of researchers per 1,000 gainfully employed persons was still considerably lower than the EU average at around 4.8. By 2002 this ratio had increased to 6.1 in line with the average figure in the EU. The number of those employed in R&D in the corporate sector (calculated as full-time equivalents) also rose sharply in this period from some 20,400 to approximately 26,700. This is the equivalent of an increase of 31 percent. Remarkably, this growth was recorded above all in the segment of highly qualified scientific personnel.

These developments are a testimonial to Austria’s educational system in general. Compared internationally, however, the latter displays weaknesses as well as strengths. If, for example, one takes the educational level of the population as an indicator of the quality of a country’s human resources, the proportion of university graduates in Austria at 15 percent (in 2003) is lower than the OECD average. However, this picture is distorted because it does not take into account the plethora of vocational training courses in the secondary sector in Austria. Furthermore, the mostly lengthy degree courses in Austria also depress the percentage of university graduates. However, the introduction of Bachelor’s degrees should soon lead to upward adjustments in this area.

In contrast, the school sector demonstrates a number of strengths. In Austria 79 percent of 25 to 64 year olds hold qualifications attained after the statutory school leaving age, i.e. a high school leaving certificate or apprenticeship. The average figure in the OECD is only 66 percent.

The output of the Austrian educational system will not, however, suffice alone to meet the demand. Greater inclusion of women in science and research is essential if these challenges are to be overcome. The percentage of women participating in research and development in Austria is still below the EU average.

Ultimately, the aim is also to transform the brain drain into a brain gain. The brainpower austria initiative aims to generate greater interest in research activities in Austria among Austrian researchers working abroad, to draw their attention to career perspectives in Austria and support networking with the Austrian scientific community.

Date: 30.12.2005