Austria, the industrial country

Industry is the engine for sustainable growth, jobs, innovation and quality of life in our country. But what is industry actually? An overview of the most common definitions and the benefits of industry for Austria.

Industry provides jobs, prosperity, progress and future for society. Every investment made by industry is an investment for generations. Like no other, the manufacturing sector has understood how to utilise structural change as an opportunity for growth in times of increasing globalisation. Like no other sector, industry is exposed to enormous international competitive pressure. And like no other sector, industry has succeeded in strengthening its competitiveness. 

Today, Austria is one of the most modern industrial nations in the world. Industry and its related sectors are the foundation of economic success, general prosperity and high quality of life in the country.

Different figures circulate about the importance of industry and its contribution to prosperity in Austria in the public debate. Below is a compilation of the currently most commonly used definitions of industry

1. The narrowest term: "the production of goods" (EU: "manufacturing")
Manufacturing (officially called "production of goods" or "manufacturing" since a reclassification in 2008) comprises more than 25,000 enterprises and is the narrowest term for "industry". This term is also mentioned in the EU Commission strategy of October 2012. The aim here is to increase the EU's "industrial share" of GDP from more than 15 to 20 per cent by 2020. Austria's "industrial share" in this narrow definition is 18.7 per cent of GDP.

2. "Industry"
The term "industry (excluding construction)" is often used. In this case the construction sector falls out of the "manufacturing sector". Here, Austria is in the upper field of the EU with an industrial share of just under 22 per cent.

3. "Producing sector"
The producing sector is also often referred to by Statistics Austria as "production and construction" and includes manufacturing, mining, energy and water supply and construction. It is the most generous internationally comparable delimitation of industry. In total, this economic sector (about 67,000 companies) employs about one million people in Austria. In the comparison of the value added of industry with the total value added in Austria, this economic sector generates 28.8 per cent of the domestic GDP

4. The "servoindustrial sector" as a response to structural change
In recent decades, industry has merged – far beyond its central sphere of activity – with industrial and production-related enterprises and companies from the tertiary sector. This connection is consequently captured by the term "servo-industrial sector", which, in addition to manufacturers of goods, also includes the construction industry, energy supply and, above all, all production and industry-related services in the country. The economic importance is calculated annually by the Austrian institute for industry IWI (Industriewissenschaftliches Institut). The servoindustrial sector with its indirect effects is the largest possible representation of industry.  

The servoindustrial sector in Austria directly and indirectly represents 2.5 million employees – i.e. two out of three employment relationships in Austria. This sector also generates a value added of more than 180 billion euros, i.e. a share of more than 55.1 per cent of the total economy. 

Current figures, data & facts 

  • Of every three and a half euros earned in Austria, one euro comes directly from industry. In Great Britain this is only one in five pounds, in France even only one in five and a half euros. And this only takes the direct contribution of industry into account, not the equally enormously important industry-related services.
  • Austrian industry also stands out in terms of employment, especially in a European comparison: despite the worst economic crisis in modern times, domestic industry offers 15 per cent more jobs today than a decade ago.
  • Industry creates future, and the people in the country benefit from it. Almost half of all research expenditures in Austria come from industry. In addition, companies that invest heavily in research and development have three times the employment growth and up to 17 times the export rate of other companies.
  • 53 per cent of Austria's GDP is generated by exports. The manufacturing sector (excluding construction) generates 57 per cent of its turnover from exports. Goods worth more than 15,000 euros per inhabitant are exported annually. Foreign trade directly and indirectly secures jobs for about 1.7 million people. Every one per cent increase in exports means 10,000 new jobs.
  • Austria is home to more than 160 "hidden champions" – in relation to the size of the country, that is more than anywhere else in the world. These are companies that either occupy a top three position on the world market or are number one in a continent. Three out of four of these "hidden champions" are from industry.
  • Apprenticeship training has a high priority in industry: with about 14,000 apprentices, it is one of the most important apprentice trainers in the country. Domestic industrial companies spend an average of around 104,000 euros on high-quality apprenticeship training and thus on the future of a young person, more than any other sector of the economy.

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