Shortage of qualified workers in Austria
The Austrian labour market is in dire straits: there is a shortage of well-trained workers in predominantly manual fields. The AMS Austria currently lists 68 professional occupations identified as being in short supply. There is great concern in the domestic economy: How are Austrian manufacturing companies supposed to remain competitive if they cannot find people to manufacture their products?
Blame for the misery is being sought, costs for companies are being raised and demographics are being tossed about. It is undisputed that the baby boomers are gradually retiring. The resulting hole in the middle of the workforce will be difficult for younger generations to fill. But this should never distract us from another, social and structural problem: the lack of interest of the coming cohorts in certain occupational profiles, especially in the skilled trades. Thus, it is not only experienced skilled workers who are being lost, the percentage of available skilled workers in the working population is steadily decreasing.
But where and how do we start tackling this? The path to the foreign labour market can only be a bypass; above all, a change must happen to recall the value of crafts and technology for our society. Sebastian Leitner, model and development coordinator at legero united, learned to be a shoemaker. The love of leather, the smell and the feel led him to this apprenticeship 20 years ago. Today he is a shoemaker with heart and soul and is absolutely certain: “We have to put the focus back on where we came from. Because the basis for everything we create is always fundamental knowledge.”
Sebastian is not alone in this attitude at legero united: We all agree that only expertise can be the foundation for any creation. And we don’t rest on our laurels, but are constantly expanding this very knowledge and skill and, through partnerships with universities and testing institutes, always keep ourselves technically up to date. As early as 1994, we set the course for digitalising the design process; our manufacturing process complies with the latest technical standards. This is the only way we can live up to our claim of making the truly best shoes in the world, while also focusing on sustainability.
When Sebastian talks about his work, his eyes start to sparkle: “The passion for the profession of shoemaking comes from making something emerge. This journey from the first flash of an idea to the finished piece, this very process of creation, fills you with a sense of accomplishment that is second to none.”
We at legero united can only agree. The shared commitment, not only to our end product, but to each other and the world we live in, makes us grow together – and unite.