Retaining Employees in rural areas through improved work-life balance

AuthorDirectorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (European Commission)
© ABZ*AUSTRiA, 2019
V/Faktor f‌lyers
Problem addressed
In Austria, levels of rural unemployment and monetary
deprivation are among the lowest in the EU. However, there
are particularly high levels of high-skilled emigration from
rural to urban areas among women and young parents
and this has raised concerns about the future prosperity
of Austria’s rural areas. Excessive rural emigration
among skilled workers can lead to long-term economic
stagnation in af‌fected areas, given that certain industries
may fail to attract or retain qualif‌ied staf‌f. Reasons for
the emigration of high-skilled staf‌f include inadequate
childcare arrangements, stereotypical gender role models
and inadequate mobility opportunities.
Innovative solution
V/Faktor (2017–2019) is an innovative pilot project launched
in three rural Austrian regions with high emigration rates
among qualif‌ied women and young families. This initiative
aims to help businesses to retain or attract qualif‌ied workers
by facilitating the reconciliation of work, family and private
life for employees with personal responsibilities such as
childcare, education, caring for relatives or volunteering.
Measures to improve the work-life balance of employees
are traditionally organised through national legislation
or the initiative of individual companies. By contrast, V/
Faktor works at regional level by fostering partnerships
between businesses, municipal authorities and other
stakeholders to develop innovative and locally relevant
work-life balance initiatives.
The project conducted an initial consultation to
understand local businesses’ satisfaction with existing
work-life balance measures and identify their needs. The
online survey, which reached nearly 600 companies, was
supplemented with 240 personal interviews, revealing
common challenges to equality and reconciliation among
the three Austrian regions. These included inadequate
childcare, stereotypical gender role models and inadequate
mobility concepts.
Participating businesses were then connected to V/Faktor
project partners (consulting f‌irms ABZ*Austria, BAB and
ÖAR) to receive tailored consulting for the design and
implementation of work-life balance measures that are
appropriate to their industrial and regional contexts.
Retaining employees in rural areas
through improved work-life balance

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