Attaining the title of attorney-at-law requires eleven years
of training. Four years of this period consist of prescribed
studies in law and political science at a university. On
completion of a doctoral program, the candidate undergoes a
seven-year apprenticeship, during which one year must be spent in
a civil or criminal court and three years in an attorney's
office. Finally, it is necessary to pass the bar examination.
Civil servants have held a position of respect in Austrian
society since the formation of the civil service in the
eighteenth century, when it was considered to be "carrying out a
mission for the state." The civil service is highly regulated.
Public servants take an oath of office, promise obedience to
their superiors, and pledge to keep official matters secret. A
civil servant may neither join an association nor be employed in
another job that could be interpreted as unworthy of his or her
Besides the high esteem in which the civil service is held,
job security is also an attractive feature. Periodic raises are
automatic, and promotions are scheduled at regular intervals. The
retirement pension is adequate. A civil servant may be dismissed
only for serious misconduct.
During the grand coalition of 1945-66, the ÍVP and SPÍ
introduced the system of Proporz into the civil service.
Prior to the founding of the Second Republic, the civil service
had been dominated by ÍVP members, and thus after 1945 special
steps were taken to recruit persons with ties to the SPÍ. The two
parties came to exercise almost complete control of the personnel
of the ministries that they controlled in the cabinet. During the
period of single-party rule (1966-83), the importance of
political allegiance came to play a lesser role in the selection
process of the civil service. Chancellor Kreisky made sure that a
large number of persons without party affiliation were appointed
to high-level positions in the civil service.
Reforms also were introduced in this period to make the civil
service better able to attract highly qualified people. In 1975 a
civil service training academy was established, and after 1980
some top positions were changed to fixed-term appointments.
Further changes were made to give equal opportunity for career
advancement to all members of the civil service, regardless of
their specialty. Traditionally, people with legal training had a
decided advantage in rising to the top of the system. As of 1993,
the government was working on a comprehensive reform of the civil
Data as of December 1993