Follow-up study on the social and economic benefits of alternative civilian service in Austria
The Civilian Service Service Agency (Zivildienstserviceagentur, "ZISA") in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Regions and Tourism has commissioned the NPO & SE Competence Center to survey the benefits of regular and extraordinary civilian service.
Herewith the NPO & SE Competence Center updates the study "The social and economic benefits of alternative civilian service in Austria", which will be published in 2012. This study used data from 2010 to show that alternative civilian service in Austria produces positive benefits for society as a whole and, compared to the alternative "no civilian service", has significantly more positive economic impacts. The economic benefits/impacts of the "Zivildienst" in 2010 exceed a cost reduction due to the abolition of the civilian service by about 140 million euros. In the update of this study, the social and economic benefits of alternative civilian service for the year 2019 are assessed against the background of a changing labour market. A new focus is placed on the social impacts of alternative service, especially for those doing civilian service, but also for society as a whole. For example, those doing civilian service are sensitised to the social sector and learn skills in the social or health sector that can also be used after completion of the service. This also benefits the general population, for example in times of crisis, when such skills are needed.
The use of this human capital in times of crisis, such as during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, is analysed in the second part of the study, because in the context of the pandemic, civilian service was given an additional role in crisis management. In a very short period of time, the extraordinary civilian service made it possible to acquire about 3,000 additional "voluntary" civilian servicemen and to prolong civilian service in order to contribute to the maintenance and expansion of benefits. The NPO & SE Competence Center is investigating this described benefit of extraordinary civilian service in social crisis situations.