When browsing through job listings, I often come across the term "Werkstudent", as far as I could find out it simply means jobs for students. But I wonder, can I (not a student anymore) be denied for that position simply because I am not currently at university? It is not about a specific programme you have to be enrolled in but you just need to be at some university studying whatever.

If so, what is the reason for doing that? I suspect that it has something to do with the salary and it is widely accepted to pay students less than any other person.

  • 4
    You may want to rephrase this to focus more on asking "does it make sense for me to apply to these?" if that's what you're really wondering. If it's more of a theoretical question consider expanding the definition and whether you're specifically asking about this "werkstudent" concept. If that's anything like similar intern programs in Europe the answer is more likely due to fiscal advantages (companies pay way less tax on students for instance). But would be good if you can confirm you're specifically asking about this term or not.
    – Lilienthal
    May 17, 2021 at 19:07
  • Would it be possible that these jobs are internships? In Austria, do companies get benefits (e.g. tax benefits) for hiring students enrolled in university? Or maybe these positions are New Grad jobs, and they're targeting students that are about to graduate?
    – zmike
    May 17, 2021 at 20:08
  • In the US, it's quite common to hire interns, and the company can require they be attending school. I'm not giving an answer, since I don't know the Austrian equivalent. May 17, 2021 at 21:13
  • In Austria many students get "Studienbeihilfe" and/or "Familienbeihilfe", which are subsidies from the state for young people still in education/training. There is a limit on how much you can earn per month/year, otherwise you will lose this subsidies. So I guess "Werstudenten" jobs are tailored for this, to not earn/work to much (e.g. max 20h/week) May 19, 2021 at 12:17

1 Answer 1


But I wonder, can I (not a student anymore) be denied for that position simply because I am not currently at university?

Yes. Werkstudent is similar to an internship or co-op. It's a specific arrangement for students so they can get some exposure to the real world and do something useful in the process. The intent is quite a different from regular employment. Typically the idea is:

  1. It's time limited. There is no expectation of permanent employment. When your time is done you go back to school.
  2. Onboarding is limited: since you are only staying for, say, 3 months or so, the company is not going to invest in a full onboarding process.
  3. Compensation is small-ish and sometimes zero.
  4. Benefits work differently. That depends a lot local rules but for example, you may be expected to have health insurance through your student status.
  5. It's often a requirement for some decree courses and the university will manage the paperwork around it.

In most cases, it really doesn't make sense to hire a non-student for this type of position since it's specifically designed for students.

It's not unheard of to have fresh graduates do an internship if they can't find something else, but it's not the intent and not a great situation for either party.

  • Are these backed by the government with some type of benefit to the company? In Canada, the government provides tax breaks, so the company have legal requirements to report to both the University and Government.
    – Nelson
    May 18, 2021 at 3:50

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