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Working in Vienna: How to find a job in the Austrian capital

Vienna is the capital of Austria with a large international population and a burgeoning job market. Here's what you need to know about finding work in Vienna.

Working in Vienna: How to find a job in the Austrian capital
How do you best look for work in Vienna? Photo by Vojtech Okenka from Pexels

Austria’s capital city Vienna is a popular base for international companies and organisations – many of which have adopted English as the working language.

This makes Vienna a key hub for jobs with many international residents choosing to base themselves in the city for work.

But what types of jobs are available in Vienna? And what is it like to work in Vienna as a foreigner?

Here’s what you need to know.

What types of jobs are available in Vienna?

A pre-pandemic report published by the City of Vienna in 2019 revealed the city was in 18th place out of 281 EU regions for economic output per capita, with half of all foreign companies in Austria settling in Vienna.

Additionally, one fourth of Austria’s total value added (the market price of a final product or service) is generated in the federal capital.

High-profile global companies based in Vienna include Deloitte, Allianz, Eversports, Microsoft, Boston Consulting Group, Siemens, ING and STRABAG.

READ MORE: What are the top jobs for international residents in Austria?

Then there are organisations like the United Nations (UN), AIEA (a branch of the UN for peace and development), plus the University of Vienna, which is a big employer.

When it comes to jobs, a quick search online by The Local found many English-language roles advertised in Vienna, particularly for web developers, software engineers and roles in academia.

Companies advertising jobs included international organisations and Austria-based companies with headquarters in the capital.

Working in the university sector

With a research pedigree which rivals the best university cities the world over, it’s perhaps no surprise that many of the jobs available in Vienna are in research-related fields. 

There are more than 40,000 researchers in Vienna, which makes up around 40 percent of Austria’s total investment into research. 

Vienna is the biggest university city in the German-speaking world. It’s 190,000 students – more than Berlin, Munich or Zurich – are spread across nine universities, five technical colleges and more than 1,500 research institutions. 

Two of the most popular are life sciences and information technologies, while creative industries, urban technologies and the environment are also important research areas, the Vienna state government notes

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz at a job fair in Austria. Photo: HANS PUNZ / APA / AFP

What is it like to work in Vienna?

Moving to a city in another country, whether for work or love, turns people into migrants. 

This can be an uncomfortable realisation, especially for people from countries like the UK that has traditionally viewed time spent overseas as being an expat. 

According to Sam Wade, a Native Speaker Teacher in Vienna and co-host of The Autsiders Podcast, this is something that shouldn’t be overlooked – no matter where people come from – and will help with adjusting to the new work environment in Austria.

Sam told The Local: “An important first step is to drop the identifier of being an expat and accept that you are, or will be, a migrant worker.” 

“This prepares you in two ways – first for how Austrians will probably look at you, like they are doing you a favour by letting you live and work here. 

“And secondly because it highlights the kind of support or advice that’s available for other migrant workers. 

“It makes you more willing to accept help and advice should it be offered, and increases solidarity with workers from countries who never get to be expats – you never hear people saying Turkish expat, Bulgarian or Nigerian expat.”

Additionally, most visas and work permits for people from non-EU countries (which now includes the UK) are tied to conditions, such as learning German up to a certain level (in most cases Level A2).

These rules apply to everyone, with the aim to assist international residents with integration in Austria.

Where and how to search for a job in Vienna

Most job searches in Vienna start online in the usual places like LinkedIn and Indeed. But there are some Austria-specific websites and platforms to be aware of too.

We might be biased, but The Local runs our own job site which covers Austria as a whole and four cities: Vienna, Graz, Salzburg and Linz. 

It’s a good way to check out which English-speaking jobs are on offer and the conditions that might be available. 

As at August 17th, there are currently 310 jobs advertised on The Local Austria’s Vienna platform

Jobs in Vienna is dedicated to job-seeking professionals and international residents in the capital.

Karriere is an Austrian job website that lists English-speaking jobs across the country, including Vienna.

Then there is XING, which is similar to LinkedIn but focuses on the German-speaking job market.

Other large Austrian publications like Der Standard and Kurier also have their own job sites, although keep in mind that these are primarily German-speaking. 

For many professional jobs, English is the primary business language – especially if it’s an international role. 

But German language skills are always an advantage, and sometimes a necessity, depending on the job.

What about recruiters – can they help me find work in Austria and how often are they used? 

The use recruiters differs greatly from city to city – and from country to country. 

In some countries like Australia and Germany, recruiters are relatively rare and tend to be for specific professions, while in other countries like the UK recruiters are almost essential. 

In Vienna, the majority of people will do the recruiting heavy lifting themselves, but using a recruiter can be particularly beneficial for foreigners who might not know the ins and outs of how to best prepare yourself for finding a job in Vienna. 

Recruiters such as Manpower and Mondial have an international reach and offer English-speaking services, while for specific industries it will be worth having a Google search to see what’s available. 

Whether you go with a recruiter or not, one incredibly important aspect is to prepare your CV appropriately. 

While a CV won’t differ much from Vienna to other parts of the country, there are some notable differences in Austria you should be aware of. Check out the following link for more info. 

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about preparing your CV in Austria

What is the attitude towards work in Austria?

In Austria, the attitude towards work is a bit different to many English-speaking countries.

The first noticeable difference is that people tend to start work earlier in the day.

For example, in the UK and the USA, starting work at 9am is normal. But in Austria it’s common to start work at 8am, or even earlier at some companies.

Plus, many workplaces finish the working week at lunchtime on Friday, allowing staff to enjoy a long weekend.

Collaboration is a big part of working life in Austria too, with a focus on allowing all stakeholders to have their say.

Then there is the positive work-life balance, with most Austrians adopting the work to live approach to life, rather than choosing to live to work. 

FOR MEMBERS: Everything you need to know about finding a job in Austria

For people from places like the UK, USA and Australia where there is a strong culture of presenteeism and an ‘always-on’ attitude, the Austrian approach to work can be a welcome change.

Sam, originally from Cambridge in the UK, also advises people to educate themselves about the union system for their industry.

He said: “For people from English-speaking countries like the USA and the UK, they probably won’t expect the level of support and protection they can get from their union in Austria or the Arbeiterkammer.”

The Arbeiterkammer is the Chamber of Labour in Austria and is focused on social justice. It’s the go-to place for work-related legal advice.

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WORKING IN AUSTRIA

Six official websites to know if you’re planning to work in Austria

If you are moving to Austria and planning to work once you're here, there are a few websites that you need to know.

Six official websites to know if you’re planning to work in Austria

Austria is certainly one of the best countries to work in, with strong labour laws that give employees access to public health insurance through their employers, a minimum five weeks of paid vacation and many rights for families.

The alpine country is also known for its high quality of living. Residents can enjoy cheap public transport, public schools and plenty of free or cheap cultural, sports and leisure options.

There are also many vacant jobs, and the country is aiming to make it easier for foreigners who have qualifications to come fill in those jobs – many in nursing and healthcare professions, but a lot in several other so-called “shortage occupations”.

READ ALSO: How Austria is making it easier for non-EU workers to get residence permits

If you are planning to work in Austria, here are a few government or government-linked websites to know.

Migration.gv.at

It may not look very modern, but this website will have most of the things you’ll need if you want to move to Austria – especially coming from countries outside of the European Union.

This is where you will find the infamous “point calculator” to see if you get the minimum amount of points based on specific criteria (such as age, education, and language knowledge) to be able to apply for certain work-based residence permits.

There are also many pages explaining the different visas, permits, and many other issues with migration to Austria. The website has a very extensive and complete English version.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: The 2022 salary requirements for Austria’s EU Blue Card

ABA – Work in Austria

ABA – Work in Austria is a department of the Austrian Business Agency, which operates under the Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs in Austria.

The website has plenty of information – in English – about Austria, living and working in the country, and its job market. ABA – Work in Austria also offers services, including relocation and recognition of qualifications.

Vienna Business Agency

Another site aimed at expats and immigrants but connected to the City of Vienna. The website is entirely in English (there is a German version, too), and most of it will have tips and services for businesses and startups settling in the Austrian capital.

However, there is also an extensive advice area for foreigners. 

People moving to Vienna can also schedule in-person and free appointments to receive advice on anything from setting up a company to paying taxes.

READ ALSO: The downsides of Vienna you should be aware of before moving there

Portal der Arbeiterkammern

This is the Chamber of Labour website, which is an organisation that represents the interests of 3 million Austrian employees and consumers.

Even if you are not a member, it still has plenty of valuable information on Austria’s working and labour market. The website, however, is only in German.

Der Wirtschaftskammer

Also, a local website, WKO is the Austrian Chamber of Commerce, and even though it is only in German, it holds a lot of information, especially on labour laws in the country.

Furthermore, it is possible to schedule a free appointment with an English-speaking representative to answer questions on employment, self-employment, and more.

READ ALSO: Which are the best companies to work for in Austria?

Public Employment Service Austria (AMS)

This is Austria’s official provider of labour-market related services. The government agency offers placement assistance and vocational counselling.

It is also the point of contact for those looking to register as employees, hire people or seek many of the benefits (including unemployment payments) that they are entitled to. It also has a job-looking platform.

Even though a part of the website is in English, most of the pages are in German only. It is also challenging to find people willing to speak English at the AMS offices.

Bonus website: The Local

Besides our news website, with pieces that will help you learn more about life in Austria and be up to date on the latest and most important information, The Local also has a job search platform where you can look for open positions which require only the English language.

Check out our jobs platform here. 

Do you know any other government or government-linked websites that might be useful for people working in Austria? Let us know: [email protected]

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