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EARNINGS

How much money do people earn in Austria – and which jobs are the best paid?

Austria is well-known for having high salaries and a high quality of life. But how much do people actually earn? And what are the best and worst paid jobs in Austria?

How much money do people earn in Austria - and which jobs are the best paid?
Mowing the lawn is a great way to work on your suntan, but is on the lower end of the pay spectrum. Image: AFP

Like most countries, professions like doctors, lawyers and psychologists are well paid.

These jobs also require many years of university education, which is reflected in the salaries as people progress in their career.

Then there are tradespeople, such as carpenters, electricians and agricultural workers. These professions are typically not in the same salary bracket as the doctors and lawyers.

However, some specialised workers can still earn a high income in Austria.

Other well-paid jobs in Austria are marketing and PR roles, project managers, engineers and business development managers.

It’s worth noting that there isn’t a legal minimum wage in Austria.

Instead there are collective agreements in place with social partners to pay workers a minimum of €1,500 gross (before tax) per month. 

What do the statistics say?

The latest official Statista figures show that in 2019 the average annual salary in Austria was €44,689. 

According to Statistics Austria, the lowest incomes in 2020 were for blue collar jobs with a median salary of €21,961. The highest earners were civil servants with a median annual salary of €59,145.

Not surprisingly, some of the highest earners are in management, technology development, IT, law and banking.

The Lohnspiegel, a salary comparison website, states the average monthly salary for a lawyer in Austria is €4,100, and for an IT manager it’s €3,891. 

On the other side of the fence, some of the lowest paid workers are in the hotel and hospitality industry.

The average monthly salary for a waitress is a €1,610, but the minimum rate is just €1,303.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz earns €316,652 gross per year – or €22,618 per month. Photo: AFP.

Regional differences

The average salary can vary between the different regions in Austria, depending on the cost of living and the types of industry operating in the area.

Workers can expect the highest salaries in Vienna, Innsbruck in Tyrol and St Pölten in Lower Austria. In fact, most metropolitan areas have higher salaries than rural regions.

On a regional basis, the lowest salaries can be found in Tyrol, where tourism is a key industry. The highest salaries can be found in Lower Austria, where the main industries are manufacturing and healthcare. 

What about the gender pay gap?

The gender pay gap has long been a topic of discussion in Austria, which stands at 19.9 per cent in favour of men. This is above the EU average of 14.1 per cent

This means that women in Austria are roughly earning 80 per cent of what men earn.

A big part of this is the division of the labour market between male and female dominated roles, with “male” jobs earning significantly more.

For example, women are more likely to work in the hospitality industry than men, which is one of the lowest-paying professions in the country.

Motherhood and household duties also play a part with most women switching to part time work as they take care of the family and the men become the main household earner.

What about the pandemic?

A lot has happened in the past 12 months. Most notably, coronavirus swept the globe and caused economic upheaval, which forced some companies to lay off staff.

In pre-pandemic times (2019), unemployment levels in Austria were decreasing on a monthly basis with the average unemployment rate at 4.5 per cent.

Since then, the tourism and hospitality industries have taken a big economic hit due to the ongoing coronavirus restrictions. This resulted in the unemployment rate rising to 11.4 per cent in January 2021.

It’s not all bad news though. The construction sector is still performing well and Economics Minister Margarete Schramböck said industry has created 450,000 jobs in Austria in recent months.

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JOBS

EXPLAINED: How to find a summer job in Austria?

Though Austria is mainly known for its winter resorts, there is no shortage of possibilities for those looking for seasonal jobs in summer.

EXPLAINED: How to find a summer job in Austria?

Summer is coming up, and those few hot months are a perfect opportunity for many people to get a seasonal job and earn some extra cash.

Austria’s economy is heavily based on tourism. But even though the winter resorts and sports are what the alpine country is most well-known for, the summer months are also hectic in the tourism and gastronomy sectors.

The demand for seasonal workers usually is high but has increased even more in the last few years. According to the Austrian employment agency AMS, there are more than 15,000 open positions in gastronomy and tourism still lacking workers.

The pandemic widened the gap, as the sector was hardly hit by lockdowns and changes in consumer behaviour. With coronavirus restrictions, the field lost some of its attraction. It is still having trouble finding new labour, AMS boss Johannes Kopf told broadcaster ORF.

A summer without coronavirus restrictions

However, for the first time since the pandemic started, Austria will see a summer with almost no coronavirus restrictions.

The country has recently dropped its 3G rule for entry for travellers, meaning that tourists (and residents) no longer have to show proof that they were vaccinated against Covid-19, recently recovered from the disease or tested negative.

The expectation is high that this will boost tourism, especially as the 3G rules and the mask mandate also fell in most indoor areas.

READ MORE: LATEST: What are Austria’s current Covid-19 rules?

Last year, even with some restrictions still in place, the sector saw a recovery compared to 2020 but was still not at pre-pandemic levels, according to Statistik Austria.

Still, the May to October season had more than 66 million overnight stays, with almost half of them (42.7 per cent) coming from Germany.

From imperial cities to lakes and mountains, Austria has no shortage of offers during summer. As travelling resumes, the sector is desperately looking for workers.

vienna, pratter

Vienna is big touristic destination also during summer months (Photo by Anton on Unsplash)

Where can I find summer jobs in Austria?

The capital is undoubtedly where most visitors come, according to Statistik Austria. However, it is also where many establishments have a year-round crew, and seasonal work might not be as easy to find.

It is far from impossible, though, and it is worth the search if you have your eyes set on Vienna.

READ ALSO: One day in Vienna: How to spend 24 hours in the Austrian capital

However, other major Austrian cities also have openings, most notably the touristic towns of and around Innsbruck and Salzburg. Of course, the mountainous region of Austria might be most famous for its ski slopes. Still, they also offer breathtaking summer views, cool and beautiful alpine lakes, and numerous hiking trails.

Plus excellent hotels for people to stay in and great Austrian restaurants – all looking for employees.

What types of jobs are available?

There are many job openings to skim through, but most will be the most traditional service work in tourism and gastronomy: waitressing, housekeeping, cooking, and reception.

If you look outside of Vienna, several professions in the tourism and gastronomy sector are included in Austria’s list of shortage occupations.

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

Those include some surprising ones like department store sales clerks, waiters and waitresses, masseuses, and others. If you don’t have a right to work in Austria (non-EU citizens without a work permit, for example), being skilled in a shortage occupation makes it easier to be hired and get a residence permit.

Most of these jobs will require a certain level of German, especially since Germans are an overwhelming part of tourists entering Austria. However, the high demand for workers might help those who do not speak the language yet, especially for positions that don’t require much customer interaction.

READ ALSO: Austria: Six German expressions to entice your Wanderlust

Another popular job for summer is instructor, or caretaker, in summer camps. As many of them are bilingual or in English, German is not usually a mandatory language – there are also positions for English teachers, especially in camps and schools with summer courses.

Where can I find these jobs?

As with most industries and professions, searching online is usually the first step in finding a summer job in Austria.

Outside of known employment platforms such as Glassdoor and LinkedIn, Austria’s Karriere.at might be a good place to look.

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

Hogastjob is also a local platform with plenty of seasonal offers in Austria, Germany and Italy (South Tyrol region).

Another approach is to contact resorts or hotels directly to find out when they are hiring for the summer season and the types of roles that will be available – they should also have a job vacancies page on official websites that you can check.

Or get in touch with friends that have previously worked in the summer season in Austria and ask for a recommendation.

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