For members


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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For members


EXPLAINED: How to register as self-employed in Austria

Working as a freelancer in Austria is an attractive prospect for international residents. But the process might not be as easy as back home. Here’s what you need to know.

EXPLAINED: How to register as self-employed in Austria

Anyone that has set up a business as a freelancer in Austria will know how confusing it can be. Especially if they are from countries like the UK and US where starting a business as a sole trader is fairly easy.

In Austria though, there are several steps to registering as self-employed, with limited information in English on how to navigate the process. 

So to help foreigners in Austria get started, we spoke to Vienna-based business consultant Miglena Hofer to break down the steps when registering as self-employed.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: What can I deduct from my tax bill in Austria?

Obtain a business licence (or not)

The first step to becoming self-employed in Austria is finding out if you need a business licence.

Sounds simple enough, right? But for those without strong German language skills, it can quickly become tricky.

Miglena Hofer told The Local: “There is a lack of information about the process in English, especially explanatory information. 

“In Austria there are also different types of self-employed people. The two main types are business owner and operator, and the new self-employed [such as writers, photographers].” 

“Almost everything requires a business licence in Austria. Even if you only intend to cover costs with your work, it still counts as a business.”

READ NEXT: ‘Brutal’: What it’s really like to learn German in Austria

The Ministry of Labour and Economics has a list of regulated trades that need a business licence in Austria (only available in German). Professions include electrician, hairdresser, florist and masseuse. 

If you do need a business licence, an application has to be submitted by the first day you plan to start working in your business. 

To apply for a licence, visit the Gewerbe­informations­system Austria (Business Information System Austria). This website has the option to translate the information into English.

Any professions that don’t require a business licence, like journalists, artists and teachers, are classed as new self-employed (Neu Selbständige) and can move on to the next steps.

Notify the tax office 

This involves filling in the form Verf24 and sending it to the tax office (Finanzamt) to inform them that you are self-employed. There is a deadline of four weeks after you have started operating for this part of the process.

You also have to make an appointment at the WKÖ (Austrian Economic Chamber) and become a member. This involves paying an annual fee (which varies depending on the type of business) and in some places, like in the Alps, you might have to pay a tourist tax.

However, finding information or help in English at this stage can be difficult, and business consultant Miglena advises anyone struggling to reach out for help.

FOR MEMBERS: Digital nomad visas: How does Austria compare with other countries?

She said: “Many Austrians refuse to give advice in English, which is a curious thing. This applies to all kinds of professional services, but it’s important that we are understood.

“I don’t want people to be afraid. I want to make starting a business in Austria easy. Once you know how to do it, it’s fine. But it’s easy to feel lost and be overwhelmed by legal German words.”

Set up social insurance

The final stage in the process is to register with SVS – the social insurance fund for self-employed people in Austria.

It is mandatory for everyone living in Austria to have social insurance (or comprehensive private health insurance). It gives people access to public health care and includes pension contributions.

Registering with SVS has to take place within four weeks from the date of starting a business. You will then receive an e-card (if you don’t already have one) and start paying social insurance bills on a quarterly basis.

The good news about SVS payments though is that they are tax deductible, so don’t forget to include them in your bookkeeping.

Useful vocabulary

Business registration – Gewerbeanmeldung

Business licence – Gewerbeschein

New self-employed – Neu Selbständige

Social insurance – Sozialversicherung

Tax – Steuer

Tax office – Finanzamt

Useful links

Austrian tax office

Business Information System Austria (GISA)

Social insurance

Self-employed in Austria

Ministry of Labour and Economy