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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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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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