Which are the best companies to work for in Austria?

From international giants to local companies, here are the most attractive employers in Austria.

office and workers
Austrian companies, and companies in Austria, look for ways to attract talent in a competitive environment. (Photo by Alex Kotliarskyi on Unsplash)

Austria is undoubtedly a rich country full of employment opportunities. It has both a vibrant multicultural scene, with international companies choosing to expand to the alpine lands, and well structured, traditional local businesses.

But what are the best companies to work for in Austria?

There are a few pillars shown to lead to career progression: the ability to advance; skills growth; company stability; external opportunity; company affinity; gender diversity, and educational background, according to research from employment social network LinkedIn.

In Austria, this is the first time the social network website tracked employee data to evaluate things like gender parity within a company, how employees are gaining skills while employed within a company, and other updates people will add to their professional pages reflecting how working for a particular firm could advance their careers.

Here are the best companies to work for in Austria:

1. Raiffeisen Bankengruppe. The bank offers flexible working hours, company kindergartens, and re-entry programs after maternity leave.

2. Siemens. The engineering and innovation company currently has a 92 per cent vaccination rate, and full order books, in its Austrian division.

3. UniCredit. The financial company is the parent firm of Bank Austria. It is famous for its environmentally friendly headquarters in Vienna, with strong social investments and its own employee leisure centre.

4. Bosch. The engineering program is known for promoting from within, with 90 per cent of managers coming from their own ranks.

5. Novartis. The pharmaceutical company wants to increase equal opportunities in hiring and has founded its own women’s network.

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6. Red Bull. The Austrian company that makes the famous homonymous energy drink is expanding and advancing its organic productions. It also has its headquarters in Salzburg state – which is very popular among employers.

7. OMV. The Austrian energy giant is certainly in the headlines after the Ukrainian crisis. Still, it was before known for offering several performance incentives to its employees.

8. Takeda. The pharmaceutical producer has a good reputation as an employer in terms of diversity and family-friendly policies.

9. AVL. The automobile company is focusing on electric cars and e-fuels, and it relies on creative methods and a modern work environment to attract talent to its Graz headquarters.

10. Knapp. The logistics firm is growing fast and bringing in many skilled workers in the fields of mechatronics, electrics, and software.

And here are the other top companies to work for in Austria:

11. Lufthansa Group
12. ÖBB
13. Wiener Städtische Versicherung
14. Rewe Group
15. Voestalbine
16. Boehringer Ingelheim
17. Mondi Group
18. EY
19. Frequentis
20. RHI Magnesita
21. Fronius International
22. BMW Group
23. A1 Telekom Austria
24. Atos

READ ALSO: Can I work for my foreign employer as a self-employed person in Austria?

Only companies that have at least 500 employees in Austria are eligible to be on the ranking, according to the study. Additionally, companies with layoffs during the year that amount to more than 10 per cent of their workforce are also ineligible.

The list also excludes staffing and recruiting firms, educational institutions, and government agencies – as well as LinkedIn itself and its parent company Microsoft and its subsidiaries.

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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.”

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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.

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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