For members


‘I feel ripped off’: What it’s really like living in Austria right now

It’s no secret that life is stressful and expensive, but how is the situation affecting international residents in Austria? We asked readers of The Local how they feel about it.

'I feel ripped off': What it’s really like living in Austria right now
Even cheap groceries, cleaning supplies and beauty products are now being hit by inflation in Austria. (Photo by Markus Spiske / Pexels)

A quick glance at the latest news headlines is enough to give anyone anxiety right now, with crises in Austria ranging from inflation to war and climate change.

There is also the possibility of an energy shortage this winter as the war in Ukraine and sanctions against Russia continue to impact gas supplies to Austria.

Plus, this is all taking place against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, which is not completely over yet.

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So how are these issues impacting international residents? And how do they feel about living in Austria?

Here’s what readers of The Local had to say.

‘It takes away optimism’

The biggest concern in Austria right now is the rising cost of living, according to the results from our latest reader survey. Almost half of all respondents (49 percent) said this was the most pressing issue for the country.

In second place was the energy crisis (27 percent), followed by climate change (18 percent) and the war in Ukraine (6 percent). No one said they are worried about Covid-19.

When asked why they are concerned about the cost of living, several readers said Austria was already an expensive country and inflation was making the situation worse.

READ ALSO: ‘Mission 11’: Austrian government reveals tips on how to save energy and fuel

But others were more specific, like Masha from Slovenia who said: “It affects me as a 33-year old. It takes away optimism to be able to afford my own apartment.”

Whereas Max Mustermann from Romania said: “Earning a decent salary does not seem to be enough anymore.” 

For those mostly concerned about the energy crisis, rising costs are also a factor, which ties in with the overall high cost of living in Austria.

Kenneth in Klagenfurt said: “The cost of energy has become unaffordable.”

Vineet Deshpande from India said he is worried about “heating being less powerful, and electricity and gas prices increasing a lot”.

And Patrick in Villach said the energy crisis is the biggest concern “because it is an essential part of living”.

READ ALSO: Why are Austrians so pessimistic right now and is there any reason to be positive?

However, Jimi in Vienna said he is most concerned about climate change, describing it as having the “greatest irreversible consequences”.

A respondent in Vienna, who is also worried about climate change, said: “The change in weather patterns is having a direct effect on nature (trees, water, etc.). In turn, this affects our lives in uncertain ways and the future of our children and grandchildren.”

READ NEXT: Austria to add €0.25 deposit to price of cans and plastic bottles

Most people are still happy to be living in Austria despite the current challenges. (Photo by Frank J on Pexels)

‘Living here is amazing’

Despite some big issues to deal with, 55 percent of respondents said they are happy living in Austria, followed by 30 percent who said “somewhat happy” and 15 percent who are unhappy.

Similarly, 65 percent said they don’t have any plans to leave the country. But out of those that do want to leave Austria, 22 percent said they will move to somewhere else and 13 percent said they plan to move back to their home country.

Joseph Abi Haidar, who is happy with life in Austria, said: “I come from Lebanon and we have a big economic crisis. Living here with all basic needs provided in such a beautiful country with history, architecture, nature and night life is amazing.”

Patrick in Villach said he is happy in Austria due to the “relative peace”.

Vineet in Vienna praised the city’s public transport system and “affordable rent prices”.

READ ALSO: ‘Stressful learning German’: How a Ukrainian family is adapting to life in Austria

But one respondent, who asked to remain anonymous, commented: “There’s a hidden aggressiveness and discomfort in people. It may become obvious soon.”

Meanwhile, Max in Vienna, who is not happy in Austria, said: “I feel ripped off at every corner.”

And one reader from Ukraine, who plans to move to another country, said: “Completely no possibility to integrate into society.”

Another respondent, who is somewhat happy in Austria, went a bit further and said: “It’s a beautiful country that offers a good standard of living for families (overall). 

“But the pandemic and now the energy crisis really illustrates the incompetence of the political leadership and the country’s two-faced approach to green energy and social assistance.  

“I am concerned that Austria will slide down the charts of being a desirable place to live. The language is also challenging, and frankly, it’s just tough trying to interact with Austrians.” 

Finally, one Austrian citizen who is currently living in the US but hoping to return to Austria to retire, simply said the cost of energy is a big concern. As a result, they are planning to move to another country instead.

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For members


How much do you need to earn for a good life in Austria?

Austria is known as a country with a high standard of living, but it also comes with a high cost of living. Here’s an overview of what you can expect to earn in Austria.

How much do you need to earn for a good life in Austria?

As with most things in Austria, the question of ‘what is a good salary?’ is difficult to answer as the cost of living (and wages) can vary between states and cities.

For example, the east of Austria is typically much cheaper than the west for housing (with the exception of Vienna). And those living in cities often have easier – and cheaper – access to public transport when compared with people living in rural areas. 

READ ALSO: ‘Bad-tempered locals’: Vienna ranked the world’s ‘unfriendliest city’

Childcare is also something to consider with huge differences between Vienna, where there is access to heavily subsidised services, and places like Tyrol where childcare costs more.

To delve a bit deeper, we looked at the data to find out the average salary in Austria and how it differs between professions and locations.

What is the average salary in Austria?

In 2021, the average gross annual salary in Austria was €44,395, according to the latest data from Statistics Austria

However, in the latest survey by online job platform Step Stone, the average gross annual salary in Austria is €49,609.

The Step Stone survey then broke it down further by industry with those working in pharma earning the most at €60,504. This was followed by energy at €60,345, medical technology at €59,106 and banking at €58,711.

The industry with the lowest average annual salary is hotels/gastronomy at €37,546, followed by agriculture at €39,779 and tourism at €43,965.

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Occupation also plays a part with people working in management earning the most – on average €66,768. Consulting came second at €53,721.

And like many other European countries, the gender pay gap in Austria prevails. The average annual salary for a man is €52,633 and for a woman it is €44,330.

Furthermore, the top earning city in Austria is Bregenz in Vorarlberg with an average annual salary of €54,620. When comparing the west of Austria with the east, the median salary in Vorarlberg is €46,450, whereas in Burgenland it is just €39,100.

What is the average cost of living in Austria?

Many international residents will find everyday living costs in Austria to be expensive, especially for those that come from countries with a much lower cost of living.

Inflation has also been rising steadily in Austria throughout 2022, leading to some steep rises in prices for groceries, housing costs and energy.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: 10 ways to save money on your groceries in Austria

However, the average cost of living varies across the country, depending on the location. For example, Vienna and Innsbruck in Tyrol are two of Austria’s most expensive cities, but more affordable places to live are Graz in Styria and Klagenfurt in Carinthia.

In Vienna, the average price for a one bedroom apartment in the city centre is €915, going up to €2,000 for a three bedroom apartment, according to Expat Arrivals.

Whereas in Graz, the average cost of a one bedroom city centre apartment is around €609, and a three bedroom apartment is €1,170.