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WORKING IN AUSTRIA

Salzburg, Linz, Graz: Where are Austria’s biggest companies?

Vienna might have the most foreigners but there are lots of English-speaking jobs to be found outside of the capital. You just need to know where to look.

Salzburg, Linz, Graz: Where are Austria’s biggest companies?
Vienna might be Austria's capital city but it doesn't mean it's the only hub for jobs. (Photo by PhotoMIX Company / Pexels)

Most international residents think of Vienna when searching for a new job in Austria. 

But there are plenty of big companies based outside of the capital – with many hiring employees from all over the world.

Here’s a guide to some of Austria’s biggest companies in Salzburg, Linz and Graz.

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Salzburg

The big name in Salzburg is Austrian-owned Red Bull. The organisation’s Media House is based in the district of Siezenheim, then there is the Red Bull Base in Elsbethen and the corporate campus in Fuschl am See.

For many jobs at Red Bull, the required language is English, with some job descriptions asking for both German and English. Examples of current vacancies (at the time of writing) include internships, sales, marketing and IT engineering roles.

Another big company located in Salzburg is Hofer – the supermarket holding company. The International Management Holding branch of the company is located at Michael-Walz-Gasse near Salzburg Airport.

The team at Hofer is international and many roles require fluent English. Positions at Hofer include BI Front End Developer (salary €52,100) and IT Consultant Finance (€3,700 per month). Both roles ask for fluent English language skills.

READ MORE: Unemployment in Austria remains low despite high inflation pressures

Linz

Linz is the home of industry in Austria with companies specialising in steel and machine construction. It also has a thriving creative scene with Ars Electronica serving as a base for technology-based arts.

One big, international company based in Linz is Siemens, one of the largest industrial manufacturing organisations in Europe. Siemens has had an office in Linz since 1902, but opened the new Techbase Linz location on Wolfgang-Pauli-Strasse in 2022.

The Local found many jobs currently advertised at Siemens in Linz, although most require fluent German. However, we did find a vacancy for a Senior Software Engineer (salary €3,600 per month) that only asked for fluent English.

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Rosenbauer is a manufacturer of systems for firefighting and disaster protection. The Linz operation is located outside of the city centre on Straubingstraße where the company’s Centre of Excellence for helmet production is based.

Most jobs on the Rosenbauer website are advertised in German. Although some do ask for a high level of English language skills, like the advertised role of Strategic Buyer (salary €46,000).

Another big employer in Linz is Today Experts – a human resource and project consulting firm. They specialise in the IT sector so software engineering roles feature heavily at this company.

Current vacancies at Today Experts include an IT Manager (€60,000 salary) that calls for both English and German language skills. Today Experts also has locations in Graz and Vienna.

Graz

Graz is the capital of Styria and the city is known for its tech and engineering industry, with several big companies hiring international employees.

One such firm is Dynatrace, which is a global software engineering company with an office at the Technopark Raaba, in the south of Graz.

The Graz location focuses on Account Experience through the use of platforms, tools and services, so most jobs are related to that. The company language is English and there are more than 55 nationalities in their team.

At the time of writing, the Dynatrace website had job vacancies in Graz for roles like Product Owner (salary €50,000) and Senior Go Agent Developer (salary €60,000).

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Not far from Dynatrace is Magna Steyr – an international car manufacturer. This company also has locations in Vienna and in neighbouring Germany, and promises opportunities for career development all over the world.

The Local found an IT Systems Engineer role advertised at Magna Steyr in Graz that includes flexible working and the possibility of home office. Language requirements are German and English, so you do need decent German skills to apply.

Then there is AVL, which is involved in the development, testing and simulation of powertrain systems. The Austrian headquarters is based in Graz on Hans-List-Platz and the company has numerous locations around the world.

As to be expected from a global company, AVL hires English-speakers for certain roles. One example is for a Design Engineer (salary €51,530) that asks for fluent English, with German language skills as an added bonus.

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WORKING IN AUSTRIA

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.

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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

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