Living in Austria For Members

REVEALED: Just how well do Austrians speak English?

Aaron Burnett
Aaron Burnett - [email protected]
REVEALED: Just how well do Austrians speak English?
Teaching English is a popular job for native English speakers in Austria. Austrians score well on English proficiency tests, partly due to available local expertise. Photo by Jason Goodman on Unsplash.

Austria is one of the most English-proficient nations in the world, among countries which don’t have English as an official language, a new study has revealed.


A new survey ranked Austria third out of 113 countries on English proficiency by non-native speakers.

The EF English Proficiency Index puts the country behind only Singapore (2nd) and Netherlands (1st) – and just ahead of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden - countries that traditionally rank higher.

Among other German-speaking countries, Austria comes well ahead of both Germany (10th place) and Switzerland (30th place).

Based on the English test results from over two million test takers, Austria ranks in the “very high” proficiency band, with over 600 points on average. Anyone scoring above that essentially has a C1 level command of English – the second-highest possible level.

Speakers at this level are typically able to use nuanced language in social situations, read advanced texts, and even negotiate contracts with native speakers.

That said, even people scoring in the high 500s on the test would be able to understand newspapers and TV shows without much trouble.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about teaching English in Austria


Which regions of Austria speak the best English?

Despite its high population of foreigners, the best English speakers in Austria are not – in fact – found in Vienna. That said, the Viennese are no slouch, scoring an impressive 640 as a region – enough to put them well into the C1 category of English proficiency.

Indeed when it comes to cities around the world Vienna was ranked in 2nd for English proficiency, only behind Amsterdam.

However, the best English speakers in Austria are found in Styria – and particularly in Graz, which scores an impressive 668 points.

Finding English books in Austria is easier in the bigger cities. (Photo by Burst / Pexels)

Looking at other parts of Austria, Vienna beats Upper Austria as a region – but Linz’s score as a city actually outshines the capital. Innsbruck ties Vienna while Salzburg comes in just barely behind the two.

The lowest-performing Austrian regions in the index are Tyrol, Vorarlberg, and Carinthia. However, even these score in the B2 band on average – suggesting the ability to read English newspapers and certainly to communicate fluently with native speakers.

READ ALSO: The ‘easiest’ entry jobs to get in Austria if you don’t speak German


Which Austrian demographics speak the best English?

In the Austrian results, we see a competition decided by small differences. Both men and women speak English particularly well on average. Men in Austria tend to score higher, but women still hit the C1 threshold.

On average, all age groups score into the C1 level, with the exception of people above the age of 41, with the typical Austrian test taker comfortably having a B2 level of English.

Reader question: Can I complete an English-speaking degree in Austria?


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also