Working in Austria has many advantages, because Austria is a country with a high standard of living, with a transparent public service and efficient services. The Austrian economy is mainly based on high quality manufacturing industries in various sectors: engineering, chemicals, optics, etc.
However, the most important sector is the tertiary sector, which employs over 70% of the workforce. Tourism, for example, is an important industry both in the big cities and in the Alpine regions. Austria is also home to many international companies, many of which are among the most important in the world.
Austria has a GDP that is among the 15 largest in the world and even higher than that of Germany itself. It has a low unemployment rate, which is between 5 and 6%. However, the unemployment rate varies greatly from region to region, as shown in the map below.
Working in Austria
To work in Austria, you must know German, except in some cases:
- Hospitality: cook, pizza maker, ice cream maker, kitchen porter, etc. Sometimes only a basic knowledge of German is required. Remember that the average salary of a waiter is around €1,300 net per month
- Work for large multinational or international companies where English may be used. If you have good professional skills, it is possible to find work abroad. But in Austria the search will be much easier
- There is a shortage of skilled workers in Austria. For example, I remember a lady hairdresser with a diploma and 10 years of experience who moved to Vienna without knowing the language, and in a few weeks he found a job, and the salon owner paid for him to take a German course as well
- Work in call center companies where native speakers are in demand
In all other cases, knowledge of German is required, the level of which depends on the type of work performed: Waiters, housekeeping, etc. require a basic level, while other types of employment require better knowledge.
On the Internet, you often read posts from people who say that with good will and a bit of luck, even without knowing a word of German, you can definitely find a job. Unfortunately, we are not in the 60s anymore, and every day job seekers come to compete with, and those who know the language are preferred. The competition for low-skilled jobs is very tough.
Non-EU citizens such as Turks and Ukrainians are forced to learn German in order to obtain an entry visa, with the result that they speak German better than many Europeans and consequently have a better chance of finding a job.
So, I invite you to consider these aspects when you decide to move without knowing the language. German is absolutely the first requirement you need to integrate and to find work. If you do not always want to live on the margins, as unfortunately many immigrants do in Austria. I have known few, if not very few, who spoke German more or less correctly.
You must already be in Austria to look for a job, otherwise your application will not be considered by companies, with a few exceptions. I will never tire of repeating it: Invest a few months in yourself before you move, and acquire at least A2-B1 proficiency in German, and you will see that your sacrifices will be rewarded once you are there. In Austria, to improve your language skills, you can also attend paid courses that are partially reimbursed.
The most interesting fields of work in Austria are:
- Engineering and IT
- Food industry
- Metallurgical, chemical and electronic industry
- Health sector and personal care
- Tourism industry
The Austrian government compiles a list of the most important shortage occupations in Austria, the List of Shortage Occupations. This list concerns visa applications from non-EU citizens, you can check if your profession belongs to these professions. As for salaries, you can check the salaries of almost 1,800 professions on the AMS website. The salary information corresponds to the gross salary of a new employee.
Working in Austria, visas
Non-EU citizens who want to work in Austria can apply for a Red-White-Red – Card. The Red-White-Red – Card is a work and residence permit that allows you to stay and work in Austria for 24 months. Not everyone is eligible for this type of visa, because the criteria for granting this permit are determined by a points system. And in these cases you can get the Red-White-Red:
- Very highly skilled workers can either enter Austria with a visa for job seekers or you can apply in your country of residence if you have received a job offer
- Skilled workers in shortage occupations, you have received a job offer in Austria and the potential employer is willing to pay you the minimum wage required by law. Here you can take a look at the shortage occupation: Austria-wide shortage occupations and regional shortage occupations
- Other key workers, if you are a non-EU citizen taking up employment as a key worker in a company in Austria and your future employer will pay the statutory minimum wage
- Self-employed key workers, if your self-employment in Austria creates an economic benefit beyond your own company benefit
- Start-up entrepreneurs, if you start a business to develop innovative products, services, processes or technologies
- EU Blue Card, if you have graduated from a university and received a job offer in Austria and the employment corresponds to your training
- Graduates of universities and universities of applied sciences in Austria, if you are a third-country national and have successfully completed your studies
You can also apply for an au pair visa
EU citizens do not need a visa, while non-EU citizens do. Check with the Austrian consulate in your country which documents you need.
Working in Austria, useful resources
I would like to point out these very useful and informative links about working in Austria:
- The government website, Help.Gv in the section dedicated to work contains a lot of information but unfortunately, only in German
- The web site Migration also this government portal contains information about living and working in Austria (in English)
- A complete guide about living and working in Austria
- Working in Austria your legal rights
- Report about seasonal workers from third countries in Austria
If you have any doubts about your employment contract or would like information about working hours, working conditions, etc., you can contact the Austrian Chamber of Labor (only in German, so you have to know the language or ask someone for help).
As far as educational qualifications are concerned, sometimes qualifications obtained abroad are fully recognized and sometimes only partially, for which you have to take additional exams. For the recognition of qualifications you can contact, among others, the Enic-Naric you can consult Nostrifizierung which contains all the information relating to the validation of degrees in Austria.
Job search in Austria
For your job search you can use:
1 Linkedin,try to build a network of contacts in your professional field.
2 Search for companies, you can search for companies and apply online. Attach your resume and cover letter.
- Europages by selecting the industry you are interested in
- Kompass you can check if the company you are interested in is present in Austria
- Yellow Pages Austrian Yellow Pages
- Advantage Austria official website of Austrian companies abroad, with a lot of information and a database of Austrian companies in your country
3 Eures, the European mobility website.
4 BakeaGo classifieds site with job offers from all over the world.
5 AMS, Austrian Labor Office. If you are a resident of Austria and are looking for a job, the first thing you should do is go to one of the employment offices throughout the country where they will help you find a job for free. If you are still in your country, you can check the website of the Employment Agency for emails from companies offering work and send your application to the agency CV.
6 Job search websites
- Karrirere the most important and most used website
- Derstandard newspaper with job offers
- Job is Job only in German
- Alleskralle job offers in Germany and German- speaking Switzerland
- Job-consult very popular
- Willhaben classified ads site
- Newsroom job offers in the field of media and marketing
- Fashionjobs job offers in fashion and sales, but not only
- Unijob job offers divided by categories
- Jobsinvienna has a section for english language jobs in Vienna
- Oeh.Jku classified site with job board
7 Employment agenzie –
- Trummer online recruitment agency
- Manpower austrian branch of the well-know online recruitement agency
- Rex employment agency with branches in the main Austrian cities
- Adecco international employment agency with offices also in Austria
8 Zeitarbeitsfirmen (Temporary employment agencies), if you want to work in Austria and you have no other solution, you can contact a temporary employment agency, the salary will be lower, but they will take care of hiring and finding the jobs. This could be quite good for the beginning.
- Teampool agency located in the main Austrian cities
- Akzente-personal agency based in a dozen Austrian cities
- MLS agency based in Graz
Austria offers significant employment opportunities in the tourism sector. It is the sixth largest country in Europe in terms of tourist presence. It is possible to find permanent employment in the major cities (Vienna, Innsbruck, Salzburg, etc.) or seasonally (in winter and summer) in all the major tourist resorts in the Alps (Carinthia, Tyrol and Styria). During the season it is quite easy to find work in these places, then of course a lot depends on experience, qualifications and language skills.
It is much easier to find a job in Austria by submitting resumes directly, getting the word out or reading the ads in the local press. It is more difficult to find work in this sector directly from abroad. In any case, jobs in the tourism sector can be found on these websites:
- Rollingpin jobs in hospitality and tourism
- Hotel Career job offers in the hotel industry
- Gastrojobs hospitality jobs
- Hogastjob vacancies in tourism, mainly in Germany and Austria. Divided by regions
- Tourismusjobs job offers in tourism and hospitality
- Karriere vacancies in tourism and hospitality (newspaper)
10 For those interested in volunteer organizations, these are the links that appeal to them:
- Kindertraum organization that cares sick children
- Rotenasen association wich takes care of children in hospital
- Caritas web site of the austrian Caritas
Entrepreneurial activity in Austria
For those interested in starting a business, it is useful to know that in the ranking prepared by the World Bank on Ease-of-Doing-Business, Austria ranks 27 in the world.
ABA (Austrian Business Agency) offers free support to investors who want to invest in Austria (they are paid by the Austrian government). Provided that the investment is feasible, serious and managed by competent people. So if you want to open a restaurant and know how to do it, you can simply contact them.
Work in Austria, conclusion
Even if you have a good professional education or degree but do not know German, you will probably have to adjust to an unskilled job at first (cleaner, dishwasher, waiter, etc.). This will also ensure you the admiration of Austrians, and once you have learned the language, you can apply for a job that matches your qualifications.
If you do not know the German language, you will have to take an unskilled job at the beginning, always with the aim of practicing your profession. It is possible to learn German easily by attending a language course and working in contact with people (waiter). Remember that waiter is a profession that pays well between salary and tips and is not at all a servant, because in Austria any kind of work is highly appreciated.
In the end, there are three basic elements that you should consider when looking for a job in Austria:
- Your knowledge of German, which has a great impact on the quality and quantity of job offers you can receive. Knowledge of German is essential, except for technical jobs. For example, in engineering or IT you can find a job when interviewing from abroad. Without German and with good English, you can try to move to Austria in search of a job, but you must be prepared to sweat seven shirts. The hotel and restaurant industry is one of the first jobs immigrants can find in Austria. During the summer and winter seasons, the demand for staff in Austrian tourist resorts is always high. Often some knowledge of German is required, sometimes English is enough
- The target area, some professions are more or less in demand or paid more or less depending on the area. For example, in Voralberg, salaries are higher than in the rest of Austria, because within a radius of 30 km are Switzerland, Germany and Liechtenstein, and to avoid Austrians working across borders, higher salaries are provided. There are also good salaries in Upper Austria, Salzburg, Lower Austria and Vienna, while Carinthia has the lowest salaries
- Your profession, experience and qualifications you have. In Austria, a high value is placed on education, and each profession has its own training. In many countries it is possible to make an argument like this: “Company X is looking for a secretary, I am not a secretary, but I have a degree, so I have an advantage”. In Austria, it does not work that way. A secretary must be a secretary and must be qualified to do so. If you do not have the appropriate qualifications, they will not hire you.
Many people ask me what the difference is between working in Austria and working in Germany. I always answer that Austria is in the middle between Germany and Italy, not only geographically. Austrians are more punctual, strict and demanding than Italians, but more relaxed than Germans.