Your Guide to Work and Finding a Job in Austria

Your Guide to Work and Finding a Job in Austria

The Austrian labor market is based on industries such as building and construction, tourism, automobile manufacturing, electronics, food and transportation. The textile industry is also important for the stability of the country's economy. 

In fact, Austria has the 12th largest economy in the world despite current concerns about job creation.

Most Westerners will be familiar with working days in Austria - people work Monday to Friday and have Saturday and Sunday off for leisure. 

In this article, we'll help you understand how to find the best job in Austria, what it's like to work as a freelancer, and information about average salaries and social security.


How to Get a Job in Austria as a Foreigner

Now, you may not have to worry about how to get a job in Austria as a foreigner, because the demand for new talent is high. Companies organize job fairs to attract refugees.

In fact, an event held in Vienna brought together many of Austria's leading employers, including Telekom Austria, the Austrian Federal Railways (OEBB), the construction company Porr and the national postal company, Austrian Post. Currently, it seems that job opportunities in Austria for foreigners are abundant.


General Job Search Engines and Classifieds

With the sites below, you can expect to get a 0.5 to 1.0% response rate (people who will respond back to you to whom you sent your application/CV.) Nevertheless, I encourage you to give these sites a try as you never know what you will come up with or what connections you can make from a simple e-mail or application.

  Der StandardDer Standard is the job search arm of the newspaper Der Standard.

  KarriereSimple, clean interface that has a bunch of job vacancies posted.

  Career Jet: I’m sure you’ve heard of Career Jet. They have job search options for Austria.

  Indeed: The Austrian version of the big U.S. job search site


Working in Austria as a Foreigner

In 2018, the Austrian government refused to join the UN immigration convention, but it is still easy for many people, EU and non-EU citizens, to visit the Alpine country. 

One of the reasons Austria did not join the UN Convention on Immigration was to avoid illegal immigration. Despite this, Austria accepted one of the largest quotas of asylum seekers during the 2015 European immigration crisis. 

No matter where you come from, a good command of the German language will give you a better chance of getting a job in Austria.

If you plan to work in the capital city of Vienna, there should be many job opportunities in sectors such as research, IT, tourism and the service sector. If you are from the EU or EEA, you can live and work in Austria without a special work permit or visa.

Red-white-red card

If you are from outside the EU or EEA, you are considered a third country national. This means you will need a red-white-red card. This card (or permit) allows skilled workers to stay and work in a company in Austria for 24 months. If you start working for another company during this period, you will have to apply for the card again.

Also, if you have a family, they can also apply for a red-white-red card, but you will need to prove that you earn enough money to support them. As of January 1, 2019, the minimum wage required according to different family situations is as follows (note, social benefits are not taken into account):

• Singles must have at least 933 EUR (1,034 USD)

• Couples must earn at least 1,399 EUR (USD1,550)

• for each child you must receive 144 (USD160)

Other requirements for working in Austria

• To get a red-white-red card, you must have health insurance that covers all risks in Austria.

You must have proof of residence in Austria, which includes the period of notice.

• You must provide proof of a secure livelihood.


How to apply for a job in Austria

Remember that the Austrian business community is small and if you are not careful, the news about your movements in the job market, such as applications and interviews, can spread.

Therefore, try to focus on the quality rather than the quantity of your application to reduce the chances of other influences getting in the way of your dream job. 

Employers in Austria are familiar with the CV (curriculum vitae) format found in many Western European and North American countries. Acceptable resumes in Austria are usually one or two pages long. It is also good to have a CV in German if possible, but this is not necessary for all jobs.


What to include in your CV

1. In Austria, it is common to include a professional image of yourself at the top of your CV. It doesn't need to be big, but at least half a page wide, and it needs to show your head and shoulders. If possible, ask a professional photographer to take your picture so that you are dressed appropriately for the type of job you are looking for, and always choose stylish clothes. 

A simple white shirt or blouse is usually a safe choice, but something casual, like a shirt or a monochrome dress, can be acceptable if you're looking for creative work. or working on startups.

2. Be sure to include your contact details with your home address, phone number, email address and date of birth.

3. List your education, including college, university, and graduate school. Also includes other relevant training, qualifications and certifications.

4. Add information about any jobs you have that match the position you're looking for. If you only have one or two jobs, or volunteer positions, include them so they can demonstrate transferable skills.

5. If you want to share a little about yourself, it's good to mention some of your hobbies and interests. It is better if these are related to the job you are looking for.


Tips for a cover letter in Austria

A cover letter can be the key to getting a job interview and even provide the magic to get your dream job in Austria.

Here's what to include in your cover letter when applying for a job in the city:

1. If you know German and are applying for an Austrian company, be sure to mention this in your cover letter. 

If the job is in communications or in a field where you will need to speak German, be sure to mention this in both documents and show how it will help you to work you. 

If you don't know German, try taking a few classes before moving to Austria. You should also know that the German used in Austria can be difficult to understand, even for native German speakers.

2. You can start your cover letter by describing the job you are looking for, where you found it, and why you are interested in it.

3. After this introduction, briefly describe yourself and what you are looking for in a few paragraphs.

4. Find the key points in the job description and explain how you meet those requirements.

5. Try to keep your cover letter on one side of an A4 sheet of paper.

6. Enter all required details and demonstrate your qualifications match the job description.


Interview Tips

During a job interview in Austria, you can expect to be asked some of the following questions:

• Tell me about a time when you faced a difficult challenge and how you overcame it.

• Give an example of a time when you took the lead and took the initiative.

• Have you ever lived in Austria? If not, when will you come?

• Do you need a visa or work permit to work in Austria?

• Why do you want to move to Austria? (Interviewers may ask this question to see how serious you are for this opportunity.)


General plan

• Expect the interview to last 30-60 minutes.

• Be sure to arrive at the interview at least 10 minutes early.

• Memorize the contents of your resume and other information you have provided, as these details will form the basis of the questions you will be asked.

• Be polite and professional in the interview.

Networking Tips

If you have lived in Austria and found a job you like, it is worth asking your friends if they know the company or if they know anyone who works in the company. This can give you an idea of ​​what the hiring manager is looking for and who would be a good student. Avoid contacting the service manager directly, as in Austria this may be considered beyond the scope of expertise.


Minimum and Average Fees

The average net salary in Austria is 1,848 EUR (2,369 USD) while the average monthly salary is 2,688 EUR (2,996 USD).

There is no state-approved minimum wage in Austria. However, in 2017 the social partners (which are part of social relations) in Austria agreed to introduce a minimum wage of EUR 1,500 for all sectors by 2020.


What is a Good Salary in Austria?

As the average annual salary is around 32,250 EUR (35,964 USD), anything above this amount can be considered as a good salary. However, these jobs usually offer higher than average salaries.


The Highest Salary in Austria

• Director and change management: 90,590 EUR (USD 101,000)

• Financial services: 84,300 EUR (94,000 USD)

• Marketing, product and communication: 80,700 EUR (90,000 USD)

• Financial management and planning: 75,000 EUR (83,000 USD)

• Consulting, accounting and professional services: 69,000 EUR (77,000 USD)


The Most In-Demand Jobs and Their Salaries

Job Title EUR USD

  Accountant 59,000 66,000

  Architect 58,000 64,500

  Marketing Manager 58,000 64,500

  Product Manager 57,000 63,600

  Software Engineer 45,000 50,000 UX

  Designer 40,000 45,000 Nurse 36,000 40,000

  Web Developer 33,500 37,400

  Teacher 32,400 36,000


If you want to be self-employed in Austria, be aware that some of the courses and the first courses will require German language skills. So, if you don't speak German, consider getting help from a friend or an HR professional. For an easy moving experience, consider using InterNations' language training and planning services to give you all the help you need.


How to be Self-Employed in Austria

To be self-employed in Austria, you must be at least 18 years old. In addition, you must live in Austria and be free of current or past criminal convictions.

You will need to contact the relevant municipal authorities or regional commissioners to obtain a business license (or business license). There are different business licenses depending on the type of work a freelancer will do.

Any work done independently with the intention of earning money is considered work in Austria. In Austria, there are independent traders who work without qualifications and regulated traders who have obtained certification.

As a self-employed person, you pay income tax (Einkommensteuer) but not tax (Lohnsteuer). The Austrian authorities recommend that you inquire about self-employment at the Austrian Economic Chamber (Wirtschaftskammer or WKO). 

WKO helps start-ups in the country from their first business idea to financing and insurance. You can participate in conferences, one-on-one consultations, attend special events and talk with experts.


How to Set Up as a Freelancer

• Visit the nearest WKO in Austria to register.

• You will need to bring your passport, proof of address, criminal record, birth certificate and marriage certificate, if applicable. A criminal record can be obtained from the police department in Vienna or from your city.

• You will be charged an annual fee of approximately 100 EUR (USD110).

• You must pay an annual professional fee and tourist tax.

• You must contribute to public safety. Expect to receive a form to fill out to register for Social Security several weeks after you register with WKO.

• If you don't know enough about managing your finances and taxes yourself, you can hire a helper. They will manage your tax, social security and VAT.

 Be advised that you will pay VAT and social security every three months.


Top Self-Employed Jobs in Austria

Some of the most popular freelancer jobs in Austria are:

  Marketing Assistant

  Business Project Manager

  Web Developer



  Insurance Inspector


  Social Media Assistant

  Graphic Designer

  Administrative Assistant


Self-Employed Benefits in Austria

If you work as a self-employed person in Austria, you will not have to pay tax until you earn 11,000 EUR (12,300 USD). Also, self-employed workers can insure themselves against the risk of unemployment.

Business Culture

In Austrian business culture, values like punctuality, privacy, and organization are very important. Hierarchy is also generally valued highly, so the flat work teams you might have experienced elsewhere will be rarer. Titles matter here and there are clearly-defined responsibilities for each member of staff and department.

Austria’s Working Culture

If you are going to work in Austria, there are a few particulars about the work culture that you should keep in mind.

   Academic achievement and experience in the relevant industry is highly-regarded, and it usually decides who is given the most senior roles.

   Staff in Austria generally feel a responsibility for the company for which they work.

   Decisions usually follow a traditional route.

   You might find that there are more female professionals than in other countries.

        Do not be surprised if business takes longer to conduct than in other countries.

   Workers like to take their time to make the right decision, so risk-taking is rare.

   In Austria, you are more respected if you stick to your word.

   The average working week is 40 hours, but at the maximum, it can go up to 48 hours. It is a legal requirement to give employees a break for lunch.

   Holidays, overtime, and weekend pay vary.

   Health and safety in the workplace are maintained with stringent laws.

•   You can expect sick pay and severance pay.


Austria’s Workplace Culture Dress Code

Workers in Austria tend to dress conservatively. To fit in, you should avoid revealing clothing or unusually bright colors and patterns. Suits and shirts will work well for men, while smart trousers and a blouse, or a simple dress, is acceptable for women. Dark colors are preferred. It is best to dress more formally when you initially start your job and then get a better idea of the level of formality during your employment.


Social Security and Benefits

Austrian social insurance numbers (also known as insurance numbers and SV, SVNR, VSNR, and VNR numbers) are ten digits long and allow you to manage your social insurance (social security) account. However, simply having a number does not mean you automatically get social security benefits in Austria.


What is the Social Insurance Number in Austria For?

If you are eligible for social insurance, this will cover your needs regarding prevention, sickness, incapacity for work, maternity, unemployment, old age, survivors’ pensions, nursing care, social need, and the death of a person who would have provided maintenance funds.

If you are employed in Austria, you will be automatically covered by the social insurance system.

How to Get a Social Insurance Number in Austria

In Austria, there are 22 insurance institutions that take care of the general public for health, accident, and pension issues. About 15 of these are concerned with just health insurance while the remaining seven focus on general insurance.


Applying for a Social Insurance Number in Austria

If you start working for an employer in Austria, you will automatically be covered by social insurance. You and your employer each contribute half of the cost.

   Your employer must register you at the district health insurance fund (Gebietskrankenkasse).

   If you are self-employed, you must register with social insurance for the industry economy.

   All family members of an employed person in Austria are covered by the worker’s social security insurance.

   Regardless if you are employed or self-employed, you must be registered in an insurance scheme in the social insurance system within seven days of starting work.

   Once you are registered, you will receive your social insurance card (Sozialversicherungskarte) in Austria, which shows your social insurance number and date of birth.


Can a Foreigner Get a Social Insurance (Security) Number in Austria?

Yes, as long as you live and work in the country, you can get a social insurance number and benefit from Austria’s social insurance system.


Maternity and Paternity Leave

Maternity leave in Austria is called Mutterschaftsurlaub. You can collect maternity benefits (Wochengeld) if you have to miss work due to pregnancy. Women are not allowed to work eight weeks before or after their expected due date. If it is believed the birth could have associated risks, this period could be extended to 12 weeks.



As soon as you know you are pregnant, you can get a Mother-Child Pass (Mutter-Kind-Pass) or maternity card from a doctor. This contains helpful information, such as the examinations you need to take prior to and after the birth of your child.

Mothers and fathers are eligible for parental leave for a maximum of two years, as long as the parent taking leave lives in the same household as the child. The minimum parental leave allowed is eight weeks, and parents’ jobs are protected until four weeks after the end of their parental leave.

Fathers can take parental leave in place of their partners up to two times during the total parental leave period. There must be at least eight weeks between each switch. As mentioned previously, the maximum time off parents can take from their jobs is two years.


Maternity Benefits in Austria

Please note that if you want to be eligible for the total child-raising allowance, you must be sure to have all of the examinations that are detailed on your Mutter-Kind-Pass. You should receive maternity benefits for the duration of your maternity leave.


How Long is Maternity Leave in Austria?

Following the period of eight weeks before and after the birth of the child, where the mother receives her full salary, she can claim childcare allowance (Kinderbetreuungsgeld) for up to 24 weeks.

Paternity Leave and Benefits

 “Daddy Month” in Austria

Daddy Month is a new law in Austria, which was introduced in September 2019. It allows new fathers to stay off work for a month after the birth of their child. Now, dads will not need the consent of their employer to take the time off, and they will be immune to dismissal and having their contract terminated during this period. 

Unfortunately, fathers will not be entitled to receive a salary during this time, but they will instead receive a 700 EUR (780 USD) grant from the government. 

Please note that this grant, if taken, will be deducted from future child support payments during further parental leave in the future.

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