Getting a Job in Vienna: How Hard Is It Really?

people rushing by in the street in Vienna, Austria.

Vienna is the largest city in Austria, the 7th-largest city by population in the EU, and is ranked as the city with the best quality of life in the world. However, when it comes to getting a job, foreigners don’t have it easy, as it’s in Berlin, for example.

Are you looking for a job in the Austrian capital? Vienna is in the top 10 wealthiest regions in Europe, with plenty of companies based there. In this guide, we help you to estimate your chances and give you some valuable information about working in Vienna.

Vienna’s job market

Vienna’s job market is powered by banking, insurance, and all types of services, starting from tourism to telecommunication. Most jobs in Vienna are found in the service sector.

About one-third of employees in Vienna earn a living in trade, real estate, leasing, and business services.

Vienna is home to many historic sites and incredible works of art. If you are a specialist or self-employed in history or art, it could be a good place for your career development.

Moreover, Vienna attracts crowds of tourists throughout the year. Thus, tourism and gastronomy are two other sectors constantly looking for workers. Some might accept an applicant with no German skills.

Together with cities like Berlin and Paris, Vienna is one of the major hubs in Europe, boasting branches and headquarters of countless multinational corporations.

The city still offers career opportunities to expats in virtually any line of work and business. Yet, the number of open vacancies might be limited.

Where can you work in Vienna?

There are plenty of employers located in the Austrian capital.

Some of the largest Austrian companies are:

  • Erste Group Bank
  • Raiffeisen Bank International
  • Austrian Petroleum Administration or OMV
  • Voestalpine – steel industry company
  • Vienna Insurance Group
  • Uniqa Insurance Group
  • Strabag – construction company
  • Porsche
  • Red Bull

Many expats working in Vienna are employed at one of these companies. Nearly every Austrian bank and large national company have its headquarters in the city. Most companies in the Global 500 are represented here as well.

Moreover, companies from eastern Europe value Vienna for its strategically favorable position between Central and Eastern Europe.

Besides these companies, tourism plays a significant role in Vienna’s economy. This sector offers plenty of job opportunities for foreigners year around.

Largest employers in Vienna

  • OMV Aktiengesellschaft
  • Erste Group Bank AG
  • OMV Exploration + Production GmbH
  • APA DeFacto Datenbank + Contentmanagement GmbH
  • APA-IT Informations Technologie GmbH
  • APA OTS Originaltext Service GmbH
  • OMV Oil Production GmbH
  • APA-PictureDesk GmbH
  • MediaWatch Institut für Medienanalysen GmbH
  • APA – Austria Presse Agentur eG
  • Lütze Elektrotechnische Erzeugnisse GmbH
  • RHI AG
  • OMV Clearing und Treasury GmbH
  • CINEPLEXX Kinobetriebe Gesellschaft mbH
  • Dr. Richard GmbH + Co. KG
  • Dyson Austria GmbH
  • Generali Holding Vienna AG
  • Lindner Hotels Holding (Österreich) GmbH
  • Trendwerk, gemeinnützige GmbH zur Förderung der Integration am Arbeitsmarkt
  • Autobank AG
  • Porr Technobau + Umwelt Aktiengesellschaft
  • 10 Seconds Handelsgesellschaft mbH
  • 11880 telegate GmbH
  • Abano Montegrotto Fangokur Reisen GmbH
  • abc markets B2B Communication Service GmbH
  • Allgemeine Baugesellschaft – A. Porr Aktiengesellschaft
  • AMA Handelsgesellschaft mbH
  • A. Martin Bunzl GmbH
  • CARON horvath + Königswieser OEG
  • Cincinnati Extrusion GmbH
  • conwert Immobilien Invest SE
  • DEA Handels GmbH
  • Dieter Schimpersky KG
  • Draftfcbi Directmarketing + Interactive GmbH
  • EastWest Filmdistribution GmbH
  • ECO Business-Immobilien AG

Best employers in Vienna

At the same time list of best companies to work for in Vienna include different companies.

Large enterprises:

RankCompany nameIndustryScore
1Adverity GmbHInternet4,75
2willhaben internet service GmbH & Co KGInternet4,70
3Tietoevry AustriaIT4,63
4Wolfgang Denzel Auto AGRetail4,49
6Avanade Österreich GmbHInternet4,46
7Johnson & Johnson AustriaMedicine/Pharma4,44
8Wiener Städtische VersicherungInsurance4,41
10Navax ATConsulting4,40
Source: kununu.com

Medium and small enterprises:

RankCompany nameIndustryScore
1Otago Online Consulting GmbHMarketing4,87
3Bacher Systems EDV GmbHIT4,76
4Credi2 GmbHFinance4,73
5WWF ÖsterreichVoluntary organisations4,72
6Green Finance GmbHFinance4,72
7Iglo Austria GmbHFood/Agriculture4,70
9Internet Online Media GmbHIT4,67
10ITdesign Software Projects & Consulting GmbHConsulting4,64
Source: kununu.com

German companies in Austria

Many German companies are active in Austria. They play a significant role in the Austrian economy.

Among the largest German companies is the Rewe Group, which operates several large retail chains in Austria, including Billa, Merkur, Penny, and Bipa. Another German company is Porsche Holding, based in Salzburg.

If you have any connections to Germany or previous experience there, it’s a good idea to look into these employers. Besides, if you are working in Germany now, your current company might be able to transfer you to Austria.

Working in Austria and Vienna

a magnificent morning view of amusement park in Vienna, Austria.

Vienna is regularly named one of the most livable cities in the world. Therefore, living and working environments are very balanced and optimal for any human. Besides Vienna, you can look into other major cities like Graz, Linz, Salzburg, and Innsbruck.

If you have been or even worked in Germany, Austria will be a second home to you. Germany and Austria are very similar in many ways, not only in the language.

Austria is a highly developed industrial country, where Vienna has the best quality of life, career opportunities, first-class healthcare, education, and lastly, free time activities.

The Austrian economy is one of the strongest in the European Union and is strongly oriented toward services: it brings almost 70% of total revenues.

The industrial sector accounts for the remaining 30%. A large part of the Austrian economy comprises small and medium-sized enterprises, some of which are world market leaders in their areas.

Getting a job in Vienna as a foreigner

You will have very good career opportunities in Vienna if you have the right skills, e.g., as an engineer or computer scientist. That said, the job competition is high; even locals struggle to get the desired position. As a foreigner, you might need to take any opportunity that comes your way.

Austria, including Vienna, is a very region-orientated country. The market is focused on Austria and other German-speaking countries, including Germany and Switzerland. Thus, the job market is powered by local companies, mainly middle-sized enterprises.

That said, foreigners might struggle to find a job unless they speak German and have very particular knowledge. Austrian companies are generally very skill orientated and want to hire specialists, not generalists.

If you speak German and are highly educated/experienced in a specific area, you have a great chance of getting a job in Vienna. Some jobs don’t require any German skills, such as in IT.

For non-German speakers, jobs in tourism and gastronomy are available all year round. So you can work in one of the hundreds of bars, restaurants, coffee shops, etc.

One thing you must remember is that speaking English doesn’t give you an advantage because any Austrian speaks the language to some extent. Anyone starting from graduates to middle-aged professionals is fluent in English.

Jobs in tourism and seasonal work

The tourism sector is another place with an abundance of jobs for foreigners. For example, many seasonal workers are needed every year in the hotel industry.

Tourism has an essential place in the economy of Vienna. Of course, ski tourism is the biggest money driver for the country’s tourism, but cultural activities attract millions of tourists to Vienna.

Jobs in tourism can be permanent but also seasonal. Seasonal positions usually paid better. If you are coming to Vienna for a short time, a job that lasts only a few months will be the best option.

How international is Vienna?

Is Vienna an international city? Relatively. Vienna is the largest city in Austria, but it isn’t very international and cosmopolitan as Berlin, for example. Most of the foreign nationals in Vienna came many years ago with their families as refugees or seasonal workers.

For example, there are over 100,000 people from Serbia, 70,000 from Turkey, 60,000 Germans, and 80,000 from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania.

Besides that, many Americans, Australians, Canadians, and British people reside in Vienna. In fact, there is a whole community of non-German speakers in Vienna. Check Facebook groups like British in Vienna and expats communities on the web, such as internations.org, Viennaexpats, and Business in Vienna.

Nonetheless, for a more international atmosphere, you might think to relocate to London, Paris, or Berlin.

Where to search for jobs in Vienna?

There are numerous possibilities for a successful job search in Vienna. Some of the ways and sources include:

  1. Online job boards
  2. Austrian daily newspapers usually have a job section
  3. Trade journals for industries and professions
  4. Employment offices: Arbeitsmarktservice (AMS) in Austria
  5. EURES (European Job Mobility Portal): Info on Austrian job offers via the EURES network at the Federal Employment Agency.

General Austrian job boards

Vacancies in English are also posted on general Austrian job boards, including:

Working in Vienna without speaking German

a man working using his laptop.

You can also find a job in Vienna without speaking German. If you aim to work in the pharma, banking, tourism, and IT industries, a lack of German won’t be a problem in most cases.

Yet, it might be challenging to find job vacancies published in the English language on local Austrian job boards. Yet, there are some good places to look for.

For example, the website Englishjobsearch.at is dedicated to only English-speaking jobs across the whole country. The majority of offers are concentrated in Vienna. Other major cities with a high number of jobs in English are Graz, Linz, Innsbruck, and Salzburg.

For jobs only in Vienna, check out the website Jobsinvienna.com. As the name says, the offer is limited to one city.

Typical English-speaking jobs in Vienna:

  • Lecturers at university for English majors
  • Schoolteachers for English majors
  • English tutoring
  • Employment in international companies in various fields
  • IT industry, software developers
  • Workers in tourism
  • Marketing – analytics, social media marketing, SEO, etc.

Visa and work permits for Austria

Depending on your country of origin, you might need to apply for a visa to be able to work in Austria. EU or EEA citizens entering Austria and looking for employment don’t need a visa.

If you are from outside the EU and EEC, you must obtain a work permit to work in Austria. An Austrian employer may recruit a foreign national, but they must apply for approval and an employment permit from the regional employment office.

Additionally, foreign employees who are posted by their employer to work temporarily in Austria are covered by Austrian employment law.

If you aren’t an EU or EEA citizen, you’ll need a visa to enter Austria for work purposes. There are several visas available, including:

1. EU Blue card

The main requirement for an EU Blue Card is a completed university degree with a duration of at least three years. EU Blue Card entitles non-EU citizens to live and work in Austria for up to two years.

To apply for a permit, you need a confirmed job offer beforehand. The card will only be granted if the AMS (the Austrian Labor Market Service) confirms that no Austrian or EU citizen is available to perform the work specified in the contract.

The qualifications of applicants must match the job profile, and the salary specified in the work contract must be 1.5 times higher (€65,579 – 2021) than the average yearly income of full-time employees in Austria.

2. Red-White-Red card

Non-EU citizens who qualify as “key workers” can apply for a Red-White-Red Card, which allows them to work for a specified employer and live in Austria for two years.

To qualify as a key worker, you must be exceptionally highly qualified, a skilled worker in a shortage occupation, a self-employed key worker, or a graduate of an Austrian university.

The Red-White-Red Card has a point-based immigration system. You must fulfill specific criteria before applying, depending on which of the above categories you belong to.

Compared to the EU Blue Card, a university degree isn’t required for all groups but only for “very highly qualified workers.”

They must possess at least a bachelor’s degree in the MINT field or a Ph.D.

After ten months of working and living in Austria, Red-White-Red Card holders may apply for a Red-White-Red Card plus, which entitles them to free access to the Austrian labor market.

Family members of Red-White-Red Card or EU Blue cardholders are also eligible to apply for a Red-White-Red Card plus.

3. Job seeker visa

Similar to the two other permit types, you must meet specific criteria before applying for a Job seeker visa. This visa allows highly-qualified non-EU citizens to look for work in Austria for a period of six months.

To qualify for the Job seeker visa, you need to score a minimum of 70 points out of a maximum of 100 points in the point-based immigration system.

Points are awarded based on age, qualifications, relevant work experience, English language level, and studies in Austria.

After receiving an offer letter from an employer, you can convert the visa to a Red-White-Red (RWR) card issued for 2 years.

See more about visas and residence permits in Austria on the official website.

Applying for work and residence permits in Austria

How to apply for one of these permits?

Applicants outside the EU/EEA will need a student visa to start their studies. The application documents typically include:

  • Birth certificate or equivalent document
  • Proof of job offer, which indicates the salary
  • Police clearance certificate from your country of residence
  • Proof of accommodation (rental agreement)
  • Proof of health insurance
  • Receipt for paying the residence permit fee (€160)

What salary can you expect while working in Vienna?

In 2022, the average salary in Austria is €52,000, which includes bonuses and social security payments. If you earn between €2,000 and €3,000 net per month, you will have a good life in Austria. That said, the minimum wage is €1,500 a month. 

Austrian employees receive 14 monthly salaries per year. In addition, you are entitled to a generous five weeks of paid leave per year, which will be increased to six weeks after 25 years’ service.

Moreover, the country has 13 official paid public holidays every year.

Read our guide about salaries in Vienna.

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