- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Austria Guide (PDF)
Expats looking for work in Austria will find that their nationality will often affect their ability to secure a job. EU citizens can legally work in Austria without having to obtain a work permit. However, those from outside the EU (known as 'third-party nationals') will need to show that they can fill gaps in sectors lacking skilled local workers.
Job market in Austria
Plenty of engineering and construction jobs feature in Austria's list of shortage occupations, so expats with skills, qualifications and experience in these fields will have a good chance at finding work.
Lower-level posts in the country's world-class tourism industry are also plentiful. Western Austria's winter sports region draws sporting enthusiasts of all ages and nationalities, which in turn creates huge demand for instructors, restaurant workers, chefs and housekeeping staff, especially during the peak season between November and March.
Otherwise, Vienna boasts some leading corporations in the finance and consulting sectors, but jobs in these areas are scarce for expats.
Finding work in Austria
Austria is often thought of as old-fashioned and, besides searching online, it's worth trying traditional job-hunting routes.
Online job sites and classifieds are always a good starting point, along with social-networking sites such as LinkedIn. Employers also advertise in print publications and make use of the comprehensive services of the Arbeitsmarktservice (Public Employment Service). The latter is a highly informative resource that expats can use to familiarise themselves with Austria's labour laws, work contracts and application tips.
Expats applying for work in Austria should draft both their letter of application (a cover letter) and their resume in German unless otherwise specified by the position in question. This is the official language and lingua franca of the country, though English is the dominant corporate language.
Work culture in Austria
Work culture in Austria definitely has a hierarchical structure. Those in senior positions, particularly those who have high qualifications and many years of experience, are highly regarded and deferred to. Expats from more egalitarian work cultures will have to get used to Austria's less inclusive and consensus-driven approach to management. There is a somewhat old-fashioned sense of politeness and courtesy in the Austrian workplace, and any form of correspondence, such as emails or memos, should convey a formal tone.
On a higher level, Austrian work culture prides itself on the concept of Sozialpartnerschaft, or social partnership, which promotes cooperation and dialogue in matters relating to industrial relations. It is important for entrepreneurs and business owners to work closely and cooperate with local business partners and Austrian subsidiary companies.
►Read our Doing Business in Austria page to learn more about the country's work culture
"I’ve really enjoyed my work so far – though I can’t speak for everyone’s experience of work in Austria! I have a lot of autonomy, which suits me well."
Read more about UK expat Tessa's experiences in Austria.
Are you an expat living in Austria?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Austria. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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