With thriving industries, a healthy economy and low unemployment working in Austria could be perfect for those seeking a new career challenge. Discover what this central European country has to offer
Despite the recent economic downturn Austria's economy is performing well. The country is one of the richest in the world and its eight million-strong population enjoys one of the highest standards of living in the world.
While this is good news to anyone thinking about making the move, heading to a foreign country to work can incur a lot of red tape. However, if you are a UK or European Union (EU) citizen visas and work permits are not necessary, so coming to work in Austria could be easier than you think.
Moving to the country could also be a great way to acquire a second language and give your CV a boost because although English is widely spoken, German is the official language.
On your days off you'll be able to explore and you'll certainly have plenty to keep you occupied. Austria is known for its beautiful landscapes and rich cultural history so you'll have opportunities to hike, ski, attend concerts, visit art galleries and museums and eat and drink in top restaurants and coffee houses.
Find out if working in Austria is the right move for you.
Jobs in Austria
The Austrian economy is strong, growing steadily and dominated by small and medium sized enterprises. Major industries in the country include:
- chemical and vehicles;
- electrical and electronics;
- machine and steel;
- wood and paper.
The Austrians are also famed for their arts and crafts including luxury-handcrafted items, ceramics and costume jewellery.
The service industry is the fastest growing industrial sector and the healthcare and technology industries are also expanding.
Unsurprisingly Austria is a popular tourist destination due to the Alps and historical cities such as Vienna and Salzburg so opportunities in the tourism and hospitality industry aren't hard to find.
Shortage occupations in 2016 include graduate mechanical engineers, roofers, graduate power engineers and graduate nurses.
To search for job vacancies in Austria visit:
How to get a job in Austria
Austrians take their administrative procedures very seriously, which can lead to lengthy application processes so start applying for jobs as soon as possible. You could get the ball rolling as soon as you know you're making the move by searching for vacancies from your home country. Once you've found a job that you'd like to apply for you'll need to submit a CV and cover letter, written in German, to the employing organisation.
CVs should be concise and no longer than two pages. They should include personal information such as your name, date and place of birth, nationality and contact information, as well as your educational background in reverse chronological order, relevant work experience, languages spoken and references. It's common practice to attach a photograph to your CV so make sure to choose a professional image, usually a head and shoulders shot.
Cover letters should introduce who you are and why you are writing to the employer. Go on to explain what you have to offer the organisation but make sure you don't repeat the information in your CV. Cover letters should be no longer than a page.
Job applications are usually sent via regular mail or email. The popularity of online applications is increasing in Austria but not all employers favour this method.
If you're after seasonal work Austria's tourism industry is the best place to look. There are opportunities to work in bars, restaurants or cafes; alternatively you can find work as a ski instructor in the country's famous ski-resorts.
Other seasonal jobs include grape picking and working as an au-pair, although the latter may require some childcare experience.
Seasonal jobs are a great way of exploring Austria and the work experience they provide will look great on your CV. To search for seasonal opportunities in the country see Natives - Austria.
If you want to improve your CV and language skills, as well as demonstrate your ability to work in a multilingual environment, you may be interested in volunteering in the country.
The European Commission (EC) funds a scheme called The European Voluntary Service (EVS), which is aimed at 17 to 30-year-olds who want to volunteer abroad. Opportunities can last for up to 12 months.
Accommodation, travel, food and insurance are all covered by a European grant and you even receive a personal allowance each month.
Other volunteering schemes are available through:
WWOOF Austria also gives you the chance to volunteer on organic farms while getting to know the locals.
Austrians are taught English as a second language from a young age but opportunities to teach English still exist in the country. Competition for posts can be fierce but if you are TEFL or TESOL qualified then you can teach English in Austria.
You could teach in public schools, private language academies and universities and assist a variety of students with a range of abilities. You could teach young children just starting to learn or business professionals wanting to brush up their skills.
You can also become a language assistant in Austria with the British Council for a period of up to six months. You'll be placed in two schools and be expected to work for approximately 13 hours a week. Around 100 posts are available in the country each year and you'll be paid €1133 per month. For more information and to find out how to apply see the British Council Language Assistants - Austria.
Placements and internships in Austria are common and flexible, and range from just a few weeks to a year. There are opportunities available throughout the year and these are listed on websites such as the Austrian Employment Service (AMS).
Be prepared to face some stiff competition for internships and to work hard to achieve a place.
Internships and summer work placements for students can also be arranged by:
- AIESEC UK - for students and recent graduates;
- IAESTE UK - for science, engineering and applied arts students.
If you are a UK, EU or European Economic Area (EEA) citizen there's no need to stress about visas, work or residence permits as you are entitled to live and work in Austria without them. However, Croatian nationals will face restrictions.
You might not need a visa but if you intend to stay in Austria for more than three months you'll still need to apply for permanent residency within four months of your arrival. To obtain this you'll need to register with the appropriate settlement authorities.
If you're from another country outside the EU you'll probably need a visa and a work permit to work in Austria. Visa rules and regulations depend on your home country and personal circumstances so it’s best to get in touch with the Austrian Embassy or Consulate for further details on obtaining an Austrian visa.
Non EU or third country nationals may be granted a:
- Jobseekers visa - allows highly-qualified non-EU citizens to look for work in Austria for a period of six months. If you secure employment during this time you must apply for the appropriate work permit.
- EU Blue Card - the blue card is a type of residence and work permit tied to specific job offer. You must hold a university degree to be granted a card, which entitles you to work for a period of up to two years.
- Red-White-Red card - this is a points-based immigration system that enables you to work for an Austrian employer for a period of 12 months. In order to qualify you must be highly qualified, a skilled worker in a shortage occupation, a self-employed key worker or a graduate of an Austrian university.
The key to gaining employment in Austria is being able to speak German. For almost all jobs, it's essential that you have a good understanding of the language (both spoken and written).
The Österreichisches Sprachdiplom Deutsch (ÖSD) is Austria's officially recognised examination system for German as a foreign language, with exam centres all over the world.
Other institutions and organisations also offer a variety of German language courses. For more information, visit the association of Austrian language schools Campus Austria.
How to explain your qualifications to employers
Thanks to the Bologna Process UK higher education qualifications are directly comparable to their Austrian counterparts so if you're heading to the country to work with a UK Bachelors, Masters or PhD these will usually be recognised and accepted by Austrian employers.
However, if you're unsure check with potential employers before applying for a position.
To find out more about the recognition of qualifications see ENIC-NARIC.
What it's like to work in Austria
As an employee you can expect to work an eight hour day and a 40 hour week. In some industries you may work a slightly shorter 38 hour week. Part-time work, overtime and flexible working options are all available but you'll need to check with your employer to see if they offer these.
Working in Austria you'll be entitled to a generous amount of annual leave consisting of a minimum of five weeks, which works out as 30 days holiday per year including 13 public holidays.
The country operates a progressive rate of income tax of 0-50%. The amount of tax you pay will depend on what you earn. Income tax, along with insurance contributions will be deducted from your salary each month. For more information on tax and working conditions see migration.gov.at.
Find out more
- Discover what it's like to study in Austria.