Finding a job in Vienna

Updated 2023-08-06 13:38

In recent years, Vienna has become a popular destination with professionals looking to boost their careers abroad. With a vibrant economy and a steady unemployment rate, the Austrian capital city has a lot to offer. Here are some tips for finding a job in Vienna.

Job hunting in Vienna

Once again, Vienna has been crowned as the world's most liveable city. Its top-ranking position can be attributed to various factors, including safety, mobility, and the presence of green spaces. Over the past few years, Vienna has experienced consistent growth, partially driven by an influx of migrants. Additionally, the city serves as a hub for numerous international corporations and supranational organizations.

There are numerous ways to land your dream job. One effective method for getting closer to your goal is to utilize national and international job portals available online. Some of the most well-known portals include Stepstone, Willhaben, Wiener Jobs, Monster, Vienna Jobs, Jobted, and the job section of the newspaper "der Standard." These platforms offer a wide range of job opportunities and can significantly increase your chances of finding the perfect job in Vienna.

Another approach is to explore the possibility of being relocated through your current employer. If you are employed by prominent international organizations like the United Nations (UN) or the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it should be relatively easier since these organizations have their headquarters in Vienna. However, if this option is not available to you, there is no need to worry. Vienna has emerged as a major hub in Europe, offering abundant job opportunities in various sectors. So, rest assured; there are plenty of options available to you in the city's thriving job market.

The majority of job opportunities in Vienna are concentrated in the service sector, particularly in the tertiary sector. Approximately 85% of the city's revenue is generated within this sector, indicating its significant contribution to the local economy. This highlights the importance of service-based industries as the primary driver of employment and economic activity in Vienna.

Working in healthcare in Vienna

If you possess a high level of qualifications, particularly in the business sector or healthcare, you will have no trouble finding the perfect job for yourself.

Vienna boasts an outstanding healthcare system, with a significant number of doctors and medical professionals practicing at the General Hospital AKH, a renowned university hospital.

Currently, there is a high demand for medical professionals in Vienna, particularly in the field of nursing. Moreover, if you are already residing in Vienna and have an interest in this sector, there are initiatives available for free retraining. To gather further information about these opportunities, you can visit the WAFF website, where you will find detailed information and resources.

Working in tourism in Vienna

Vienna's tourism sector has been booming in recent times, with a constant influx of visitors from all corners of the globe. The city's popularity as a year-round destination is attributed to its wide array of festivals and attractions that change with each season. This dynamic nature ensures that there is always something unique and exciting for visitors to explore throughout the year, making Vienna a vibrant and thriving hub for tourism.

Vienna's tourism industry is known for its excellent organization, and the city attracts a significant number of tourists, particularly during the Christmas season. While winter tourism may be seasonal, most job opportunities in the tourism sector are not. There is a high demand for individuals in various roles, such as the catering trade, sales, (Christmas) markets, and hotels. If you possess multilingual skills, working at a hotel reception could be a suitable option for you. Additionally, if you have a passion for history or geography, there are opportunities available to lead group tours, allowing you to share your knowledge and interests with visitors.

Working in IT & Technology in Vienna

If you're highly qualified in engineering, data processing, economics, or consulting, there are plenty of job opportunities in these fields. Vienna has many job openings for people with expertise in these areas. So, if you have the right qualifications, you have a good chance of finding a job that matches your skills and interests.

In the IT sector, specifically, there are companies where English is the primary working language. If you are comfortable with English, it can be easier to start working in these companies. Similar to the healthcare sector, there are also opportunities for free training in IT and technology if you are already living and working in Vienna and wish to pursue a career change. In recent years, particularly in the developer sector, there has been a trend of flexible working hours and the option to work remotely, providing greater flexibility and work-life balance.

Language requirements for working in Vienna

Having a good command of the German language is highly important. Even if you are seeking employment with an international organization, it can be extremely beneficial since many of your colleagues are likely to be Austrians or Germans. If you want to engage in meaningful conversations beyond small talk and chitchat, it's worth considering taking language lessons and obtaining a certification. Additionally, knowing a few words in "Wienerisch" (the Viennese dialect) can instantly boost your popularity!

Work permit in Austria

Non-EU individuals will require a work permit in order to work in Austria. Employers in Vienna will require you to provide the necessary certifications. Expatriates from non-EU countries must usually demonstrate a certain level of German proficiency before relocating to Austria.

To obtain the Red-White-Red Card, a two-year residence permit, individuals must belong to specific groups (such as artists, skilled workers, highly qualified professionals, or urgently needed workers), have a valid work contract, and earn sufficient income to cover daily expenses. Another requirement is a basic knowledge of German at the A2 level. It is advisable to take German lessons even before moving to Vienna.

To obtain a language diploma, you can choose from various institutions, with the most renowned being the Goethe Institut in Germany. The Austrian equivalent is the ÖSD (Austrian Language Diploma). Abroad, you can find the "Österreich-Institut" or the "Goethe Institut" in major cities. Alternatively, you can learn German at private schools, universities, or online platforms and then take the A2-level German exam at an official testing center. Further information about this process can be found here.

Not only will this increase your chances of landing your dream job, but it will also make life way more comfortable.

The European Union (EU) allows for free movement across member countries, making it easy to search for a job in Vienna. However, after residing in Vienna for three months, you are required to register your residence. It's essential to do this, especially if you are no longer staying in tourist accommodations, as it is necessary for various official documents. Similar to other countries, you may be asked for your tax number, national insurance number, and, most importantly, your registration certificate. If you are not from an EU country, there are additional considerations and requirements to be aware of in order to live and work in Vienna.

Employee rights in Austria

According to the law, you are entitled to a minimum of 25 vacation days in Vienna. Additionally, there may be special days off for occasions such as moving or celebrating a wedding. Regulations are also in place for the care of children and the elderly. In terms of salary, you typically receive 14 monthly payments, although only 12 of them are subject to full taxation. Employment contracts in Vienna are generally open-ended, but probationary periods, seasonal work, project-based positions, maternity leave replacements, or freelance contracts are also common.

If you need to take sick leave, the cost will be covered by the health insurance company. It is advisable to consult a doctor and obtain a sick leave certificate if necessary. In Austria, labor unions play a significant role in advocating for workers' rights and have substantial influence. The Chamber of Commerce, known as "Arbeiterkammer," also provides support and guidance regarding any questions, conflicts, or contractual matters. They can be contacted in person, by phone, or via email whenever assistance is needed.

The job application processes in Vienna

Indeed, the job application process can vary depending on the industry and individual experiences of expats and long-established Viennese residents. However, there are some trends worth knowing. In Austria, job postings are legally required to be gender-neutral, and companies have an obligation to hire individuals with disabilities. There are exceptions in cases where certain jobs, such as night work, may pose a higher risk to women. Legal provisions exist to address such situations, but discrimination is generally prohibited. With a need to meet a certain quota of women in public positions in Austria to address the gender pay gap, women are encouraged to consider "traditionally male jobs" without hesitation.

In today's digital age, job applications are typically submitted through a company's website or via email. CVs often follow a traditional structure and commonly include a photograph, although there is no legal obligation to include one. If an application process seems time-consuming, it is acceptable to contact the company directly to inquire about the availability of the position or suitability.

Response times can vary significantly. If a company expresses interest, they will typically reach out via email or phone to invite the applicant for an online or in-person interview.

Work-life in Vienna

In Austria, typical working hours usually span from eight in the morning to five in the afternoon, with a break of either half an hour or an hour. Larger companies often have affordable canteens that offer a variety of food options, including vegetarian choices. Alternatively, many Viennese opt for a sandwich, known as a "Semmel" or "Weckerl" (both are Austrian German terms), which can be purchased at supermarkets. If you have more time, you can explore the lunch menus offered by restaurants in the vicinity. In Vienna, you will find a diverse range of restaurants serving cuisines from around the world, catering to different preferences and tastes.

Regarding greetings, there are two main forms: the formal "Sie" (addressing someone by their last name) and the informal "you" (using the first name). Nowadays, both forms of greeting are used, depending on the sector and the company's culture.

Many expats in Vienna find it convenient and enjoyable not to rely on a car for commuting to work. The city has an excellent and affordable public transportation system, made even more accessible with discounted annual travel passes. However, some individuals appreciate the countryside in Lower Austria ("Niederösterreich") and choose to commute to work by train or car. This option can be particularly attractive for families or those interested in building or buying a house outside the city.

Traditionally, shaking hands is a common practice when greeting people at work. However, due to the impact of the pandemic, it is difficult to make general statements about current practices.

Expats have reported that Viennese professionals work well, but processes may tend to take longer. Bureaucracy can be quite extensive, particularly in public positions.

Regarding attire, business casual is typically the norm in office settings, and wearing a suit to work is less common nowadays.

The "comfort zone" in Austria generally ranges from about 30 centimeters to half a meter, although personal preferences can vary. Hugging, back-slapping, or sitting very close to each other at the PC is generally not common in the Austrian work environment.

It's worth noting that Vienna is a multicultural city, with approximately 50% of Viennese residents having at least one parent with a migration background.

Regarding childcare, Vienna offers a range of good options for both private and public kindergartens. While there are all-day schools available, the selection may not be as extensive compared to some other countries. As a result, around 70% of mothers in Austria work part-time in order to accommodate childcare responsibilities. Fathers also have the option to take paternity leave during the early years of their child's life, although this opportunity is not yet as widely utilized as desired.

Schools in Vienna provide after-school and afternoon care services. However, it's important to note that children must be picked up or have arrangements to go home by 5 pm at the latest.

Good to know:

In Vienna, all apartments, offices, buses, and schools are well-heated during the winter season. However, it is advisable to come prepared with sturdy and comfortable shoes as well as a warm jacket to cope with the colder temperatures experienced in Vienna during winter.

Don't be surprised if the Viennese seem a bit grumpy; they usually warm up as soon as you get to know each other better. And most of them have a good sense of humor. And when someone answers "no," it's not meant personally. Many people try to be direct and straightforward in their responses and don't want to say "maybe later" when they think it won't be possible.

Useful links:

ÖIF – The Austrian Integration Fund

AK – The Austrian Chamber of Labour

Wiener Linien Public Transport in Vienna

WAFF - The Vienna Employment Promotion Fund

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