Working in Austria

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finding a job in AustriaIn the past, expats interested in working in Austria could anticipate a long, tedious job hunt, often ending in disappointment. Non-European Union (EU) citizens had little access to Austria's highly developed economy - it's one of the richest in the world and has minimal unemployment - due to stringent work permit criteria that looked to protect the local labour market.

However, more recently Austria has approved legislation which has served to loosen immigration requirements for expats outside the EU quite significantly. These measures are a method for government to supplement the country’s ageing workforce and fill gaps in certain sectors, specifically research, engineering and specialised management.

Lower-level posts in the internationally acclaimed tourism industry are also materialising. Western Austria's winter sports region draws sporting enthusiasts of all ages and nationalities, and it follows that restaurant workers, chefs and housekeeping staff are in demand, especially during the peak season between November and March.

Otherwise, though Vienna claims some leading corporations in the finance and consulting sectors, jobs in these areas are scarce for expats, and are usually reserved for locals or are filled by members of the large German expat population that has migrated to Austria. There are just a few select firms that recruit internationally.

EU citizens can legally work in Austria without having to obtain a work permit. Expats from outside the EU who are highly skilled or work in particular fields can look into applying to one of the many available work permits for Austria.
 

Work etiquette in Austria


  • Austrians place a lot of emphasis on first impressions, expats should dress elegantly and conservatively and conduct themselves accordingly
  • Hierarchy is important in the Austrian workplace; so much so, that overachieving can even be viewed as an attempt to challenge authority. Always be respectful of those in senior positions.
  • Titles and surnames are important in Austria. When addressing business contacts, always use titles such as Herr (Mr), Frau (Mrs) or Fräulein (Miss). Professional and academic titles should also be added when necessary (e.g. Herr Professor Kaufmann).
  • Austrians are more loyal to their co-workers than their company, and are fond of making strong friendships with their colleagues. That said, communication in the office environment is formal, terse and to the point.
  • Punctuality is paramount; it is extremely rude to be late to a meeting or to be anything other than thoroughly prepared.
  • Faxes and emails, and any other form of correspondence should be done in a formal manner
  • Working days in Austria last eight hours, though starting times and ending times may vary depending on the employer

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