Voted most livable city in the world an amazing seven times in a row, Vienna is a popular place with locals and foreigners alike. Here you can find a cosmopolitan atmosphere, vibrant culture and all the history you could wish for in a country where salaries - and the standard of living - are typically well above the average for Europe. Who wouldn’t like a chance to try out Vienna life?
If you’re thinking of moving to Vienna, chances are you’ll need to find a job in Vienna to pay your way when you’re there. Vienna has a healthy economy, with a focus on the service sector as well as specialist areas of research and IT, along with a thriving tourism industry.
There’s sure to be a job for you. Check out this quick guide on getting a job in Vienna, and discover how to find it.
Before you start to look for a job in Vienna, you’ll need to check if there are any steps you need to take to work legally there. Luckily, everything you need to know about immigration into Austria is detailed on the government’s migration portal.
As Vienna is in an EU country, citizens of other EU and EEA countries are free to live and work there without needing any special visa or permit. However, if you’re an American or from somewhere outside the EU, you’ll probably need to have a permit to work in Austria.
You can check out all the details about living and working in EU countries, at the EU immigration portal or from a guide to getting a work visa for Austria. You’ll likely need what is known as the Red-White-Red Card, granted using a system designed to match the skills of potential incoming workers and the shortages in the Austrian labour market.
Depending on the type of work you’re planning on doing, it might be possible to apply for an EU Blue Card which gives you the right to work across most EU member states. To be eligible, you must be from a country outside the EU, be highly skilled (typically meaning you’ve completed a bachelor's level university degree or have five years of senior professional experience) and have a job already lined up.
Vienna is the fifth richest place in Europe, with a GDP per capita of around USD 63,000 (or GBP 50,500), well above the EU average. Lots of major international companies have bases in Vienna because of its strategic location bridging the east and west of Europe.
If your German isn’t so strong, you might find a job for non-German speakers by working in English in Vienna with a global company or within an international team of a smaller business. Some of the largest international companies operating in Vienna include Siemens and Hewlett Packard.
Vienna is also a major hub for research, with some 35% of all researchers in Austria based there, and over EUR 2.8 billion invested there in research activities annually.
Startups are more your scene? Vienna has those, too. Among Europe’s top ten startup hotspots, you’ll find the support you need to kickstart your own business or join like-minded entrepreneurs in theirs.
If you’re a student, many of the large companies in Vienna also offer internship opportunities if you’re still studying but want to experience life in Austria. Try Graduateland as a great portal for an ever changing selection of live intern opportunities.
Of course, you’ll want to know a bit about how the salaries and costs of living in Vienna can work out. If you have a specific company or role in mind, Glassdoor is a great way of getting insight into likely salary ranges and company culture. And for cost of living information, compared to your current home, try Numbeo, where you can compare costs of rent, groceries, utilities and so on.
When it comes to job hunting, the internet is your friend. Aside from the most popular job sites like LinkedIn, Indeed and Monster which cover more or less the entire globe, there are lots of local sites to choose from, too. Try these Vienna-specific job sites as a starting point:
Jobs in Vienna is a site aimed at professionals looking to work using their English language
The job board at Virtual Vienna is another good place to try if you want an English speaking job
If your German is up to it, try the job board at news site der Standard
Or access job adverts and helpful hints at tips over at Karriere
As larger employers in Vienna are used to welcoming foreigners, they'll mostly be understanding of your situation if you explain that you're relocating. Just make sure you're clear about your visa status from the start, and explain if you have your paperwork already sorted out or will need sponsorship.
Big international companies are prepared to fight for top talent and recruitment agencies exist to help them connect with the job seekers that are right for them. Looking online will certainly generate ideas and give you a sense for the job openings that are out there - but talking to an agent can really knock your job search up a notch.
Some of the larger and more popular agents in Vienna include:
International recruitment firm, Manpower which covers Vienna
Aviteus is a headhunting company that works across multiple industries and career levels
For roles in specialist areas like financial services or real estate, you can try Perspective Global Executive Search
Be wary of scams or people who say they can deliver extraordinary results. It’s a good idea to check out the credentials of any agency you choose to use, and you shouldn’t ever hand over any cash to simply be put in touch with an employer. Some agents offer a range of ‘add on’ services like helping you to polish your CV, write a cover letter, or get a visa. Make sure you’re very clear about what you’re paying for if you decide to include any extras and, if in doubt, move on to a different agency you can trust.
A huge number of jobs are filled through word of mouth, meaning your network is your most important tool when you’re looking for a new position. This can feel like a challenge when you’re also moving to a new city, but don’t panic. Start by building your network online, joining groups active in your field in Vienna on professional sites like LinkedIn.
Depending on your work area, you might also benefit from joining a local chamber of commerce or business networking group. Checkout sites like Meetup that specialise in bringing like-minded people together for ideas.
The Vienna business agency also offers tailored advice across multiple languages to help foreigners moving to Vienna settle in, build their connections and flourish. They’re well worth looking up, and might be able to give you all the local contacts you need.
Having a great CV is crucial when you’re looking for a new job. Make sure it’s up to date, error free and easy to read, or busy recruiters will likely put you on the bottom of their pile. Getting a job in Vienna is a competitive affair, so make sure you invest the time upfront.
The document you need to submit is usually known as a CV in Europe, but is different to that known as a curriculum vitae or CV in America. Here, your CV should be no more than two to three pages and provide a concise summary of your work, education and extracurricular activities and how they relate to the job you’re applying for.
The standards for a CV vary enormously across the globe. In Austria it’s normal to include full personal details such as date of birth, nationality, marital status and details of military service if relevant. A photo (headshot) might also be requested.
If you’re starting from scratch preparing a CV for the European market, check out the CV and cover letter templates and advice available from Europass. Here you can download a standard template which includes all the relevant information for CVs in Europe, which you simply have to complete. For more specialist ideas about the Austrian labour market, try online sites like Jobera or consider hiring a local CV consultant who can help tailor your documents for the roles you’re seeking.
For most of us, job interviews can be pretty stressful - not least when your prospective employer might be on the other side of the globe. When recruiting long distance, it’s not uncommon for first interviews to be held over the phone or on a video call. This approach throws up a whole set of different challenges to a face to face meeting, so it’s worth planning in advance and thinking about how to build rapport with your interviewer while you’re not even in the same room. Asking relevant questions, using humour and even smiling while you speak can make for a friendly conversation which can help you get through to the next round.
More established businesses in Vienna will conduct a traditional interview process, involving two or three rounds and with German language tests if it’s needed for the job. Remember that first impressions count - be punctual, smart, and remember the proper job titles for everyone you meet. You can expect to be introduced to multiple people and need to make polite small talk before getting down to business, so it’s best to have a few lines prepared in advance about yourself, the weather and your journey into the office.
Newer businesses and startups will often take a more relaxed approach, so find out as much as you can about the process adopted before you attend your meeting.
If you’ve got a job offer, and employer visa sponsorship in hand already, then you can start to tick off more practical considerations.
Find out more about getting a place to live with the helpful advice and practical support available from the Vienna city council. And don’t forget to check out the rules on residence and settlement as you might need to register your stay even if you’re an EU citizen if you’re planning on staying in Vienna for the long term.
You’re also going to need some cash to get you started in Austria, so you may be wondering how to go about converting your money to the local currency. If you plan to open a bank account in Austria, or know someone with an account there, consider using TransferWise to send your money to and from Vienna. There’s a small transparent fee, and the real exchange rate is applied to convert from one currency to another - the same one you can find on Google. In addition to that, TransferWise receives and sends money via local bank transfers instead of internationally, which saves you even more money by eliminating international transfer fees. Once your visas and currency exchange are in order, you’re ready to move to Vienna!