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 the 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.

Finding work in Austria

Austria is often thought of as old-fashioned, and finding work in Austria requires following traditional job-hunting routes.

Online job sites and classifieds do exist, but employers and job-seekers alike prefer to rely on print publication and the very comprehensive services of the Arbeitsmarktservice (The Austrian Employment Service - AES). The latter is a highly informative resource that expats can use to familiarise themselves with Austria's labour laws, work contracts and work culture.

Employment sections in newspapers are usually published on the weekends, and a regularly updated list of job vacancies can be found on the AES supported eJob Room. Local companies may also publish posts on their websites.

Expats applying to 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.

Expats will also find that Austrians spend a good deal of time analysing "statuspheres"; meaning, a person’s appearance, education and working experience. These are often deciding factors when it comes to acquisition.

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