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Doing Business in Vienna

Are you ready to begin working in Vienna as an expat? The city on the Danube is not only Austria’s cultural center, but also an economic powerhouse with numerous business and career opportunities. Read our guide for information on job searching, business etiquette, and more.
Relaxation and socializing are both part of Viennese business life.

Social Security: Don’t Worry, You Are Covered!

As per the Austrian social security regulations, every employee receives mandatory health insurance, insurance against work-related accidents and illnesses, and pays into a pension fund from the day of their first paycheck.

The public health insurance plan covers doctor’s appointments and basic hospital visits. Medication can be obtained with a prescription for a small fee. Additional insurance coverage is optional. You will be issued a free E-card with your health insurance, which acts as proof of insurance and provides healthcare in all of Europe. Please see our article about living in Vienna for further information on healthcare and insurance. In general, anybody working in Vienna is covered for many of life’s eventualities.

Austria has international social security agreements with numerous countries: The money you pay into the Austrian pension fund can be transferred into the pension fund of your home country when your time as an expat is over. Please refer to this list to find out if this applies to your country of origin.

Do You Speak Wienerisch?

In Vienna, one of the first characteristics you will come across is the famous Wienerisch dialect. While this dialect is quite unique and widely popular in the city, most businesspeople will make use of standard German.

A good command of English and other European languages, such as French or Italian, is a great asset in Austria’s business world. You can expect most professionals to have a grasp of at least one foreign language. English, for example, is taught in Austrian schools from fifth grade. However, to achieve higher levels of success, confidence, and enjoyment, you should have advanced German skills.

Upgrade Your Language Skills

As Vienna has proven to be desirable for many people from around the world, the city offers high-quality German classes in order to help them settle in. There are also a number of private institutions which can assist you in becoming proficient in the new language.

Furthermore, other expats who have already become fluent in German might offer their help through newspaper ads or via internet. The homepage of the Vienna City Administration includes an overview of the various possibilities for language learning.

Business Culture: Between Etiquette and Small Talk

Although the Viennese are known throughout Austria and the German-speaking world for their blunt, but cordial conduct, you should refrain from such frankness when starting your new job. Business etiquette tends to be rather reserved and conservative.

Physical contact during greetings and in other situations is to be avoided, with the exception of handshakes. Punctuality, seriousness and reliability are crucial factors in the Austrian business environment, and should be demonstrated consistently. Too jovial behavior might be regarded as unprofessional.

Your leisure time will, of course, be a lot less governed by rules, and the Viennese are generally open towards different cultures and ways of life. Nonetheless, you should stick to small talk and discussions of popular pastimes. It is critical that you avoid political and historical topics from 20th-century history as much as possible; older generations in particular might easily be offended.

Please be also aware of the many cultural differences between Austria and Germany. Austria is a nation with its very own identity, and comparing it to Germany (or viewing it as an “appendix” of sorts) will be regarded as offensive and disrespectful.


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