Business in Austria

World Bank Group’s ease of doing business index is used to compare laws, regulations and levels of property right protection of different economies. This index incorporates sub-indices which evaluate things such as; starting a business, registering property, paying taxes, getting credit, trading across borders etc. Out of 189 observed economies, Austria is ranked 21st by degree of ease (ranking from high to low). By the ranking of ease of trading across borders, Austria has been ranked number one for the past few years. It also has a high ranking in areas such as enforcing contracts, getting electricity and resolving insolvency.

Vienna is a city with numerous international companies (OMV, Henkel,Siemens etc.) as well as headquarters of organizations such as the UN, IAEA, OPEC and OSCE.  In 2014 solely, Vienna became the home of 159 offices of international firms. Since 2004, more than 8,000 new firms are being established in Vienna every year.

Vienna has an extensively rising startup community as well as potential of becoming Europe’s major startup hub. The reason for this is that the city offers great support to entrepreneurs, in both the financial and the knowledge area. Educational as well as networking events are organized almost every day and the best part is that many of them are free of charge. Since 2012, Vienna hosts the annual Pioneers Festival which is one of the world’s largest startup events bringing together some of the top innovators, entrepreneurs and investors.

The Austrian Federal Economic Chamber provides financial and legal advisory services for businesses. They have put together a useful list of steps for starting a Business in Austria. The following webpage presents three different lists, each adjusted for a specific type of ownership. LINK


Why work in Vienna?

For the past seven years, Vienna has continuously been named the most livable city in the world. The Mercer Quality of Living Survey ranks world cities based on the quality of life they offer. Some of the aspects that contribute to this include economic, political, environmental and personal safety as well as public services such as health, education and transportation . This survey was initiated to help governments and companies make proper decisions while placing their employees on international assignments.


  • Economy
    Vienna is one of the wealthiest regions in the European Union. In 2015 it was listed as the 9thmost economically powerful city in the world.
    Vienna alone offered 4.558 vacant employment positions in 2015. The service sector is Vienna’s most vital economic sector as it accounts for 85,5% of its gross value added.
  • Safety
    The crime level in Vienna is significantly low, and large scale surveys confirm this by showing that its inhabitants consider it a very safe place to live. In addition, it is ranked fifth in the world for “personal safety”.
  • Education
    It is well known that Vienna offers outstanding education at practically no cost. The institution choices are as diverse as its population, curricula are offered in different world languages and there are even schools which offer bilingual programs. Vienna’s educational institutions as well as numerous cultural attractions are what led it to take first place in the category of 2015 “Knowledge City-Region”.
  • Health
    The vast majority of individuals who take up employment in Vienna are automatically covered by a public health insurance plan. Vienna provides exceptional medical care and makes it available for all insured persons (insurance is mandatory in Austria and is generally paid through employment tax).


Starting a life in Vienna is by no means easy, it is however, completely worth the time and effort invested to overcome any obstacles which may come your way. By coming to Vienna, you will ensure a high quality life for both you and your family.


Last but certainly not least, it is important to be aware of the business customs in Austria!

  • Punctuality is extremely important in the Austrian culture. Following schedules and agendas is highly encouraged or rather mandatory.
    When meeting with an Austrian, it should be kept in mind that even a few minutes delay can offend. If for some reason it happens that you are running late, make sure to call ahead and provide a reasonable explanation.

  • Avoid physical contact except short, firm handshakes accompanied by eye contact.
  • Austrians assign a high level of importance to academic titles so make sure you don’t leave them out when addressing someone. It is custom to use the individual’s academic title followed by their surname (e.g. Doctor Polster).
  • The conventional work environment is serious, focused and goal-oriented.
  • Communication: formal, avoid joking and especially political and historical discussions.
    It is very important to distinguish Austria from Germany and it would generally be best to stay away from making comparisons between the two.
  • DRESS CODE: Conservative! Loud clothes should by all means be avoided. Good outfit choices for women include fashionable business suits and strictly conservative dresses while for men the best choice is a dark suit with a white shirt and a tie.
    Make sure you avoid spraying on a large amount of perfume; Austrians are highly disturbed by this and see it as quite impolite.  
  • As a man, you should be careful when deciding whether to assist a lady (e.g. holding the door, helping with the coat etc.). Although a large portion respects ‘gentleman’ behaviour, there are also some left-wing, feminist women which consider such actions to be patronizing.
    • ”Mahlzeit” and ”Guten Appetit” are commonly said before the start of a meal in Austria. However, at formal, business dinners it may be desirable not to say it or at least wait for someone else to do so.


      • Make appointments in advance. (2-3 weeks)
      • Do NOT cancel meetings last minute – such an action can have serious consequences.
      • Business meetings should always be formal.
      • Make sure to thoroughly prepare for meetings as Austrians are generally very detail oriented in business and expect you to be able to answer all the questions which may come up.
      • Just as punctuality, following agendas is remarkably meaningful.
      • Do not sit until invited to do so.
      • In business, Austrians put focus on long-term relationships rather than making quick sales and that is the way you should set your approach.
      • There is no explicit convention for the exchange of business cards. One thing you might want to do is have one side of your card be with information in German, it will be respected from the side of the locals.