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EARNINGS

How much money do people earn in Austria – and which jobs are the best paid?

Austria is well-known for having high salaries and a high quality of life. But how much do people actually earn? And what are the best and worst paid jobs in Austria?

How much money do people earn in Austria - and which jobs are the best paid?
Mowing the lawn is a great way to work on your suntan, but is on the lower end of the pay spectrum. Image: AFP

Like most countries, professions like doctors, lawyers and psychologists are well paid.

These jobs also require many years of university education, which is reflected in the salaries as people progress in their career.

Then there are tradespeople, such as carpenters, electricians and agricultural workers. These professions are typically not in the same salary bracket as the doctors and lawyers.

However, some specialised workers can still earn a high income in Austria.

Other well-paid jobs in Austria are marketing and PR roles, project managers, engineers and business development managers.

It’s worth noting that there isn’t a legal minimum wage in Austria.

Instead there are collective agreements in place with social partners to pay workers a minimum of €1,500 gross (before tax) per month. 

What do the statistics say?

The latest official Statista figures show that in 2019 the average annual salary in Austria was €44,689. 

According to Statistics Austria, the lowest incomes in 2020 were for blue collar jobs with a median salary of €21,961. The highest earners were civil servants with a median annual salary of €59,145.

Not surprisingly, some of the highest earners are in management, technology development, IT, law and banking.

The Lohnspiegel, a salary comparison website, states the average monthly salary for a lawyer in Austria is €4,100, and for an IT manager it’s €3,891. 

On the other side of the fence, some of the lowest paid workers are in the hotel and hospitality industry.

The average monthly salary for a waitress is a €1,610, but the minimum rate is just €1,303.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz earns €316,652 gross per year – or €22,618 per month. Photo: AFP.

Regional differences

The average salary can vary between the different regions in Austria, depending on the cost of living and the types of industry operating in the area.

Workers can expect the highest salaries in Vienna, Innsbruck in Tyrol and St Pölten in Lower Austria. In fact, most metropolitan areas have higher salaries than rural regions.

On a regional basis, the lowest salaries can be found in Tyrol, where tourism is a key industry. The highest salaries can be found in Lower Austria, where the main industries are manufacturing and healthcare. 

What about the gender pay gap?

The gender pay gap has long been a topic of discussion in Austria, which stands at 19.9 per cent in favour of men. This is above the EU average of 14.1 per cent

This means that women in Austria are roughly earning 80 per cent of what men earn.

A big part of this is the division of the labour market between male and female dominated roles, with “male” jobs earning significantly more.

For example, women are more likely to work in the hospitality industry than men, which is one of the lowest-paying professions in the country.

Motherhood and household duties also play a part with most women switching to part time work as they take care of the family and the men become the main household earner.

What about the pandemic?

A lot has happened in the past 12 months. Most notably, coronavirus swept the globe and caused economic upheaval, which forced some companies to lay off staff.

In pre-pandemic times (2019), unemployment levels in Austria were decreasing on a monthly basis with the average unemployment rate at 4.5 per cent.

Since then, the tourism and hospitality industries have taken a big economic hit due to the ongoing coronavirus restrictions. This resulted in the unemployment rate rising to 11.4 per cent in January 2021.

It’s not all bad news though. The construction sector is still performing well and Economics Minister Margarete Schramböck said industry has created 450,000 jobs in Austria in recent months.

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COST OF LIVING

Can British people in Austria claim the winter fuel payment from the UK?

It’s no secret that winter is set to be expensive with rising energy costs. But some British people in Austria might be able to access financial support through the UK benefits system.

Can British people in Austria claim the winter fuel payment from the UK?

In the UK, there are various benefits available to help eligible people through the cold winter months – one of which is the winter fuel payment.

And, as the rising cost of living in Austria takes a chunk out of household budgets, some British people are wondering if they can still claim this benefit while living in Austria.

To find out, we took a closer look at the rules for claiming the winter fuel payment from the UK while overseas.

FOR MEMBERS: What are the rules about turning on the heating in the workplace in Austria?

What is the UK’s winter fuel payment?

The winter fuel payment is a tax-free payment to help older people with heating costs during the cold winter months.

Eligible people are those born on or before 25th September 1956 who were living in the UK during the qualifying week (starting the third Monday in September).

How much people receive depends on their age and whether anyone else in the household is also eligible, but the amount is usually between £100 and £300.

Those living in a care home or nursing home only qualify for the benefit if they are already receiving pension credit, income-based job seekers allowance or employment and support allowance.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: What will happen to Austria’s property market in 2023?

I’m a UK national living in Austria. Can I claim the winter fuel payment?

As with most issues related to bureaucracy, the answer to the question above is: it depends.

Official guidance from the UK government states that you may be able to claim the winter fuel benefit from abroad if you are at least 68 years of age, live in Switzerland or an EEA country, have a genuine link to the UK (such as family) and you’re covered by the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.

Additionally, having previously claimed the winter fuel payment in the UK before moving abroad is not a requirement.

So, in theory, some British people living in Austria will be able to claim this benefit from the UK, as long as they were already in Austria by 31st December 2020.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How does the Austrian pension system work?

However, only those that lived and worked in the UK for most of their life can claim the winter fuel payment, according to the online checker on the UK government website. 

This means if you moved to Austria for retirement and you meet the other criteria, then you probably will be eligible. But if you lived and worked in Austria for most of your adult life, maybe not.

How to claim the winter fuel payment?

To make a claim for this benefit for the first time, you will need to call the Winter Fuel Payment hotline on +44 (0)191 218 7777. The phone lines are open from Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm (UK time).

Alternatively, you can apply by post by filling in the IPCF091 form.

To apply for the winter fuel payment, you will need to provide your National Insurance number and bank details. The authorities will also ask for a copy of the Article 50 Card to prove that you were living in Austria by 31st December 2020.

Find out more about the application process at the UK government website.

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