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Expat Insider - The World Through Expat Eyes

Austrians Don't Stray Too Far from Home

Highly educated and linguistically capable, Austrian expats tend to be older than average and earn more than back home.
  • 41% have lived in three or more countries before
  • Nearly two-fifths speak the local language(s) very well
  • Over seven in ten (71%) have a partner from another country
  • An above-average 16% have a PhD
  • Austrians are notably older than average (47.2 years old)

Always Internationally Minded

Austrian expats are experienced when it comes to living abroad: more than four in ten (41%) have already lived in three or more foreign countries. Close to three in ten (28%) have been living in their current host country for more than ten years, with 12% even taking up citizenship there.

Kein Problem with Local Languages

After the USA — where 9% of Austrian respondents live — Germany is the second most popular destination for Austrian expats. This makes the move abroad far less linguistically challenging, since German is the native language of both countries. However, even Austrian respondents who move beyond German-speaking countries still manage to pick up the local language(s): nearly two-fifths (39%) say they speak it very well, compared to a global average of less than a quarter (24%). This is fortunate as almost three in ten (28%) say expat life in their host country would be very challenging without local language skills.

Austrians’ ability to communicate abroad may also be connected to the fact that so many of them can speak English: learning English at school is compulsory in most parts of Austria, and Austrians rank eighth when it comes to English proficiency worldwide.

Crossing Borders for Love and Friendship

Three-fifths of Austrians abroad describe their social circle as a mix of expats and locals, possibly connected to their ability to communicate in multiple languages. Austrians are also not afraid to go it alone: just 2% of Austrians moved to a city where they already knew people, compared to 10% of expats worldwide.

Two-thirds of Austrians are in a relationship, and more than one in ten Austrian expats (12%) relocated to be with their partner. In general, loved-up Austrians tend to have partners from other countries: of those who are in a relationship, more than seven in ten (71%) are with a foreign national, and two-fifths say they met their partner in their current host country.

Highly Educated and Career-Driven

Austrian expats tend to be well-educated: 43% have a postgraduate or master’s degree, and a further 16% have a PhD — ten percentage points higher than the global average. Some are even relocating for their studies: 9% moved for this reason, nearly double the global average (5%). This doesn’t mean Austrian expats want to stay in academia: only 3% work as teachers, academic staff, or researchers compared to 9% globally. Instead, the most frequent status of employment for Austrians abroad is as an employee (29%) or a manger (15%). Nearly a fifth (17%) say they moved abroad as they were sent by their employer, while 8% were recruited by a local company (global average: 11% and 6% respectively).

Austrians abroad can expect to earn more than if they’d stayed at home. While 54% of those working say that they are bringing home more than they would for the same job in Austria, just 15% said their salary was a lot larger. This means Austrians are almost ten percentage points less likely to feel that they are earning considerably more abroad than the global average (24%).

While 29% of Austrian expats are employees, one in ten are retirees, making this the third most popular employment status among Austrian respondents. With an average age of 47.2 years, Austrians are almost four years older than the survey average (43.5), and just 15% have dependent children living with them abroad.

Further Reading