8/2/2005 04:55 EST
I cannot refer you to any salary surveys, but the salaries in Austria are traditionally lower than those in America for the same level of responsibility, job characteristics, etc.
However, since (I am assuming) you are already employed by a US multinational your salary in Vienna could be negotiated to a substantially higher base than that of your Austrian counterpart. In most cases when US operations chooses someone to live and work in a foreign country they are doing so because they recognize key benefits such as having someone who clearly understands the company strategy, mission, and important business objectives. If you can sell them on this value proposition you have a good chance at a lucrative base.
You need to know that housing costs are very high in Vienna, depending on which district you live in, and food, appliances, furniture are generally the same. Clothes can be a little pricy in some places, however Vienna has some good outlet malls.
The most important thing for you to consider when discussing salary is your take home (netto). Since you are earning through the Austrian system you will be taxed at higher rate than you would in the US. This is a complicated formula and depends on whether you are single, married, primary earner, and no. of children and how much your Brutto (gross) is.
For example if you are single with no dependents you could expect to see only half of your Brutto each month.
Therefore, I would ask your Austrian HR to carefully calculate in advance what your take home (Netto) will be. From there I would base my salary negotiations on a Netto basis to ensure you wind up with the same package or better than what you have now...all things being equal. Also, be careful with the currency exchange and know that the Euro will not stay stronger than the dollar forever.
Being paid through the Austrian system means that you are covered by their very high quality Krankenkasse, (health plan), and all Social security paid in to Austria while you are working here is credited to the US SS administration as equal points when you retire one day...assuming we will see this anyhow. Also, as of January 2003 there is a portion of your social taxes that will be paid back to you upon leaving the country, about 1,53% of Brutto. Just mention "Mitarbeitervorsorgekasse" to your Austrian HR. They will know what this is.
Lastly do not forgot the so-called "second paycheck". This is the one that does not come in the form of money. It comes in the form of valuable and life-lasting experiences that you just cannot get anywhere else. Generally, the second paychecks are cashed some time down the road.
I have been working here in Vienna for three and a half years now for a US multinational. I can say that the experience has been priceless. The things that my family and I have been exposed to are positive and significant, however there have been some challenges. If I can assist with avoiding any of these pitfalls please let me know under firstname.lastname@example.org
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