Non-staff expats earn less

News | Vienna Review | October 2013

Migrant entrepreneurs living and working in Vienna earn less than natives, according to the study by the Vienna Business Agency (Wiener Wirtschaftsagentur). Roughly 72% live on €800 per month.

Since the 1970s, the number of non-Austrian entrepreneurs has more than tripled (to 26,200 in 2011, 81.5% of all migrants). Today, one in three entrepreneurs is a migrant.

Deputy Mayor Renate Brauner (SPÖ) pointed out we are not talking about "three or four kebab stalls," but industries that are of great value for the city’s economy. Immigrant businesses created 20,000 jobs and generated €640 million in 2011, mainly in hotel and food service, trade, logistics, and construction.

The income disparity arises from self-employment often being the only alternative to unemployment, when migrants can’t find work in their area of expertise. "Why is an academic driving a taxi and a registered nurse selling vegetables?" Brauner says, "Very often it is a question of recognition."

Almost half of self-employed migrants (46.6%) have a high-school diploma or higher degree. Most hail from Slovakia, Poland and former Yugoslavia, and Brauner noted that language is a key hurdle for man. However, Germany in also in the top 10.

The City of Vienna, the Vienna Business Agency and local community colleges are now planning business-launching workshops in Ottakring, offered in 14 languages from 25 to 29 November.

Other articles from this issue: