Austrian Managers under the spotlight, “Biz”

Vienna, Austria – How much do Managers earn in Austria? What other benefits do they receive? What type of management style do they have? What should you do if you want a career in Austria? We talked to Conrad Pramböck, Head of Compensation Consulting at the Executive Search firm Pedersen & Partners.

Conrad Pramböck is an expert on Austrian executive compensation. In fact, he can instantly identify the position held by any manager in any Austrian company – he just looks at the car! “The most important bonus is the company car, especially for management and sales executives. Approximately 80-90% of these employees get a company car, which usually reflects their status within the company.” If you are a Key Account Manager, you will probably drive a Volkswagen Passat. However, if you are a Sales Director for a medium-sized company, you may drive a BMW 3 series or Audi A4 – or a BMW 5 series or Audi A6 in the same position in a large company. If you become the CEO of a large company, your car is likely to be an Audi A8, BMW 7 series, Mercedes S-Class or even a Porsche.

“During your first 5-10 years, you are promoted on the basis of your performance. However, for the executive positions at the next level, your performance is not the only factor – it is also important that you integrate and work well in a team.” Conrad Pramböck, Head of Compensation Consulting at Pedersen & Partners

Conrad has worked in Executive Search for the last 19 years, and is now a global compensation expert – so of course we had to ask him how much Austrian Managers earn. He told us that Austrian executive pay is at the same level as salaries in France, the Netherlands and Scandinavia, and gave us some solid numbers.

  • After graduation, salaries start at 30-35,000 Euros gross per year, and university graduates in their 30s can expect to earn 40-50,000 Euros gross per year.
  • Young Managers earn over 50,000 Euros per year while group directors, team leaders and project Managers earn up to 70,000 Euros per year.
  • Marketing Directors, Sales Directors and Finance Directors in medium-sized companies bring home 70,000 to 100,000 Euros per year, while their counterparts in large companies earn between 100,000 and 150,000 Euros, plus bonuses.
  • A General Director’s salary starts at 100,000 Euros per year, but can be substantially more depending on the company size. If you are responsible for 500 employees, the salary starts at 150,000 Euros plus bonuses, whereas a manager responsible for 2,000 employees could earn up to 200,000 Euros. If you have over 5,000 employees, you can earn over 300,000 Euros – and even as much as 500,000 Euros.

He points out that the quality of life in Vienna is excellent, which is very attractive for executives. “You feel safe here, your kids can go to a good public school, the public transport is excellent, and you have access to cultural events. The purchasing power parity is very good.”

Conrad goes on to explain that Austrian and German executives work in very different ways. As an Austrian executive himself, he emphasises that the Austrian management style is about discussions, networking and negotiation, while the German style is based on a clear hierarchy. “The Austrian solution is to try to please everyone. Austrians understand the major differences between cultures, and adapt to them. This is the reason that we have been successful in the region.”

Finally, he concludes with some sound advice for Managers who want a career in Vienna, or anywhere else in Austria – work hard on your German. “An expat can do well using English, but for a personal connection you must speak German,” he says. Personal connections and networking are very important in the Austrian managerial culture. “At least 80% of jobs are obtained through personal networks. It is almost impossible for someone to break into the circle from the outside – if nobody I know has heard of you, you don’t exist.”

Pedersen & Partners is one of the fastest-growing, fully integrated Executive Search firms worldwide; it is 100% owned by its partners who all work full-time to serve its clients. The firm celebrated its 15th anniversary in January 2016, and to mark this occasion, it has created a timeline web page, featuring key milestones for the firm’s development and has released an anniversary video.

Conrad Pramböck is the Head of Compensation Consulting at Pedersen & Partners. Based in Vienna, Austria, he is responsible for consulting companies on all aspects of compensation, including providing companies with up-to-date market information on salary ranges and design of bonus systems across all industries and geographies. Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Pramböck held several senior positions in international consultancy firms. He started his career with a German Consultancy firm working in management consulting and later in the Compensation Consulting business unit based in Austria. For the following seven years he worked with one of the top Austrian Executive Search firms as the Head of Compensation Consulting. He was responsible for all international compensation consulting activities and developed and maintained an international compensation database in 40 countries.

Pedersen & Partners is a leading international Executive Search firm. We operate 56 wholly owned offices in 52 countries across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia & the Americas. Our values Trust, Relationship and Professionalism apply to our interaction with clients as well as executives. More information about Pedersen & Partners is available at

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