Cultural intelligence

 
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Austria - hard working and industrious

Austria is bordered by the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Switzerland. It has a population of 8.5 million, with 1.7 million living in the capital and largest city, Vienna.

The majority of the population speak local Bavarian dialects of German as their native language and Austrian German in its standard form is the country’s official language, used in education, publications, announcements and websites. It is very similar to German but with some vocabulary differences. The country joined the European Union in 1995 and adopted the Euro in 1999.

Austria currently produces more than half of its electricity by hydropower. Together with other renewable sources such as wind, solar and biomass power plants, the electricity supply from renewable energy amounts to nearly 63% of total use in Austria with the rest being produced by gas and oil plants.

Agriculture declined after the Second World War, however, Austria is self-sufficient in all cereals and milk products as well as red meat. This is remarkable, given that 62% of the country comprises the Austrian Alps and is therefore unsuitable for agricultural purposes.

Austrians are known for being hard-working, industrious and well-educated.  As a result of Austria’s strong business culture it is an attractive destination for those looking to set up new business ventures. It is particularly suited towards businesses in the banking and finance sector as well as engineering and bio-technology.

The country is enjoying something of an entrepreneurial renaissance, driven largely by the return of some highly successful entrepreneurs. The reasons for it are thought to be a combination of good access to tech talent and generous government subsidies.

But starting a business in Austria is not without challenges. It is still quite costly and to a degree, start-up-unfriendly; although there are some political initiatives to adapt current law to modern day requirements, the wheels of Viennese bureaucracy turn slowly. Labour costs are also high, due to payroll-taxes and health insurance costs.

Business culture is quite formal. Arrive at a meeting well-prepared, ensuring that supplementary materials are available for all parties. Austrians appreciate direct and literal communication so try to avoid coded language.

Share your Austrian business experiences

Sources: Wikpedia, expatarrivals.com, Forbes

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