Foreign companies as a driving force for Austria
However, there is another group which is even more successful but which gets less attention, namely foreign companies which have set up business operations in Austria. They are clearly outnumbered. Only 3.2% of the firms operating in Austria are foreign owned.
Having said that, on average these firms are very large. Foreign companies employ 566,000 people, or one-fifth of all employees in Austria. This is an important factor in the economy. But above all, they are much more productive than domestic firms. Foreign-controlled firms generate a production output of EUR 130 billion, comprising a 28.5% share of total production.
Austria has comparatively high wage levels. However, due to the high productivity, foreign companies in Austria can pay above-average salaries. Their personnel expenses amount to EUR 33 billion, or 28.3% of total staff costs.
Foreign companies are indispensable when it comes to corporate research in Austria. They employ 40% of the entire workforce in Austria devoted to R&D, and account for close to 52% of corporate R&D expenditures.
Foreign-controlled firms even employ more than two-thirds of the people working in some individual sectors, for example 68% of the workforce involved in producing automobiles and automobile components, and 85% of the total number of people engaged in manufacturing pharmaceutical products.
In 2014, foreign-controlled companies accounted for more than one-quarter (26%) of the total investments made by all companies, which is an important indicator for the further business development of individual firms as well as for the economy as a whole. Many of them make a major contribution to Austria’s export successes. To name one example, more than three-quarters of all BMW vehicles in the world are propelled by engines produced in Upper Austria.
In other words, against the backdrop of a highly competitive environment, foreign companies manage to operate even more successfully than domestic firms. They are more productive, conduct research more extensively and pay their employees higher salaries. It is important to take this opportunity to thank these companies. Without them, the economic success of our country would not be possible in this form.