Working in Romania
Expats planning to work in Romania may find the job market quite tough and difficult to enter. Salaries in Romania are relatively low, and reflect the local competition for jobs, as well as the effects of the global economic and financial downturn of 2009. Many companies are quite closed, and prefer to hire Romanians rather than dealing with the hassles of immigration when trying to obtain a work permit and government bureaucracy. That being said, the Romanian government is keen to attract foreign business, and establish the country as a strategic base for businesses trying to invest in and expand in the Eastern European market. Romania was ranked 56th in the World Bank 'worldwide ease of doing business' rankings.
Economic climate in Romania
With the collapse of the Ceauşescu regime came a number of economic reforms and transformations that led to a period of great economic growth. Upon joining the EU in 2007, Romania continued to thrive, and has the eleventh-largest economy, according to its nominal GDP, in the EU. Despite the global debt crisis, Romania continues to soldier on, and expats considering a move to Romania are likely to find employment if they are persistent and motivated.
Romania has a vast amount of relatively untapped economic potential. Large areas of the country are dedicated to agriculture, while Romania has an array of tourist attractions and a tourist industry that is open for development and investment. Other areas that expats may find employment opportunities include the resources and energy sectors, and the manufacturing industry. Expats are also likely to find employment opportunities in the industrial sector and related services, as well as in the services sector.
Romania has seen growth in the area of Human Resources, and many HR agencies look to hire expats in executive positions at some of the larger companies and multi-nationals. IT certifications are highly prized in the Romanian business world. Expats looking for decidedly non-corporate working environments should consider finding employment in the NGO or teaching sectors in Romania.
Some of the larger companies in Romania include Mobexpert, Bitdefender, Romstal, Dacia, Petrom and Rompetrol. Romania’s largest and most important trading partner is Italy, which exports computers and software, defence and aircraft equipment, cars and wheat to Romania. Key exports from Romania include jewellery, diamonds, telecommunications equipment, printing machinery and military equipment. Fluency in English, Italian, French or German are highly valued in the Romanian business environment, and expats who can speak one or more of those languages will greatly increase their job prospects.
Doing business in Romania
The Romanian working week is from Monday to Friday, and business hours tend to be from 9am to 5pm, sometimes 6pm. Romania has approximately 11 national holidays each year. It is generally understood that business meetings are not scheduled on or for days close to national holidays. Business is conducted in a formal manner, and business meetings tend to begin with a handshake. Formal attire is essential. As with many ex-communist countries, Romania has its fair share of bureaucracy. Expats conducting business and working in Romania should expect things to seem slightly old-fashioned and hierarchical – age and gender are important – and older members of a business environment garner far more respect than their younger counterparts. Titles are incredibly important in Romanian society. In business meetings and at business functions, address and introduce people using their title and surname (Domnul is Mr and Doamna is Mrs). First names are reserved for close friends.
The languages of business in Romania are both English and Romanian. Business meetings should be confirmed a few days before the meeting. Employing the services of an interpreter during a business meeting is advisable, regardless of whether your business associates are fluent in English or not. It is also important to print your business card in both English and Romanian. In terms of small talk and conversation topics, Romanians can be quite guarded. It is prudent to steer clear of conversational topics, such as Romanian politics and the Roma people. Being invited to a colleague’s home is a special honour, and a gift is customary (chocolates, wine, or an uneven number of flowers, as even numbers are given at funerals).