Working in Russia
- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Russia Guide (PDF)
Expats working in Russia are often afforded high salaries and a lofty financial quality of life. However, these sizeable payouts are hard-earned, and jobs for foreigners are becoming more difficult to find.
Most non-locals who have secured work in Russia occupy executive or senior managerial positions. These jobs are often pinned down with the help of Russian or international executive search offices. Junior and middle-management positions are now much more likely to be filled by locals.
Job market in Russia
Russia's economy is heavily based on natural resources, specifically oil and natural gas. Expats working in the fields of technology, science and education will also find a market for their skills. Teaching English in Russia is another common occupation for expats.
Expats are generally paid lucrative wages and given housing and education allowances. These expat employment packages are not as glamorous as they were a few years ago but are often considerably more than what expats would be earning at home. It follows that many expats perceive working in Russia as a grand opportunity to further their career and improve their financial status.
Private business is still lagging, and untrusting attitudes toward foreigners and poor business regulations are difficult to handle. Crime related to bribery and corruption has also affected costs for both local and international enterprises.
Finding a job in Russia
Expats can make use of a recruitment company to assist with their job search, or alternatively use online job portals. It is important to keep in mind that the language barrier is a considerable obstacle to overcome as only a small percentage of the population speaks anything besides Russian.
However, if working for a multinational, it’s likely that more employees will speak at least some degree of English. Expats who can speak Russian will adjust to the cultural differences far quicker than those who don't.
Work culture in Russia
Business culture in Russia is generally conservative and hierarchical. Employees do not usually contribute to decision making and usually follow instructions with little feedback. Personal connections are important to Russian businesspeople, and expats will do well to invest time into forming solid relationships with co-workers and colleagues.
Appearances are also a central part of Russian work culture. Men are expected to wear suits and women should also be well dressed. When meeting new colleagues, expats should always be respectful and try to keep humorous remarks to a minimum.