Expats planning to work in Romania may find the job market difficult to enter. Competition for jobs is high and salaries in Romania are relatively low.
Foreigners wishing to work in Romania need to have a relevant work permit. Although EU and EEA nationals are exempt from this, they will still need to apply for a residence permit.
Work permits are related to a specific job and the employer will usually take care of all the details for the application. To employ a foreigner, the hiring company needs to demonstrate that there are no EU or EEA candidates able to fill the role.
Job market in Romania
Romania has a wealth of relatively untapped economic potential. Large areas of the country are undeveloped or dedicated to agriculture. Paired with its natural beauty, a wide selection of cultural attractions underscores a tourism industry that is open for development and investment.
Other areas in which expats may find opportunities in Romania include the resource and energy sectors, the industrial sector and the manufacturing industry. The country also has a formidable services sector with potential for growth and a demand for qualified expats with experience in finance, business services and retail. There has been growth in the area of human resources too. Many HR agencies look to hire expats in executive positions at some of the larger companies and multinationals.
Expats looking to work outside a corporate environment should consider working in the NGO sector or teaching in Romania. The ESL industry has also been growing in recent years. Regardless of industry, however, most expats in the country work in the capital, Bucharest.
Finding work in Romania
Romanian companies are often quite insular and would rather hire locally than deal with the process of trying to obtain a work permit for a foreign employee. At the same time, the Romanian government is keen to attract foreign business and establish the country as a strategic base for businesses trying to invest in the Eastern European market.
Expats can search for employment via online job portals. As the state requires that Romanian companies announce their vacancies, many jobs are also listed on the Romanian National Employment Agency. Otherwise, expats should consider approaching a recruitment agency, as many focus on placing expat workers.
Work culture in Romania
Romanian business culture is formal and hierarchical, with an emphasis on respect for seniors and elders. Decisions are made from the top down and are rarely questioned by junior associates.
Despite the layers of formality, relationships are central to success in the Romanian workplace. Partially as a result of its communist heritage, the collective is valued above the individual.
Direct communication is valued but expats should also be sensitive and patient, especially when providing an opposing viewpoint. Part of this is maintaining eye contact, which is a sign of respect and interest. Formality tends to soften as individual relationships form, but this isn't a process that can be forced or rushed. Expats should allow their Romanian associates to set the tone of discussions.
►Read Work Permits for Romania for more on working in the country.
►For insights into the business culture in the country, read Doing Business in Romania.
"There are a lot of jobs available at international companies, especially in the IT field. It is not necessary to know Romanian for some positions at the big multinational companies. Knowing a second European language is a plus. Companies tend to recruit on LinkedIn. There are also often jobs posted in the expat Facebook groups." Read more about Jessica, an American expat, and her experiences in Romania.
Are you an expat living in Romania?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Romania. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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