This guide was written prior to Russia's 2022 invasion of Ukraine and is therefore not reflective of the current situation. Travel to Russia is currently not advisable due to the area's volatile political situation.
Expats working in Russia are often afforded high salaries, but these sizeable payouts are hard-earned, and jobs for foreigners can be difficult to find.
Russia's job market is diverse and, as Russia's main economic centres, Moscow and St Petersburg offer the best job opportunities. Speaking Russian is a huge plus when looking for a job in Russia.
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, finance, engineering and human resources will also find a market for their skills. Many multinationals work in these sectors, as well as in construction and energy. Teaching English in Russia is another common occupation for expats.
Expats are generally paid lucrative wages and given housing and education allowances. These employment packages are often considerably more than what expats would be earning at home, and 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 can be 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.
That said, 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 would 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.
►Read about one expat's experiences of teaching English in Moscow.
►For more on the Russian business culture and work etiquette, see Doing Business in Russia.
"Despite sanctions, the economic climate in Russia, in general, and in Moscow is quite stable. Job openings can be found almost everywhere as nowadays start-up companies are mushrooming in Russia." Read about Indonesian expat Eva, her experience moving to Russia and how she's adjusted to life in the country.
Are you an expat living in Russia?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Russia. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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