An easy to follow step by step guide which will help you to find jobs in Russia
Getting jobs in Russia is either very easy or extremely difficult depending on each person’s situation. You often hear in the West, that Russia is very corrupt and Russians don’t like foreigners, especially Westerners.
Well, that’s not true.
According to World Tourism Organization, more than 31.6 million people visit Russia in a year. Additionally, there is a huge community of expats living and working in Russia’s biggest cities like Moscow and Saint-Petersburg.
Most of the expats who come here for work, instantly fall in love with the country. It’s quite easy to immediately fall in love with Russian natural beauty, culture, food, weather, and women.
So, for those interested in finding work in Russia, I’ll walk you through the local requirements, the job hunting process, the best places to find job openings in Russia and provide details on other important topics.
Before We Start
It’s important to highlight, that I am not a professional recruiter nor a lawyer. I don’t have legal or professional qualifications to provide a legal or professional advice on such matters in Russia.
In order to make this post detailed, I have received some input from entrepreneurs, industry insiders and other blogs and publications. I will make sure to include links to this websites and documents in the post.
Like all the other countries in the world, Russia follows strict legal requirement when it comes to hiring foreign employees and issuing work permits.
If an employer wants to hire a foreign national first they would need to demonstrate that the position can’t be sourced from the local job market. For this, the government requires the employer to fill in “Declaration of Need”.
Relevant authorities will review the submitted form, if approved, they will provide the quota of foreign nationals that can be employed in the company and state the positions which can be filled with foreign nationals.
Although, in some cases, the government might request the company to hire only people from certain countries.
Therefore, in order to find jobs in Russia, you would need to find an employer in Russia who has a permitted quota, also this quota has to be available for your nationality.
But don’t let the above scare or lose your interest in finding jobs in Russia. Below in this guide, I have written what steps can you take to increase your chances of getting hired. I have also written how can you find companies which have foreign quotas.
Before Flying to Russia
Once you have made the decision to find a job in Russia, you’d want to know the best places to find jobs in Russia: Should you get on a plane and search for jobs in Russia or do you want to find a job first before landing here.
There is no right answer here, it all depends on the situation. If the positions, you are applying for, pay more than RUB 200,000 it is likely that the employer expects to have extended their search to candidates not yet located in Russia.
Usually, it doesn’t matter for companies if the candidate is already in Russia or not. A good suggestion that a company would favor hiring applicants from abroad is those who post job ads on Indeed, Glassdoor, Linkedin or other job boards that are not specifically for Russians. Those who fit the requirements for these companies’ posts can be interviewed via Skype and shortlisted candidates can be invited for a face-to-face final interview.
One important thing to remember is that you will most probably be asked why are considering an opportunity in Russia. There’s nothing sneaky about this questions.
The interviewer just wants to establish what your motivations are in being prepared to relocate for this job and to get some insight into your decision-making process. Asking an applicant this question gives the interviewer a clear idea of candidate’s purpose for applying.
Although there are companies who would be happy to interview candidates via Skype or pay for qualified candidates to fly to Russia. There are, those that wouldn’t even consider interviewing a foreigner whose CV indicated a non-Russian address.
Requirements for Finding Work in Russia
Occasionally it looks like there’s a limited overlap of employees being sought in Russia and candidates eager to work in Russia. There are some general requirements for people hoping to find a work here.
Although you could probably find something without much more than your ability to speak a foreign language like English, it might only get you a very basic salary which will cover your daily living expenses, only.
If you’re looking for an entry-level job in Russia, it helps to have work experience in the country. And it helps to live in Russia. If you are in Russia and want to get a job fast, you should probably consider teaching English.
Lots of expats started as English teachers before moving on to careers they originally studied for.
In order to teach English its not necessary for you to have an accredited degree. But, its mandatory to have TEFL certificate to teach English in Russia.
If you want to get started on your TEFL, the easiest way would be to sing up for a program that handles everything for you: training, practical experience, and even job placement. Below TEFL courses offer this.
Some people might be worried whether a college degree would be necessary to find work in Russia.
Well, it depends…
If you are looking for a degree that’ll help you to get jobs in Russia, the simplest option would be to put it is that the degrees earning you the highest income abroad also are the degree with the best chances of finding work in Russia.
Therefore, degrees in STEM give you the best odds, though if you have a degree from a leading business school (i.e LSE or Harvard), you’ll won’t have problems finding a rewarding opportunity in Russia.
It should be noted that in some fields, restrictions may apply that limit your scope of work but might still allow you to find a great job opportunity in Russia. For example, medical professionals may not be able to practice as doctors, but there are research jobs available.
For specific jobs, employers might not even require you to have a degree. NGOs, media companies, and even schools have been known to hire foreigners without higher education. For example, if you are looking for a job in English Teaching you would only need teaching experience and TESL, that’s it.
The same situation probably applies in the technology sector where candidates who possess the necessary skill set are able to find jobs with work permits without holding a completed degree provided the candidate has work experience and a good reference.
Below question is asked frequently by people who plan to visit Russia
Do I need to speak Russian?
The straightforward answer is “no”. As a foreigner, you more likely to land a job in a company with a multicultural office environment where colleagues communicate in a mixture of English and Russian.
However, for your daily use, it’s better that you learn some Russian at least. Otherwise, you might find yourself in trouble communicating on the streets here.
But don’t let this keep you from learning Russian, as having Russian language skills is valuable in your job search, not to mention, your daily life in Russia.
How can you prove to your future employer, that you are not going to leave Russia within one to six months?
When hiring foreign employees recruiters take big risks. The first risk is money when recruiter brings foreign employees, the company will have to incur relocation costs which usually includes: flights, hotels, school and other charges.
If you decide to resign, it will mean the company wasted this money, although under contract it might state that if an employee decides to leave within a certain time-period, the employee has to return a certain percentage from the relocation.
The second risk is related to other candidates who the company rejected because it hired you. Now if the recruiter contacted the other rejected candidates, it’s possible they have found some other job and no longer interested in the position.
In both risk types, the company has to start over the recruiting process which can be long. Since the recruiter needs to submit lots of documents to the government, which doesn’t rush in approving them.
Country of Origin
As was mentioned in the previous section, hiring foreigners requires a massive amount of paperwork. The drudgery of hauling a foreigner’s legal documents to government agencies requiring them is not something a company would enjoy doing.
In other words, a foreigner is not likely going to get hired in a position for which a local Russian candidate would be well suited since it takes twice the amount of paperwork to get a foreigner on board.
On top of that, local Russian regulations prohibit companies from hiring foreigners if the company has reached its quota for hiring foreign professionals.
However, not all nationalities are equal in Russia. For example, if you are a citizen of one of the EVRAZES countries you don’t fall under the category of foreigner per se. Since Russia has agreements with those nations regarding free movement of the labor force, these agreements were created for Eurasian Economic Community.
Below are the countries which fall under Eurasian Economic Community and don’t require a visa for working in the region, including Russia.
When it comes to looking for work in Russia, the internet is your best option.
In my first few tries to find jobs in Russia, my preferences leaned heavily toward Indeed, one of the biggest and popular job portals, not only in Russia but in the world. There are many preferences at what jobs you can find on Indeed. The best way to do it is to customize your job search by location, job function, job title and salary range.
If you want to, you can expand your search options by career level (entry, middle, senior, top) educational level (degree, master, doctorate, etc) and employment type (freelance, full-time, part-time). Due to the job portal’s popularity, the results can be overwhelming.
Another great selling point of Indeed, is that you can set up job alerts based on your search terms. Setting up an alert helps a lot because you get instant email updates for jobs with your chosen keywords (Accountant, Management Consultant) and get, on average few emails per day depending o the number of job categories and keywords you’ve set up.
Since most of the posts are posted by the corporate recruiters, the response time can usually take anywhere from one week to a month. You can monitor at which stage of the process your application is, but the process is not updated regularly by recruiters from my experience.
If you want to score a job interview, I would advise applying for a position in the Multi-National Companies since they have the need and resources to hire a foreigner. Local companies, except English schools, are probably not interested in hiring foreign candidates.
Again I could be wrong here, so if you have another opinion please write it in the comments box below
I have started applying for jobs through Linkedin about three years ago while I was living in Malaysia. Although I didn’t get any job offers, I noticed that recruiters take much shorter time to respond to applicants compared with Indeed. Below I listed some of the tips that might help you to make the most of Linkedin.
The main benefit of Linkedin is that users do not openly declare that they are looking for a job, in other words having a Linkedin profile has become a standard in the professional world. In addition to that, all the Linkedin features like profile, connection and networking are free which makes it even easier to find and apply for jobs in Russia.
Make sure to write a crisp, detailed summary of your career. Aim for between 100 and 300 words, and try to tell a compelling story about yourself which will include specifics and quantifiable achievements.
Use keywords and phrases that you would find in a job description that you plan to apply for. For example, a writer would list the topics he covers and emphasizes the kinds of stories he most enjoys writing and editing.
For keywords, I would advise putting something related to Russia. Companies in Russia looking for foreign professionals want to see an indicator that potential candidates are flexible and willing to move.
For example, you can put that you had extensive business travel to the region or took a class related to Russia in your college. This way, it will show that you are already familiar with the culture and location.
Flesh out the experience section. Remember this is your chance to show the recruiter your online resume. Many people only include their current job. Take the time to list the significant jobs that built your career.
Make sure to list your skills and get your (ex)colleagues to recommend/upvote them. Take a minimum of 10 minutes to do it, since this section offers a shorthand way to tell potential employers what you can do.
Below is a great example of a Linkedin Profile (Brittney Borowicz) that you can refer to:
Use all the Linkedin features to look for a job. Many companies post a job on company’s page, not only that you can also see the recruiter’s profile on the posting as well. My advice would be to go to the profile and check what she has been sharing and reading. This will give you some insight into recruiter’s professional life.
Activate Job Alert. Similarly to Indeed, Linkedin also allows to set up job alerts for your job searches. Expect to find a wide range of jobs in both SME and MNC companies. I would strongly recommend looking for jobs here, especially if you are looking for a position in the medium and top-management.
LinkedIn Premium. Go the extra mile and signup for Linkedin premium, especially now as Linkedin offers one month of free membership. This at no cost, will allow messaging members outside of your network, although not all might reply there is still a chance that some manager is looking for a foreign professional like you.
Linkedin Banned in Russia. Although Linkedin is banned in Russia, recruiters and companies are frequently posting jobs there. But why post if it’s banned in Russia?
Well, I most certainly sure the reason is to hire foreign professionals. Otherwise, it doesn’t make sense to post it locally since not everyone will use VPN in Russia. I could be wrong or right, but I am sure that there is a good chance of finding work through Linkedin.
RULEXPAT Job Site
As part of this website, I have also launched a local job board to post jobs exclusively advertised for foreigners. So all jobs that you see at this site, is only for foreigners.
I think many will people wonder if the job they are applying for is available for foreigners. I remember how much time I used to spend on the application, writing a custom CV and a Cover Letter, only to find out later the job is only available for locals.
Well, that sucks.
But when you see a job at rulexpat you can be sure that its 100% foreigners only.
There are several benefits of using it:
- 100% foreigners only
- easy to search (more search functionalities will be added soon)
- good salary ranges
- frequent postings by employers
- easy to use interface, although I am planning to redesign it currently.
I know there is no job alerts functionality there yet, but hang on, it will be coming soon. Once the job alerts are in, I hope it will become a leading job board for expats in Russia.
If you have any comments or suggestions to the job board please email me here at email@example.com or post your suggestion in the comment box down below.
Another popular job board in Russia is HeadHunter. To be honest with you, I wouldn’t recommend using it as an applicant, although it works great if you plan to hire a Russian.
First of all, the website is aimed at local candidates from Russia and when companies post jobs on the website, they are usually looking to hire a local applicant for the position.
There are some benefits of using it but the same benefits can be found in Indeed rather than this website.
But in case you decide to use it, follow this link to access the page in the English language. In case it still opens in Russian, all you need to do is to click on the Russian flag (tricolor) in a top right of the page and change to the US flag.
You may or may not register when searching for a job, but having a registered profile greatly eases the search. Since this is arguably the most popular site for local Russians, you might as well create an account because it would allow you to upload your CV and display your profile which provides a snapshot of your credential to a possible future employer looking for candidates.
I am not sure how good recruiting companies are in other countries but I have found them to be quite helpful when applying for jobs in Russia in South East Asia.
First of all, it’s more likely that you will receive an answer for your application much faster than if you apply through a corporate website or job board. Secondly, I noticed that not many people apply for jobs through recruiters, so you will have less competition.
My favorite feature of applying for jobs in Russia through a recruiting agency is the recruiter’s contact details for each job that you are applying for. This is good if you have some questions regarding the job (i.e Is the company looking to hire foreigners?) as well as easy access to your application status.
Below are some info of recruiting agencies in Russia and their websites that will help you to lend jobs in Russia. But my favorite one is Antal Russia as they tend to have a variety of job postings and they regularly publish industry reports on the job market in Russia.
- G-NIUS – A recruitment agency based in Russia which has been operating since 2006 with an additional branch in The Netherlands.
- Global Vision – Global Vision is an international recruitment agency specializing in selection and placement of qualified personnel within Hospitality and Retail industries in the Russia.
- Antal Russia – Antal is a leading recruitment consultancy, specializing in mid to senior managerial roles across an extensive range of professional disciplines and industry sectors (recommended).
- Hays Russia – Hays Specialist Recruitment is a leading global professional recruiting group. They are the experts at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide, being the market leader in the UK and Asia Pacific and one of the market leaders in Continental Europe and Latin America (recommended).
- Triza – TRIZA Exclusive is a companionship of bright HR-consultants formed in 2000 as a result of the reorganization of «TRIZA Employment Society». Total history of two companies covers 25 years already.
Events, Meetups, and Fairs
Aside from the online job hunt, another good way to find a job is the good old in-person networking events and meetups. Some of them exclusively take place outside of Russia (e.g recruitment fairs for international schools teacher) while others only happen in Russia.
Bilateral Chambers of Commerce
Almost all countries have a joint chamber of commerce with Russia, and most of them host monthly or quarterly networking meetups and events for its members. I would recommend bookmarking the social events calendar of some foreign chambers of commerce in Russia to keep urself updated of upcoming events.
Although the membership might not be free, it comes with access to business, community and networking events, and discounted rates to those events. Although some chambers might not require you to be a member you might have to pay an extra fee to join the event.
Attending one of those events might not land you a job directly, but it’s a great way to build a network and market your skills. It also shows you what kind of jobs other foreigners hold and which company they are working for.
This will help you to identify which companies are more like to hire a foreigner and for which position, giving you another approach in your job search in Russia.
Below I have listed some of the foreign chambers and links to their websites.
- The Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce in Russia
- RBCC – St. Petersburg and North-West Russia
- Moscow Chamber of Commerce and Industry
- International Chamber of Commerce in Russia
- Italian-Russian Chamber of Commerce
Another option you should explore is to check events organizing sites such as Eventbrite to search for networking events in Moscow and the rest of Russia. Most of the networking events posted here charge fees for their events and are hosted by long-established groups.
It’s important to note, you wouldn’t go here to land a job but to find groups that host regular networking events that could help you establish a footing in Russia’s business and professional community.
Well, I hope the post was very useful to you and you have received the information you were looking for. I understand that the article was quite big, but finding a work in another country is not an easy step, that’s why I tried to make as detailed as possible.
I will probably add more information if I find something useful or informative, but if you have anything to add or have some questions please feel free to post in the comments box below.
Wishing you all the best for your job hunt in Russia!