Useful information and advice for expats looking for jobs in Moscow and other Russian cities, including jobs in Russia for English speakers.
Are you looking for jobs in Russia? This guide will give you tips on how to find jobs in Moscow and St. Petersburg, what the employment field is like, how to get Russian work permits and where to find jobs in Russia for English speakers.
Russia has diverse employment opportunities and expats are often the best-paid professionals. According to The HSBC Expat Economics Survey 2014, expats who work in Russia are ranked 13th in the list of highest gross income earners.
This guide to finding jobs in Russia for foreigners includes:
- What’s the employment market like in Moscow and St. Petersburg?
- Who can work in Russia?
- In-demand jobs in Russia for foreigners
- How to find jobs in Russia
- Visiting a recruitment agency to find work in Russia
- Russian newspapers with jobs in Moscow and other Russian cities
- Jobs in Russia for English speakers: Teaching vacancies
- Jobs in Russia for foreigners: Working as an au-pair
- How networking in the city helps expats find jobs in Russia
- Hotel jobs in Russia
- Preparing a Russian CV and advice for Russian job interviews
Jobs in Moscow
Working in Moscow and St. Petersburg has been a viable choice for those who look to gain experience in the construction and energy sectors.
Moscow is the country’s acknowledged financial and economic centre. Its labour force makes approximately a quarter of Russia’s total GDP. Furthermore, the capital has the lowest unemployment rate in the entire country.
Russia’s biggest companies have their headquarters here together with a multitude of international corporations that have entered the Russian market. Therefore, Moscow is an attractive city for many expatriates as multi-national companies often look for English speakers or foreign nationals with specialist skills. If you’re looking for jobs in Russia for English speakers, Moscow could be a good choice for you.
Moscow’s economy is driven by service sector and employs a majority of people. There is a lot of work for bi-lingual expatriates in hotels, restaurants and other tourism associated jobs. As a centre of politics and culture, Moscow is also a playground for experienced translators.
Significant segments of the people working in Moscow are in the manufacturing sector such as food processing, oil refining and electronics.
The job market in St. Petersburg
Besides being a tourist Mecca and cultural centre, St. Petersburg is full of opportunities for both temporary and long-term employment. According to the Federal Migration Service, St. Petersburg currently has more than 1.6 million foreigners living here. And by 2020, it is estimated that migrants will make up 2/5th of its workforce.
The labour market in St. Petersburg is smaller and less varied than Moscow and whilst prices for merchandise and services are almost identical, the average pay is about 2-3 times better in Moscow. The average income here for the resident is about $750 per month.
A contract of employment is always writing and made in two copies signed by both parties. The contracts should be both in Russian and English to be accepted by the Russian court.
Russian Labour Code states that there are three main types of employment contracts:
- Employment Contract with Free Text – most current contract with no exact term of validity, but it does contain the condition of termination.
- Employment Contract with Definite Time – the validity of the contract is up to five years and is only made when a temporary employee is offered a permanent contract.
- Employment Contract for Seasonal Work is valid for only two months.
For more information about work permits and visas for Russia, take a look at our comprehensive guide about how to get a work permit in Moscow.
All foreign nationals wanting to work in Russia (Moscow or St. Petersburg) must have a work permit. Federal Migration Service issues work permits which you need to acquire before applying for a work visa. Most foreigners require a full work visa to take a job in Moscow or St. Petersburg, but there are some exceptions:
- Those who already have a permanent residence permit do not need a work permit
- Those who are working on a temporary basis for a foreign country, or often traveling outside the country. A Business Visa enables an individual to work in Russia for up to 90 days.
- Those employed in diplomatic missions, consular institutions and international organizations of foreign countries in Russia.
- Media representatives accredited in the country.
- Those who are invited to the country to teach in educational institutions.
The process of applying for a work permit is different for residents of CIS countries (visa-free) and all other nationalities.
Non-CIS residents can apply for two permits – a standard work permit that is available for any salary level and permits for “Highly Skilled Specialists.” The latter allows you to apply for the permit in your home country, takes less time and is valid for three years. However, to qualify, you need to have a minimum of 2 million R. annual salary. If working in an educational institution, the salary requirement is 1 million per year.
When applying for the Standard Work Permit so you can register for Russian jobs, the process is as follows:
- The relevant government department sends the permission to an employer to request the work permit. Afterward, the individual submits an application to the Federal Migration Service with the documents:
- An application form completed in Russian. Can be printed or electronic
- One colour passport photo
- A copy of the employment history, or an official document of an equal to the Russian Diploma of professional education
- Medical certification that states the foreign worker is not a drug addict; does not have HIV or any other disease
- Receipt of the application fee
After submitting all the documents, the permit is issued within 35 business days. Afterward, you can freely enter the country during the three months after the date of receiving the permit. The permit lasts for the duration of the job, although work visas should be updated every 12 months.
Candidates with specialist skills looking to work in Moscow and St. Petersburg can apply for Highly Skilled Specialists Work Permit at Russian embassy or consulate in your home country. The process usually takes up to 14 days.
Nationals from CIS countries have simplified the procedure to register for a work permit. Individuals can apply for the permit at Federal Migration Service.
You are required to submit the following documents:
- An application form completed in Russian. This can be printed or electronic
- A colour passport photo
- Receipt of application fee
- The migration card or a stamp from customs control when you entered Russia
- Medical certification that states the foreign worker is not a drug addict; does not have an HIV or any other disorder
The permit is issued within ten business days. For more information about work permits in Moscow and St.Petersburg, and how to get them, read this article.
Depending on your experience and background, finding jobs in Russia for foreigners might not be easy. There is a high demand for foreign experts in Moscow, but it is limited to specific sectors. Human Resources, IT, business development, and finance are most preferred.
Other options for expats include teaching your native language, being a nanny or working for multi-national corporations looking to hire native speakers. NGO’s or Russian companies that operate in energy, finance and construction sectors may also present opportunities.
Internet-based agencies that track employment in St. Petersburg note that some job applicants far surpass some vacancies available in the city. The greatest demand for workers is in the following: sales managers, sales people, drivers, skilled employees and engineers.
The medical and pharmaceutical sector faces a deficit of skilled labour, while marketing specialists, lawyers, and advertising professionals are far too many. The most competitive jobs in Russia for English speakers are in governmental institutions, publishing and mass media.
A high percentage of English-speaking jobs in Moscow and St. Petersburg are teaching English and translation work. However, it should be noted that a steady flow of work cannot always be guaranteed. English teachers should look at BKC International and English First.
There are plenty of recruitment agencies and job websites with opportunities in Moscow and St Petersburg. However, they are best suited for those who are highly qualified and aim to hit bigger corporate companies. Most of those agencies require your CV to be in English sent by email or completed at their website. Another useful way to find a job in Russia is to contact international companies directly from your country and ask if they are doing business in Russia. Such companies are more likely to hire expats to work in Russia.
Here are some useful websites with:
Jobs in Russia for foreigners
- The Moscow Times Career Centre
- Jobs in Moscow
- The Escape Artist
- The Moscow Expat Site
- The Russian Connection Group
- Xpat Jobs
- Penny Lane Personnel
- Go Go Jobs
- Morgan Hunt
- Penny Lane Personnel
Recruitment agencies in Russia are a good channel to find Russian jobs. Most accept registration online and enable you to upload your CV. Some of the best recruitment agencies in Moscow and St, Petersburg are:
Moscow Times has a job section which occasionally features jobs for expats. Unfortunately the selection is limited.
English teachers are well sought after in Russia and there are no shortage of opportunities native English speakers – or nationals that speak English to a high level of standard. Other European languages such as Spanish, French and German are also in demand.
To teach English or other language in Moscow and St. Petersburg target these language companies:
There are many wealthy families in Russia that are keen for their children to learn a second language from a young age. Again, English is in high demand as it is the international business language. If you are interested in living and working in Moscow or St. Petersburg as an au pair contact Bonne International and Gouverneur.
Russians are particularly friendly people and wherever possible will try to help foreigners find work. As the idiom goes, ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.’ When you arrive in Moscow or St.Petersburg, make sure you actively network and attend as many events and groups as possible. Social media networks such as Facebook and Linkedin are a good place to start, but look for groups that specifically organise networking events.
Hotel jobs in Moscow and St. Petersburg can be found at Hotel Jobs. International students studying in Russia can find part-time employment in Moscow and St. Petersburg without any permits if they work at universities or affiliated organizations outside the class time.
Even though some multinational companies use online application forms, CVs, and cover, letters remain a typical way to apply for a job. A cover letter is an essential part of the job application in Russia and is often considered more important than the CV.
The letter format should be formal and illustrate how suitable you are for the job, what your ambitions are for the future, your qualifications and work experience.
When you are called for the interview, do your homework and research the company very well. On the day of the interview dress formally; bring a copy of your resume and all the additional documents like letters of recommendation, awards or certificates.
During the interview show with enthusiasm that you are interested in the position. Be communicative and smile occasionally. Afterward, be patient, but stay in contact with the interviewer.
Click to the top of our guide to finding work in Russia.