Working in Kazakhstan



The Republic of Kazakhstan is a transcontinental nation situated in Eastern Europe and northern Central Asia. As of January 2016, this largest landlocked country in the world has an unemployment rate of 4.90% which means that expats bound to seek employment in Kazakhstan can find plenty of opportunities.

Kazakhstan has always been consistent in maintaining a high-income economy, and despite the high inflation rates in 2015, it still managed to keep standing. This nation possesses the largest economy in Central Asia and represents about 60% of the region’s GDP. In 2016, Kazakhstan generated a total Gross Domestic Product (PPP) of USD 460 billion which is the 42nd highest in the world. With the help of several leading industries and its abundance of natural resources, it’s no wonder why Kazakhstan is an ideal choice for those seeking success. Expats who will work here will find mostly find themselves working either in Almaty or in Astana, the capital where most of the largest local and multinational companies are situated.

Employment Opportunities

In Kazakhstan, about 8.8 million people are working, with 27% devoted to the industries, 23% in agriculture and forestry, 20% to education and 30% distributed to the government, construction, transport, healthcare, social services and military sectors. There are 20% more men working than women, and there are no gender issues in a typical Kazakh workplace.

There is currently a massive wave of opportunity for people working and seeking to work in the oil and gas industries, but the government has always veered from solely relying on its mineral wealth. Instead, it has been drumming up other spheres of development including tourism, finance and services where job-seeking expats have so far been fairly successful.

In the education sector, there is a surge of opportunities for English teachers as the nation gears up to produce globally competitive professionals. Education also became a top funding priority, with English teachers getting a hefty share of jobs that were opened. But aside from providing more employment, this diversification is also expected to work well in attracting foreign investments.

Average Salary

This year, the minimum monthly wage in Kazakhstan reached an all-time high of KZT 24,459 or USD 77.49. However, salaries of expats may still vary depending on their occupation and qualifications. For example, those working in oil companies, government ministries, and foreign investors are earning an average of USD 12000 annually and comprise the most dominant labour force in Kazakhstan. However, teaching English as a Foreign Language has also fast earned a major share of the Kazakh job market.

English teachers are making up to USD 3000 a month with expatriates receiving impressive perks such as free round-trip flights to Kazakhstan, a USD 1000 cash gift to be spent on clothing, furniture and other household necessities upon arrival, and great opportunities for extra income with most language schools offering evening classes for which the teachers receive overtime pay. Meanwhile, workers with less lucrative careers make an average weekly wage of about USD 114.

Working Hours

The Kazakh workforce is allowed up to 40 hours of work each week, but a reduced number of hours may be required of those who are under eighteen years old, disabled, or working heavily or under particularly hazardous conditions. Employees in this country are also entitled to 18 calendar days of paid annual leave with extra paid leave credits for those who are working in harmful or dangerous conditions.

The Kazakhstan Work Culture

At work, it is even more important to find one's place in this blend of custom and heritage, but doing so will be quite easy with a good understanding of the elements that keep everything in perfect sync. First and foremost, Kazakhstan is a highly hierarchical society, and people are usually respected based on their age and position. Expats will feel this cultural dynamic even in the work environment whereas the opinions and of the older people are often seen as the wisest. The locals also expect the elderly or those in the highest position to make decisions that will benefit the company.

The most common greeting in Kazakhstan is a handshake, with two hands often used, but since most of them are Muslims, some men do not shake the hands of the opposite sex and expats must be sensitive towards this religious practice. Always address someone using their surname unless they instruct you to call them by their first name. Dress conservatively and formally especially in the work environment because for them, to dress informally is a form of insult.

When it comes to jobs, Kazakhstan may well be one of those countries that offer the most opportunities for expatriates. It may not be one of the richest in the world, but its potentials certainly point to being so. With its significant reliance on foreign labour, expats will always have a place in this culturally and economically diverse nation right at the heart of Eurasia.

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Expat Services in Kazakhstan