Working in Moscow



Moscow is a city where luxury can be enjoyed in lavish proportions, culture experienced in the richest ways, and life enjoyed in extravagant means. Any expatriate in this city would want all that. But, in truth, the majority of the migrants in the Russian capital are just there for employment, and perhaps for some occasional indulgence. 

Despite the financial crises in 1998, Moscow remained as Russia's economic power. It is accountable for generating 13% of the overall construction activities and 17% of the retail sales in the country. Aside from having a low employment rate of 1% in 2014, Moscow’s labour force is also responsible for producing nearly a quarter of Russia’s total Gross Domestic Product. Expatriates will undoubtedly find plenty of job opportunities in this city because most of the country’s largest financial firms and foreign businesses are based in Moscow. 

Moscow’s Top Job Providers 

One of Moscow's major industries is manufacturing. This sector has experienced difficulties back in the 1990's due to the rapid privatisation of factories. Some owners preferred to invest their earnings in what they saw as industries with more potential, such as banking, telecommunications, and research and development. 

But the industry is slowly getting back on its feet, with a lot owed to migrant workers, which forms a large portion of its skilled labour force. Moscow remains a manufacturing giant in Russia and dominates an industrial region that extends east and northeast to the Volga between Yaroslavl and Nizhny Novgorod (formerly Gorky). 

Food processing also remains a major contributor to the success of Moscow's economy and accounts for about one-fourth of the manufacturing labour force. Many foreign firms had chosen to invest in the city. US-based giants such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi had also established manufacturing plants in the city. And being the hub of Russia's transport network, Moscow reaps the benefits of being a major trade route. Some banks and financial institutions have also been established in the capital. Department stores, local markets, and fairs all benefit from the people traffic, which includes tourists that frequent this picturesque city. 

Industries like chemical manufacturing also experienced marked improvements. From simply producing dyes for textiles, the industry even expanded to include the manufacture of synthetic industrial rubber and rubber tires, paints, plastics, pharmaceutical goods, and perfumes. 

Average Salary and Work Hours 

In December 2016 the national minimum wage was raised from RUB 5,300 (USD 91) to RUB 6,400 (USD 110). However, the so called national minimum wage doesn’t quite reflect on the average salary of employees working in Moscow whereas the minimum monthly wage in the capital is RUB 25,000 or USD 430. For example, a skilled educated worker in this city has an average earning of RUB 58,300 or USD 1,000 which is higher than the salary in other major Russian cities such as Vladivostok and St. Petersburg. 

According to the Russian Federation Labour Market Regulation, an employee can only be required to work for a maximum of six days per week. Normal office hours in Moscow are from 9:00 am to 6 pm from Mondays to Fridays. The payment for overtime work rendered by an employee should be equivalent to 50.0% of his hourly rate while the premiums for work on a weekly rest day should be 100% of the employee’s hourly pay. 

Moscow’s Business Culture 

A high respect for authority and seniority in the hierarchal structure in the company is vital in establishing a good relationship with your Russian bosses. Most of the time, the male is the epitome of power in the Russian work environment that has the most significant opinion in the decision making. Though some high ranking colleagues often give importance to the insight of their mid-level managers or employees, the ‘big boss’ often has the final say in the office. Expats who want to succeed in Moscow should pay attention to the importance of hierarchy because if not, they might end up offending their Russian superiors. 

Respect is also a significant component in the Russian business culture. You should always address a local colleague using their last names or to address a business person by saying Gaspadin (Mr.) or Gaspadja (Mrs.) followed by their surname. Hugs are common among friends and long time colleagues or business partners but never with acquaintances. Expats in Moscow should remember that a firm hand-shake with direct eye contact and a slight nod of the head is already considered as an acceptable greeting. 

When it comes to setting up an appointment, expats must refrain from last minute scheduling of meetings. It normally takes at least six weeks in advance to arrange an appointment in Moscow since the Russians do not appreciate being rushed.


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