Job hunting for foreigners in Romania

Continuing our research on international job markets, Valeria Lebedieva asked Felicia Beldean, Managing Partner Romania & Bulgaria at TARGET Executive Search CEE to answer our questions regarding the Romanian job market.

Felicia, is there demand for foreign managers in Romania? What is expected of them?

Yes, there is a higher demand now, comparing to the situation 3-4 years ago. During the economical crisis in 2008 many multinational companies cut their budgets and replaced their expats in Romania with local people – usually internal promotions.

And now, starting with 2012-2013, most of the multinational companies are bringing again expat management teams, mainly due to the global changes in their development strategies. These expats are assigned by their headquarters to implement the new objectives in Romania.

Nevertheless, what’s really interesting and probably different, when comparing with some other CEE countries, is that there are local Romanian companies, interested in employing foreign managers for the CEO / GM positions. They are suggested to bring their know-how and expertise for developing the local companies and often to help them to get ready to enter external markets.

The latest tendency is also a comeback of Romanian Managers, which are “exported” from more mature markets (mostly West-European), but also from the more intensively developing markets, such as Middle East, Africa, the BRIC’s etc. Most of these Romanian managers are returning in the country, bringing with them this extraordinary experience on our market and make a competition to the “traditional expats”.

How important is it for job hunting managers to know Romanian language?

Well, it is more a matter of courtesy – and in this respect there are a lot of the foreigners, who are working here, learning Romanian and reaching at least a conversational level. Generally, at the decision level of any medium / large company – even a local one, English or other international language are used and necessary. Of course, it’s difficult to make yourself understood in English by the line operator from a plant, for instance. But, usually, there is a production manager / responsible, who speaks English / German – thus the communication is assured.

However, as we are highly emotional, Latin people, we get really nicely impressed when a foreigner is trying to speak Romanian – we understand this more as a matter of respect and valuation, not really a functional necessity.

What skills or competencies do they have to demonstrate to be successful?

It is important to have vision, to be charismatic and a really strategic thinker; to be a true leader, inspiring his / her collaborators. As showed in the results of the managerial culture survey managed by TARGET & Colab. in 2008-2009, the Romanians are hard-working people, creative and flexible, but with the need, at the same time, of someone with strategic acumen & vision, able to keep them inspired, offer them the right challenge and motivation, as individuals and as a team.

What are specificities of the Romanian executive recruitment market?

I would say that Romania is different when comparing with the Western markets mainly through its lack of maturity. We’ve learnt a lot in the last years, but you won’t find executive search consultants specialized on given domains, except for IT recruiters.

With no specialization, there is a mix on the market. Companies making recruitment, personnel leasing, are adding, as an “exotic ingredient”, the headhunting and executive search services.

The education of the market is mainly the role (and duty) of the Executive Search companies, which have experience on the relevant market – for instance, TARGET, with its 20 years of activity in CEE, has always had a role and responsibility of educating and developing the market. The fact the expats – decision makers of the multinational companies present in Romania, are sharing their know-how, has also a crucial role in developing the market.

Maybe the most specific factor on the Romanian market is that it is becoming more and more decentralized: Bucharest is still the most developed region in terms of attractive and interesting projects, jobs and companies, but we also have other important centres competing with the capital. I would mention here Timisoara, Sibiu, Cluj Napoca, Brasov and Iasi – important pillars of the development in Romania.

Thank you very much, Felicia, for your interesting and useful insights!

If you’d like to read more on Romania: about Romania about Romania about Romania