With its rapidly developing economy and status as a global manufacturing hub, Turkey is an ideal work destination for those looking for an international business perspective
Turkey is a vibrant country with a rich culture, stunning tourist attractions, and historic sites like Dolmabahçe Palace and Ephesus. It also offers a growing number of job opportunities for overseas workers.
Turkey's political landscape can be turbulent, so it's essential to check the latest UK government travel advice before you go.
Jobs in Turkey
Despite political uncertainty, the Turkish economy is forecast 3.6% growth in 2023. The country's main challenges are the underrepresentation of women in the workforce, skill shortages, and employment rules that prevent qualified overseas workers from filling key roles.
The unemployment rate for Turkey's 8.5 million people is high at 9.4%, but it has steadily decreased in the past five years. Turkey's main export products are cars, jewellery, and petroleum, with total exports averaging at around £154billion. The capital city of Ankara and the country's employment and international relations hub, Istanbul, are the focal points of Turkish business.
Popular graduate jobs
- Supply chain management.
The government restricts foreign worker recruitment in certain professions, such as law, medicine, and mining. However, English-speaking foreign workers are in high demand in the teaching and tourism industries. Fluency in Turkish is not essential, but a good grasp of the language is helpful to succeed in most jobs.
Despite the low cost of living, most graduate salaries in Turkey only cover basic living costs.
Turkey's position as a gateway to both Europe and Asia make it an ideal location for UK workers seeking experience in global business. Graduates can find work in Turkey through large UK companies such as Marks & Spencer, HSBC, Shell, Unilever, BAE Systems, and Aviva.
How to get a job in Turkey
You will need confirmation of employment before you arrive in the country to secure a work permit. You can search for jobs on sites such as:
If you're looking to earn money and experience Turkish culture, summer jobs are plentiful, especially in the tourism industry.
Whether you are looking for general vacancies or have a specific Turkish city in mind, visit:
As Turkey continues to build ties with English-speaking economies, TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) teachers are in high demand across all parts of the country and for students of all ages. Demand is especially high in major cities such as Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir.
If you have a Bachelors degree, a 170-hour TEFL course certificate, and firsthand classroom experience, you will be a strong candidate for TEFL work in Turkey.
Begin your search for TEFL jobs in Turkey using the following sites:
Internships in Turkey are a great way to gain work experience, learn about the culture, and network with professionals in your field. You are most likely to find opportunities in Istanbul, where global companies such as Google, Red Bull, Vodafone, and Colgate-Palmolive, have Turkish bases.
From short-term to year-round work placements, see:
Another option is IAESTE, an organisation that provides internships for students in scientific and technical fields of study. You will need a work permit to begin an internship in Turkey, which you can obtain from the Turkish consulate in your home country.
Internships are typically unpaid, but employers may provide free accommodation in Turkish university dormitories, meal vouchers and a monthly allowance.
UK citizens do not need a visa to enter Turkey for stays of up to 90 days in any 180 days. This applies to tourism and business visits. However, your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of your departure from Turkey.
If you plan to stay in Turkey for longer than 90 days, you must apply for a longer-stay visa before you travel or obtain a residence permit from the local authorities in Turkey before your 90-day stay expires.
UK nationals seeking long-term employment in Turkey must secure a work permit before arriving in the country.
There are several types of work permits depending on the type of work you do. Businesses apply for work permits on behalf of foreign workers for specific positions. Permits are initially issued for six months but can be extended for up to six years.
To apply for a work permit from the UK, you must first submit a pre-application for a visa. This involves uploading copies of documents to be pre-processed before taking the originals to your in-person application appointment at your local Turkish consulate or embassy, such as the Turkish Embassy in London.
These documents include:
- an official letter detailing your prospective job offer
- valid health insurance
- a passport valid for an additional 60 days after the term of employment
- a passport-sized photo.
After you attend your in-person application appointment and submit your documents, your employer will submit your visa application to the Turkish Ministry of Labour and Social Security within ten days.
Within a month of your arrival in Turkey, you must register with your local police department to obtain a residence permit for your stay.
For more information, see the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs visa information for foreigners.
To begin the visa process, fill out the online pre-application at the Republic of Turkey Consular Procedure.
English proficiency in Turkey is low, ranking 64th out of 111 countries in the EF English Proficiency Index. While English is the usual form of business communication in bigger cities, such as Ankara and Istanbul, you will struggle to get by without at least some understanding of Turkish.
There may not be a standardised language test to pass before arriving in the country, but fluency in Turkish will increase your career prospects and ensure your work is at a high standard.
If you are taking up TEFL employment, you'll need to be fluent in English with a grasp of Turkish. The more Turkish you know, the easier your day-to-day life will be.
To learn some basic Turkish phrases, visit BBC Languages - A Guide to Turkish.
How to explain your qualifications to employers
Turkish employers should accept UK qualifications because Turkish higher education providers adhere to the National Qualifications Framework for Higher Education in Turkey. This framework is aligned with the European Qualifications Framework (EQF), which is a common reference framework for qualifications in participating countries.
This means that UK qualifications are recognised and valued in Turkey. For more information on having your credentials formally evaluated, visit ENIC-NARIC Turkey.
What it's like to work in Turkey
According to government figures, 99% of the Turkish population is Muslim, so religious holidays are particularly important. There are seven Turkish national holidays and two Islamic festivals: a three-day celebration of the end of Ramadan and the four-day Eid al-Adha.
Employees work a maximum of 45 hours per week, usually distributed evenly over six days. However, there is no standard working week, and most businesses open from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm, with earlier start and finishing times during the summer months.
Entitlement to paid annual leaves starts after one year's service in any job, with 14 days available at one to five years' service, increasing in stages to 26 days for 15-plus years of service.
The minimum wage in Turkey varies depending on marital status and whether the worker has children. It is also significantly lower than in the UK, with single workers earning an average of TRY 11,804 per year (£352) and married workers with children taking home TRY 12,006 (£357).
Despite the low minimum wage, the cost of living in Turkey is 41% lower than in the UK, with rent prices sitting at 58% lower.
See Numbeo for more detailed statistics on the cost of living in Turkey.
Find out more
- Discover what it's like to study in Turkey.