Working in Istanbul?

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Working in Istanbul

If you are interested in working in Istanbul, be prepared. The city offers great opportunities for expats, if they can land a job beforehand. Job hunting on location reduces your chances, due to widespread unemployment. Our guide shows you what to expect of working in Turkey’s largest city.

Being employed in Istanbul gives you an insight into the dynamic business world of a city where self-made careers can get you to the top. Many residents try alternative career paths or start their own business. A great idea and the right connections will get you just as far as the market know-how and sufficient capital. Thus, Istanbul is a place of particular interest for expats who want to spend a few years in Turkey.

For this reason, quite a few expat partners and foreigners in Istanbul change their careers in search of greener pastures. Language teaching — often privately and on a free-lance basis — is a popular option. Moreover, there are also private language schools who love to hire foreign language teachers. To get one of these coveted positions, you need a TEFL certificate (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) or an equivalent thereof.

Turkey’s Economic Center

This city benefits from its convenient location between the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea. More than a third of all exports and imports go through the metropolis at the Bosporus. Working in Istanbul means working in Turkey’s economic center.

Turkey is vying for a full membership in the EU. This, so many Turkish entrepreneurs hope, will lead to further modernizations and a boost of the local economy. Many employees in Istanbul have found an occupation in the service sector or in the clothing and food-processing industries.

Istanbul's Financial Districts

Until 1990, expats working in Istanbul had to make their way to Bankalar Caddesi if they were employed in the financial sector. This used to be the main business district and home to various financial institutions. In the 1990s, though, most major banks moved their HQs to Levant and Maslak, making them major business hubs and new hotspots for financial employees.

The Istanbul Stock Exchange (ISE) is the only corporation for securities exchange in Turkey. The ISE was founded in 1986 and moved its location to the quarter of Istinye on the European side of Istanbul. It is home to more than 320 national companies, incorporated banks, and a brokerage house.

Job Hunting: Do It Yourself or Ask for Help

If you are not sent to Istanbul on a typical expat assignment, Turkey’s high unemployment rate may be the first obstacle on your way to working in Istanbul. However, there is a significant lack of qualified professionals in Istanbul. The Turkish employment agency Iskur helps expats and Turkish nationals find job offers.

These job centers are located in different neighborhoods all over Istanbul with a main office in Beyoglu. Private employment agencies can also help you with your job search. They often specialize in certain professional fields.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

Sven Baudach

"My business partners, also mainly expats, and me, we always use the wonderful InterNations Events as an informal get-togethers."

Maggy Roswick

"With all the great information and contacts provided by InterNations, it was no big deal to get settled in Istanbul."

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