Our tips on getting a job in the Bulgarian capital
Written by Galina Misheva, edited by Gabriella Permaul, photo by Ilias Iatropoulos.
Finding a job as an international person can be a challenging task anywhere in the current global economy, especially if you are looking to secure a place in a sector that is considered highly competitive. At the same time, however, certain sectors are booming: Sofia is one of the fastest-growing tech hubs in Central and Eastern Europe, and Europe as a whole. Since Bulgaria’s accession to the EU in 2008, the employment market has become less restrictive for nationals of other EU member states.
The 10% flat tax on profits and 5% on dividends for businesses contributed to Sofia’s growth, attracting manufacturers and tech entrepreneurs, and creating many jobs in Sofia as a result. One notable disadvantage of Sofia compared to other European capitals is the remuneration: it’s vastly different depending on the sector, so expect to earn anything between 720 BGN and 2.700 BGN on average.
Looking for a job can be overwhelming, especially given the language barrier for foreigners. If you don’t feel that confident with your Bulgarian skills, there are plenty of opportunities where English is sufficient. If you have experience in the digital sector, or you speak more than 2 languages (the base norm for customer representatives in call centers), your chances of landing employment increase.
There are several centralized platforms in Bulgaria that regularly post job opportunities. Again, this very much depends on your sector.
Jobs.bg is a good starting point for seeing what is out there: there is an English version, and applications for some positions can be made directly on the site. If you are interested in a job in the public sector, then make sure you also check the websites of different embassies, as public sector positions are rarely advertised on other platforms. This is especially important for non-EU citizens, as embassies can often offer comfortable positions without the need to speak Bulgarian.
Zaplata.bg is another centralized platform that collates vacancies (translated in English) from a range of employers. The job postings are listed according to sectors, which makes the website easy to navigate. Jobseekers can also find useful articles with tips on how to get a job and what type of skills are relevant in the current job market.
If you’re looking for a job in the non-profit sector, then check out NGO.bg, which also has an English version. Apart from job opportunities, it also lists the active NGOs in Bulgaria, current projects and activities by area, traineeships and volunteering postings, as well as tender opportunities. Since many of the international non-profit organizations often require excellent English (and sometimes no knowledge of Bulgarian), NGO.bg is a great place to start if you’re interested in the area.
For creative jobs and jobs in IT, LinkedIn is still one of your best bets, as many international companies post ads there directly in English, targeting foreigners. LinkedIn also offers plenty of remote opportunities – and speaking of working remotely, if you are a true digital nomad, Sofia’s low living cost and vibrant environment can make it a good place to settle for a while.
Wherever your job search takes you, remember that motivation and confidence are paramount. This means looking at job opportunities and trying to see what skills you need to develop in order to get there. You can always take a MOOC to polish some of your forgotten skills, or learn more about an area you hadn’t previously considered getting into. If your dream job in Sofia requires you to speak Bulgarian, this article will help you get started. Finally, every time you get overwhelmed, remember that perseverance and patience are two virtues: make a schedule for yourself and start applying.
Remember to often take breaks, and to take care of your mental health by eliminating all other stress factors: for example, research how to get to your interview via public transport so you’re not late. Remember to check in with friends, and take your mind off from the job search when the world becomes too much for a day. Our team in Open Sofia hopes to support you soon on your job search, with a new section on jobs coming soon.