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Working in Cyprus

Your guide to expat life in Cyprus

Want to work in Cyprus?

Tourism accounts for a large part of Cyprus’s GDP and provides a good source of employment for expats. The tourism market remains relatively secure overall and expats are often able to secure employment in the hotel and hospitality sectors.

Aside from tourism, the economy in Cyprus relies on shipping, the service industry and energy. Expats with specialised skills relating to finance, manufacturing and mining have the best chance of getting a job in Cyprus.

Business in Cyprus

Expats doing business in Cyprus will find themselves in a relaxed and internationally minded working environment. The island has a long history of doing business with foreigners, so locals are generally welcoming of expat business partners. Trust and personal relationships are at the core of business in Cyprus.

Businesspeople in Cyprus generally have laid-back attitudes and value strong personal relationships. This casual Mediterranean approach may take some getting used to for expats from a fast-paced business background, but it definitely has its advantages.

Trust is a cornerstone of doing business in Cyprus. Because things move at a slower pace on the island, there is enough time for a strong sense of trust to develop between partners. This usually means that both sides are reliable, which improves the chances of a successful partnership.

Business meetings in Cyprus have a tendency to go off-topic and might not necessarily result in concrete decisions. Keeping this in mind, you should view meetings more as an opportunity to get to know your business associates. Only after a strong relationship has been established will actual business proceedings take place.

Bargaining is commonplace, negotiations can be lengthy and proposals should be designed to leave room for concessions. That said, finalised contracts are generally followed to the letter.

Women are treated as equals in the workplace, although there are proportionally fewer women than men in many senior positions.

Practical details

Business hours are from 8:00 or 9:00 to 17:00 or 18:00. English is largely spoken in the business world, but proficiency in Greek is highly useful. Business dress consists of conservative dark suits for men, while women should wear a conservative dress or business suit.

A handshake with direct eye contact is the appropriate greeting. Some devout Muslim Cypriots do not shake hands with members of the opposite sex, preferring a simple nod of the head.

Gifts are not expected in a business setting. Expats who are invited to a colleague’s house should present a consumable gift, such as chocolates or wine.

Expat salaries in Cyprus

Salaries in Cyprus are low compared to other expat destinations, but this is offset by the low cost of living on the island.

Top tips for working in Cyprus

See what people responding to our Expat Explorer Survey think about living in Cyprus.

Prepare for the summer above all else. Your first summer will be the hardest but, if you can make it through, the following years are much easier.

All Expat Explorer survey data and all tips (in quotation marks) are provided by HSBC.

All other content is provided by, Globe Media Ltd and was last updated in September 2021. HSBC accepts no responsibility for the accuracy of this information.

This information is purely for orientation and to inspire further research, it does not constitute advice and no liability is accepted to recipients acting independently on its contents. The views expressed are subject to change.

Always remember to ensure you're aware of and comply with any laws in your host country or country of origin that apply to gift giving and bribery.

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