How to hire employees in Turkey

Explore the advantages of hiring in Turkey, where a dynamic, cost-effective talent pool excels in textiles, agriculture, and technology sectors, offering businesses a competitive edge for scaling or initiating international projects.
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Turkey, a nexus of industrial diversity and innovation, bridges East and West with its unique geographic and cultural position. Thriving in sectors like automotive, textiles, and electronics, it emerges as a leader in renewable energy and smart technology. Supported by government incentives, Turkey offers a skilled yet cost-effective workforce. Its commitment to digital transformation and infrastructure enhancement makes it an attractive destination for global businesses seeking competitive advantages.

How to hire employees in Turkey

What you need to know before hiring employees in Turkey

Job market in Turkey

When exploring effective hiring strategies for Turkey, it’s essential to understand several indicators that illuminate its recruitment landscape and compensation frameworks:

  • Turkey’s Global Ranking on Wellbeing and Inequality (GRWI) score of 0.633 offers insights into its socio-economic structure, touching on factors such as health, education, and income distribution. This score reveals challenges in achieving socio-economic equity but also highlights areas where employers can contribute to and benefit from societal improvements, enhancing their appeal to prospective employees who value social responsibility.
  • In 2023, the youth unemployment rate in Turkey decreased by 1.3 percentage points, a reduction of -6.75 percent from the previous year. Despite this progress, the youth unemployment rate in the last two years has been significantly higher than in prior years, signaling a fluctuating job market that may now be stabilizing. This presents a prime opportunity for organizations to engage with a young workforce eager to enter various professional fields.
  • The employment landscape in Turkey has seen a notable shift, particularly in the agriculture sector, which experienced the most significant decline of all economic sectors from 2014 to 2022. By 2022, only about 4.9 million individuals were employed in agriculture, the sector's lowest employment figure to date. Conversely, the services sector boasted the highest employment, with approximately 17.4 million people, underscoring its dominant role in the Turkish economy. This shift towards service-oriented jobs creates vast opportunities for sourcing professionals skilled in areas such as finance, technology, healthcare, and tourism.
  • Furthermore, the gender pay gap in Turkey has shown fluctuations over the years, with a significant disparity in 2022 where men earned an average of 68 thousand Turkish lira, compared to women's 48.8 thousand, a 40 percent pay gap. This discrepancy poses both a challenge and an area for potential improvement for companies committed to equity and inclusivity, making them more attractive to a diverse talent pool.

Overall, Turkey’s evolving economic sectors and the ongoing need for social advancements provide a dynamic backdrop for organizations aiming to build a robust and diverse workforce, while also contributing positively to the country's socio-economic development.

Turkey Hiring Trends

As of 2024, Turkey's hiring landscape is in a phase of strategic realignment, marked by cautious hiring due to a notable decline in job postings and closures. This reflects businesses adjusting their strategies to align with current market conditions.

  • Dynamic Market Despite Contraction: Although the overall job market has contracted, it remains active. From October 2023 to January 2024, the average number of new jobs posted monthly was 1,599, and the average number of jobs closed was 2,316, indicating ongoing recruitment and job closure activities.
  • Opportunity to Attract Top Talent: This period offers a prime opportunity for employers to enhance their workforce by adopting innovative recruitment practices. Emphasizing employee development and offering comprehensive benefits can help attract and retain top talent.
  • Need for Innovative Recruitment Practices: The current economic climate highlights the importance of flexible, forward-thinking, and inclusive hiring strategies. Cultivating a workplace culture that supports continuous learning and career progression is essential.
  • Resilient Labor Market: Despite current challenges, Turkey's advanced ICT infrastructure and commitment to innovation provide a strong foundation for future market recovery and growth. Employers who adapt and invest in their workforce and technological capabilities are likely to see positive outcomes.

How to hire employees from Turkey

1. Set up an entity in Turkey

  • Establishing a legal entity in Turkey is a critical step for companies looking to penetrate the vibrant Turkish market and achieve sustainable growth. Having a legal presence in Turkey allows firms to manage operations directly, ensuring stability and compliance with local regulations.
  • The process involves selecting an appropriate business structure, such as a Limited Şirket (Ltd. Şti., similar to a Limited Liability Company) or an Anonim Şirket (A.Ş., akin to a Joint Stock Company), followed by registration with the Turkish Trade Registry and the Turkish Tax Authority.
  • Understanding the regulatory environment and business culture in Turkey is crucial. Therefore, consulting with local experts and seeking advice from legal and tax advisors is highly recommended to facilitate a smooth establishment process.
  • Efficient management of human resources and payroll is essential to comply with Turkish labor laws, which are known for their stringent requirements.
  • In summary, while setting up a legal entity in Turkey opens doors for business expansion, it requires careful planning, strict adherence to local laws, and the support of experienced professionals to navigate the process successfully.

2. Hire independent contractors

  • Engaging with independent contractors in Turkey offers flexibility by allowing agreements with professionals for specific services or projects, which is particularly beneficial for short-term needs or specialized tasks.
  • It is crucial to ensure accurate classification of workers to avoid legal challenges and penalties associated with misclassification. However, it's important to note that independent contractors may not exhibit the same level of commitment or loyalty as permanent staff, which could influence certain business goals.

3. Partner with an Employer of Record (EOR) in Turkey

  • Collaborating with an Employer of Record service, such as Gloroots, provides a streamlined entry into the Turkish market without the complexities of establishing a formal legal entity. This method reduces liabilities and enhances cost-effectiveness.
  • By partnering with an EOR, companies can rely on compliance with Turkish employment laws, taxation, and regulatory requirements, thus mitigating legal risks and facilitating smooth, compliant business operations within Turkey. This approach enables businesses to quickly assimilate into the Turkish market, leveraging local expertise and resources efficiently.

Employment Laws You Must Know Before Hiring in Turkey

Hiring in Turkey presents various compliance risks that companies must navigate carefully to avoid legal pitfalls and ensure smooth operational continuity. Here are the key considerations:

  • Stringent Labor Laws: Turkey’s labor laws are complex and strictly enforced, with rigorous protections for employees. Companies must ensure full compliance with regulations concerning work hours, overtime compensation, termination procedures, and employee benefits to avoid costly penalties.
  • Tax Compliance: Proper adherence to tax obligations is crucial when employing staff in Turkey. This includes accurate withholding and timely remittance of income taxes and social security contributions. Failure to comply can result in severe financial penalties and legal complications.
  • Employment Contracts: Turkish law requires that employment contracts be detailed and clear, specifying terms of employment including job description, salary, working hours, and other conditions. Ambiguities or omissions in contracts can lead to disputes and legal challenges.
  • Data Protection Regulations: Compliance with Turkey’s Personal Data Protection Law (KVKK) is essential when handling employee data. Companies must ensure that personal data is collected, stored, and processed in compliance with these regulations to avoid legal issues and fines.
  • Work Permit Requirements for Foreigners: Employing foreign nationals in Turkey requires obtaining appropriate work permits. The process can be complex, involving several governmental bodies. Non-compliance with work permit regulations can lead to deportation of the employee and sanctions for the employer.
  • Misclassification of Employees as Independent Contractors: Incorrectly classifying employees as independent contractors is a common risk that can lead to significant legal and financial consequences. Companies must carefully assess their working relationships and ensure that all workers are classified correctly according to Turkish labor law.

In summary, while Turkey offers significant opportunities for business expansion, it also demands a high level of vigilance and adherence to local laws to manage compliance risks effectively. Engaging with knowledgeable local experts and legal advisors is highly recommended to navigate these complexities and establish compliant hiring practices in Turkey.

Working Hours: In Turkey, the standard working week is set at 45 hours, which can be distributed flexibly throughout the week. However, it is mandatory that employees do not exceed 11 hours of work in any single day.

Typically, the workweek could be structured as 7.5 hours per day over six days, or as 9 hours per day over five days.

Overtime: Overtime work is mandated to be compensated if employees exceed the standard 45-hour workweek. The legal cap for overtime hours is 48 per week.

Overtime compensation is required at a rate of 150% of the employee’s normal wage for weekday overtime, and 200% for weekend overtime.

Alternatively, employers may provide time off in lieu of financial compensation for overtime. Additionally, there is a yearly cap of 270 overtime hours, and employers must secure the consent of employees for any overtime work.

Minimum Wage: The current gross minimum wage in Turkey has been set at 20,002.50 TRY per month, which equates to a net minimum wage of 17,002.12 TRY after deductions.

Payroll laws in Turkey

Payroll Cycle

In Turkey, salaries are disbursed on a monthly basis. Employees are typically compensated for their work from the first to the last day of the month on the final day of that month.

13th Salary

There is no statutory obligation in Turkey to provide a 13th-month salary payment.

Employment benefits in Turkey

Leave Policies in Turkey

1. Annual Leave (Vacation)

In Turkey, the employment contract stipulates a minimum of 14 working days of paid annual leave for employees who have completed at least one year of service, in addition to public holidays. This entitlement increases to 20 working days for those who have been with the company for five to fifteen years. Employees with over fifteen years of service are eligible for 26 working days of paid leave annually.

The duration of paid annual leave can be extended through employment contracts and collective agreements. However, for employees under eighteen or over fifty years of age, the minimum paid leave cannot be less than twenty days.

Employers are required to provide payment for annual leave either as a lump sum or as an advance before the leave commences. Annual leave accrual is based on each employee’s service anniversary rather than the calendar year.

2. Public Holidays

If public holidays fall on a weekend, they are not compensated with additional leave days.

Religious holidays are based on the lunar calendar, and their dates are marked as 'tentative' until confirmed closer to the holiday.

Employees must provide written consent to work on public holidays. Those who do not work on a public holiday are entitled to their regular day's wage without any obligation to work.

Employees who work on a public holiday, regardless of hours worked, will receive an additional full day's wage for each holiday worked. There are 15 public holidays in a year..

3. Sick Leave

Employers in Turkey are not required to pay employees during sick leave; however, employees typically receive payments from Social Security starting from the fourth day of illness, provided they submit the necessary medical documentation. In practice, many employers opt to pay the regular salary for the first two days, which are not covered by Social Security, or even for the entire period of sick leave, seeking partial reimbursement from Social Security later.

If an employee's sick leave extends beyond six weeks plus the statutory notice period, the employment contract may be terminated without notice, in line with Article 46(c) of the Turkish Labor Code.

4. Maternity Leave

Working mothers are entitled to 16 weeks of fully paid maternity leave, which can be extended to 18 weeks in the case of multiple or complicated pregnancies. This leave is usually split equally before and after the delivery. Employees may choose to work until three weeks prior to their due date, transferring the unused pre-delivery leave to the postpartum period.

Maternity leave payments are made by Social Security based on the employee's regular contributions. Additionally, postpartum, employees may opt for part-time work for a period dependent on the number of children:

  • One child: 60 days
  • Two children: 120 days
  • More than two children: 180 days
  • In cases of disability or adoption, up to 360 days of leave may be granted.

5. Paternity Leave

Fathers or partners are entitled to one week of paid paternity leave following the birth of their child.

Filing tax in Turkey

Income Tax:

Turkey implements a progressive income tax system where rates increase with higher income levels to ensure equity in tax contributions. The tax rates for employees are structured as follows:

  • 15% for incomes from 0 to 110,000 TRY annually
  • 20% for incomes between 110,000 TRY and 230,000 TRY annually
  • 27% for incomes between 230,000 TRY and 870,000 TRY annually
  • 35% for incomes between 870,000 TRY and 3,000,000 TRY annually
  • 40% for incomes above 3,000,000 TRY annually

For precise application of tax rates and consideration of specific situations, consulting tax guidelines or seeking professional advice is recommended.

Other Tax and Social Security Contributions:

In Turkey, employers contribute to various social security and insurance funds, calculated on an income cap of 150,018.90 TRY monthly. The breakdown includes:

  • 2% for Short-Term Insurance Branch Premium
  • 11% for Pension & Disability Insurance
  • 7.5% for General Health Insurance
  • 2% for Unemployment Insurance

The total cost for employers amounts to 22.50% of the monthly capped income.

Employees also share in funding their social security through payroll deductions, also calculated on the same income cap. These contributions are:

  • 9.00% for Pension & Disability Insurance
  • 5.00% for General Health Insurance
  • 1.00% for Unemployment Insurance

This results in a total employee contribution rate of 15% monthly.

This comprehensive system of income tax and social security contributions underscores Turkey’s commitment to a robust social safety net, funded jointly by employers and employees.

Business culture in Turkey

  • Meeting Formality: Meetings in Turkey often start with a degree of formality, relaxing as familiarity grows between business partners. Punctuality is valued, though some waiting time may be expected.
  • Business Cards and Relationship Building: Business cards are exchanged when there is genuine interest in establishing a business relationship. If a card is not offered, it may indicate a lack of interest.
  • Refreshments and Social Conversation: Turkish tea or coffee typically accompanies meetings, facilitating relaxed conversation before business matters are discussed. Rushing to business topics is considered impolite.
  • Initial Meetings: The first meetings are usually intended for getting acquainted rather than making immediate business decisions.
  • Presentation Style: Proposals should be clear, concise, and supported with visual aids like graphs and diagrams. Emphasizing mutual benefits and potential prestige can be more persuasive than financial aspects alone.
  • Decision-Making Process: Expect prolonged decision-making processes. Initial negotiations often involve junior team members, progressing to senior levels as trust and respect are established.
  • Cultural Aspects of Business:some text
    • Many Turkish companies are family-owned where nepotism prevails.
    • Building trust and personal relationships is crucial for successful business dealings.
    • Avoid pressure tactics such as expiring offers to foster long-term relationships.
  • Negotiation Tactics:some text
    • Bargaining is customary and expected in Turkish business culture.
    • Never accept the first price as final; expect significant negotiation, with final prices often being about 40% different from initial offers.
    • Display readiness to walk away if the deal doesn't meet your terms, which can shift the negotiation dynamics in your favor.
  • Communication Preferences: Once relationships are established, direct communication like phone calls is preferred over emails, which may be responded to slowly.
  • Meeting Scheduling Considerations:some text
    • Avoid setting meetings during Ramadan or the peak summer months of July and August.
    • Be mindful of prayer times, scheduling meetings in the morning or after lunch.
  • Cultural Sensitivity: While gift giving is not customary, dining out is a common gesture of friendship and business goodwill in Turkey. It's polite to accept such invitations.
  • Corruption Perception: As of 2018, Turkey was ranked 78th out of 180 countries on the Corruption Perception Index, indicating a moderate level of public sector corruption. This necessitates due diligence and reference checks in business dealings.

Top sectors to hire from in Turkey

Service Sector

The service sector is the predominant employer in Turkey, accounting for the majority of the workforce with approximately 17.4 million people employed in 2022. This sector spans a wide range of industries, including retail, finance, healthcare, and public administration, underscoring its critical role in driving Turkey’s economic growth and providing diverse job opportunities.

Agricultural Sector

In Turkey, the agricultural sector has undergone significant transformation, shifting towards more efficient and sustainable practices. Despite a reduction in the workforce from 2014 to 2022, with the sector employing nearly 4.9 million people by 2022, agriculture continues to be a vital part of Turkey's economy. It plays a crucial role in food production and export, contributing to the country's economic resilience and adaptation to new agricultural technologies and methods.

Top cities to hire from Turkey

Istanbul:

Istanbul is a major powerhouse in Turkey's tech landscape, hosting a vibrant array of tech startups, international tech giants, and innovative incubators. The city's rich talent pool is bolstered by prestigious universities and a dynamic support system for technological advancement. This makes Istanbul a prime location for companies eager to engage with a wide spectrum of professionals, particularly in fields such as technology, finance, and the creative sectors.

Ankara:

Ankara is recognized as a central hub in Turkey’s tech and industrial domains, offering a solid foundation for firms looking for expertise in information technology, defense manufacturing, and electronics. The city benefits from favorable government policies, robust investment in technological infrastructure, and a strong network of academic and research institutions. This environment fosters a highly skilled workforce geared towards driving innovation and technological progress.

Hire in Turkey compliantly with Gloroots

In Turkey, Gloroots serves as an Employer of Record, facilitating a streamlined approach to mastering the complexities of the Turkish labor market. Our EOR service simplifies the onboarding process for candidates, ensuring they integrate smoothly into business operations while adhering to both local and international regulations. Designed to support enterprises from startups to multinational corporations, our platform delivers an all-encompassing solution for managing payroll, administering benefits, and ensuring tax compliance, all without the need to establish a physical presence. This capability allows businesses to effectively expand their remote workforce across Turkey. To discover more about how Gloroots can support your hiring efforts in Turkey, please reach out to us.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How much does it cost to hire an employee in Turkey?

In Turkey, the cost of hiring an employee includes the basic salary, additional benefits, social security contributions, and applicable taxes. Additional expenses may involve costs for recruitment advertising, signing bonuses, and the onboarding process. These costs can vary based on the job's location within Turkey, as well as the skill set and experience level of the employee. Understanding these costs is essential for accurate budgeting and financial planning in the Turkish job market.

2. Where can I hire employees from Turkey?

Turkey’s talent can be sourced from major urban areas such as Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, and Antalya, which are particularly rich in skilled professionals across industries like technology, manufacturing, and services. Employers frequently use campus recruitment, job fairs, and online platforms like Kariyer.net, Eleman.net, and LinkedIn to locate potential candidates. These cities provide dynamic labor markets ideal for companies seeking to build a skilled and diverse workforce.

3. How to find talent in Turkey?

To find skilled professionals in Turkey, employers can utilize various tools and strategies:

  • LinkedIn: A vital platform for professional networking, LinkedIn supports job postings and candidate searches within Turkey.
  • Kariyer.net and Eleman.net: Popular local job boards that offer a wide range of listings and recruitment services.
  • Networking Events: Participating in local industry meetups, trade shows, and conferences can connect employers with the professional community.
  • University Partnerships: Collaborating with Turkish universities for campus recruitment can secure a stream of emerging talent.
  • Recruitment Agencies: For specialized roles, recruitment agencies can streamline the search for highly qualified candidates.
  • Employer of Record (EOR) Services: An EOR like Gloroots can greatly simplify the hiring process in Turkey, ensuring compliance with Turkish employment laws and regulations.

4. What is the minimum salary for employees in Turkey?

The national minimum wage in Turkey is updated periodically and as of 2021, it stands at 2,825 TRY per month. This wage is reviewed annually and may be adjusted based on inflation and economic conditions.

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