Hiring in Iran: What do you need to know?

With the recent lifting of sanctions in Iran there is a new wave of opportunity in the country and JOH Partners has been working with a number of clients to help create them tailored recruitment solutions so they can find the talent they need to grow their business in this exciting and dynamic market. Here we have set out some general information to help you discuss Iranian opportunities with external candidates and internal stakeholders.


The Islamic Republic of Iran is situated in Western Asia. The country has an area of 1,648,195 square kilometers and a population of around 80.8 million. Iran is a diverse country with several different religious and ethnic groups, unified through a shared Indo-European Persian language (Farsi) and culture. The ethnic make-up of the country is estimated by the Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook to be as follows: Persian (61%), Azerbaijanis (16%), Kurds (10%), Lurs (6%), Arabs (2%), Baluchi (2%), Turkmens and Turkic tribes (2%) and others such as Armenians, Georgians, Circassians and Assyrians (1%).


Iran shares its borders with Azerbaijan and Armenia to the north-west, the Caspian Sea to the north, Turkmenistan to the north-east, Pakistan and Afghanistan to the east, Turkey and Iraq to the west, and the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman to the south.


The country enjoys a rich and powerful history.  Ancient civilizations have built settlements on the territory of present-day Iran which date back to 4000 BC. Iran also boasts one of the world’s most powerful ancient civilizations: the Achaemenid Empire, founded by Cyrus the Great in the sixth century BC, which at one point comprised colossal portions of the ancient world, making Iran the biggest empire in the world at the time.

The economy

Working in Iran comes with a variety of opportunities. The economy has a lot to offer when it comes to jobs in the hydrocarbon, agriculture and service sectors (including manufacturing and financial services).

Iran is the second biggest economy in the Middle East and North Africa, and one of the most populous. It is classed as a middle-income country and Iran has an estimated gross domestic product (GDP) of US$438 billion.

Petroleum and natural gas are the most vital of Iran’s vast natural resources. Before the introduction of sanctions against Iran in 2014, oil accounted for 80% of export revenues. The industrial sector, which includes mining, manufacturing and construction, contributes roughly two-fifths to the GDP and employs around a third of the labor force. The service sector is the largest contributor to GDP and employs nearly half of the work force.

Roughly a tenth of Iranian land is arable land, and agriculture contributes slightly over 11% to GDP and employs around a third of the Iranian labor force. Other important industries in Iran are textiles, sugar refining, food processing, and production of cement, building materials, iron, steel, and machinery. Also important to the economy are the country’s carpet weaving, ceramics, silk, and jewelry industries.

Hiring in Iran - Iran GDP Growth

Working and living in Iran

Employees planning to work in Iran as expats will need to apply for a business visa about eight weeks in advance of their travel dates along with a letter from their employment sponsor in Iran. Visas have to be approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in Tehran. You will also need to be interviewed by the consulate before your visa will be issued.

The working day starts at 7:30am in many organizations in Iran. The city is alive all the time. The streets don't become empty of cars even at 4 a.m.

Iran’s tax year begins on March 21 and ends on March 20 of the following year. The Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs levies and collects taxes from Iranian citizens. Taxable income comes from a set range of categories that are each taxed separately: salaries (public sector employees are subject to a 10% tax, for workers in other sectors, income tax is up to 35%).

Healthcare in Iran is supported by the public-governmental system, the private sector and non-governmental organizations. Iranian people are entitled to public health insurance; however, this does not extend to expats, who will need to pay for their own private healthcare.

Iran has an extensive and robust paved road system that links the majority of its towns and all of its cities. Getting about in the country couldn’t be easier. Transport services are frequent, punctual and very cheap, and there are numerous travel options for expatriates in Iran. 

Taxi is a popular mode of transport for both expats and locals, and there are three main types: shared taxi, private taxi, and agency taxi. You can also travel by Metro, Train or even plane.

Hiring in Iran - Climate in Iran


Iran experiences of each of the four seasons long, dry and hot summers with near-continuous sunshine and very short and cool winters. January is the coldest month of the year, with temperatures falling as low as 5°C. The hottest month of the year is August when temperatures can reach in excess of 30°C or even higher in some areas. You will even experience snow in Winter allowing Iran to have a very successful skiing industry.

Iran experiences a mixture of climate zones. If you are going to be based in either the west or south-west parts of the country, you can expect a climate that is hot and dry. In the central part of the country, between the Persian Gulf and the Turkish border, the weather is similarly hot and dry. If you're planning to live in either the east or northern part of Iran, you can expect the climate to be mild and fairly humid, although in the summer months, temperatures of over 22°C are not unusual.

Iran’s mountainous regions of the north experience the coldest weather with heavy snowfalls, but hot, dry summers. In these parts, during the warmest months, temperatures between 20°C and 25°C are not unusual, and in the coldest months, temperatures can fall to between 2°C and 5°C.

Most of the scant annual precipitation falls between the months of November and March. In the majority of the country, yearly precipitation averages 25 cm or less. The months between June and August experience little to no rain. 

How can we help? 

If your organisation currently operates in Iran or is thinking of expanding into Iran then please contact JOH Partners today to discuss a high quality tailored recruitment solution for your organisation.

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