As Europe's second largest country, Ukraine is decent place to take your career, but be prepared for it all to be lubricated by torrents of cheap vodka

Who's out there

UK firms include EC Harris, Bovis, Gleeds, Mott MacDonald, Aedas and Atkins.

Who you need to know

The best approach is to attend the monthly networking events held in Kiev by organisations like the British Chamber of Commerce and the European Business Association. These tend to be drinks events in hotels with about 200 attendees from the UK, US and Ukraine. One word of warning: they all tend to take place at the same time, which means the last week of the month can turn into one almighty hangover …

Where the action is

Mainly Kiev. The head offices of the major western firms are in the capital and so is the nightlife. There is some provincial construction activity too though.

What to do

Learn how to drink a lot of vodka. It's expected. The stuff flows at networking occasions and unless you want to be seen as a complete bore, you'll need to be able to hold as much as your Ukrainian hosts.

What not to do

Don't leave empty bottles on the table. They belong on the floor. Don't whistle indoors either – this is considered bad luck, especially with regard to money. Hands and objects should not pass across thresholds, so go inside before you shake hands or offer gifts, to do otherwise is to bring bad luck on your host.

Down time

The capital is full of wonderful monasteries and churches and their gold onion-domed roofs gleam all along the banks of the Dnieper. The river is surprisingly clean and fishing is a popular pastime throughout the year. In winter the lakes freeze over and ice hockey, skating and ice fishing are taken up by locals and expats alike.

Fashion dos and don'ts

For men, business wear is suits or less formal collared shirts. Women on the other hand dress up flamboyantly. High fashion is the order for business with stack heels, low neck lines and tight skirts even in meetings.

How far will your money go

Half a litre of vodka is 1.50 euro, a packet of cigarettes is 30 cents and petrol is 55 cents a litre.

Free and easy

Revealing dress for women is the norm. The going rate to smoothe over any awkward brushes with the law is $10.

Going down

Don't try driving into the Ukraine. It's outside the EU and it can take up to eight hours to cross the border.


The Cyrillic alphabet causes havoc. The national currency is the Hryvna, pronounced groove-ner. Most business meetings are in English.