Career Advice Job Hunting Tips

Working in Saudi Arabia

Many people think of Saudi Arabia as a closed, extremely conservative country where they would never imagine going and living. But if you ask those who have worked in Saudi Arabia for sometime, they will tell you that the benefits are no less either.

Experienced Gulf expats will tell you that Saudi Arabia is still one of the most cost-effective place to work. If your objective is to go to the Gulf, work there for few years, save a bundle of cash and then return home, then Saudi Arabia is the definite choice.

The life there may not be as colourful as Dubai, and they may not have a country-side as scenic and varied as Oman, but it has a mood very much of its own. Saudis, much like Americans, like to think BIG in everything. Therefore you will find everything, every place with huge spaces. Claustrophobia is difficult to find in Saudi Arabia. And, yes, if you are a Muslim, then what better place to work!

Unlike some other places in the Gulf, you should not think of Saudi Arabia as a long term / life-long destination. Saudi government has an aggressive policy of inducting the national workforce in the mainstream. Therefore many expats who had been working in cushy, “secure” job for many years suddenly found out one day that they were being asked to train a local graduate who will then take over his position after few months or so.

While it was traumatizing for those individuals, I believe that, like every human, Saudis have a right to be given preference in their home country. Therefore the new, educated Saudi workforce is becoming more and more visible. My advice for the expats: Don’t fret. Face the reality. Its easier when you are expecting it. Don’t plan a lifetime employment in Saudi Arabia. Go there, make good money, enjoy fancy vacations or use the savings for building your assets in your preferred location. Plan your return or next destination in advance, and then move on.

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