What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?
What are the main industries in this city? What types of career opportunities commonly exist? How do most people find new jobs?
Main industries are banking/investment, oil and gas, hotel, logistics/defense, shipping, aviation.
Most people find jobs through recruiters, however, there are very few that are professional and that will even respond to you and/or meet with you.
What type of work do you do and how did you find your job?
I currently work as as a BD and Marketing Manager (after 13 years in Kuwait). My first job here was as a Sales Administrator for an IT-related Islamic company.
On my first visit to Kuwait as a tourist in 1993, I knew nothing about Kuwait’s job market. I thought that if I liked Kuwait enough, I might try to find a job. I had no idea how to go about it – and at the time, there wasn’t much on the internet about Kuwait. E-mail hadn’t really come into full-swing in Kuwait (or the US for that matter) yet. So, I did it the “old-fashioned way”, armed with my strong belief in the law of averages: I copied 300 resumes and cover letters, and stuffed them into 300 individually-labeled, stamped, and sealed envelopes and sent them all airmail to potential employers in Kuwait. I also sent same to all the ministers at all the ministries, hoping to get something. I mentioned the dates that I would be available in Kuwait for interviews. Out of the 300 resumes I sent, I received 50 responses. Out of the 50 responses, I had five solid interviews when I came to Kuwait.
How did you obtain your work permit? What advice would you have for others about work permits?
I obtained my work permit through the company I worked for. This is really the only legal way to do it. You can "buy" your visa on the black market, but there are risks involved. I wouldn't advise anyone to buy a visa.
If you are working on a contract for the US military, you MUST have an Article 18 visa and the sponsors name on your visa must match the company you are employed by (that has a contract with the military) in order to obtain a base pass.
Have you taken language and cross-cultural training courses to prepare for your assignment? If so, how have they helped you on the job?
Before I came, I knew a LOT about Kuwait: I had Kuwaiti friends, I took Arabic and Islamic courses. I was well read (with the help of the Kuwaiti embassy sending books!) about Kuwait, so I knew what to expect.
These days, with the help of the internet and forums such as expatexchange, it makes it much easier to find information.
If you were transferred abroad by your employer, were you guaranteed a job upon repatriation? What type of mentoring programs does your employer offer?
Not applicable. I came on my own to work for a Kuwaiti company.
I believe, from what I have seen over the past 13 years, that mentoring programs or proper orientation programs would really help employees coming here. These programs SHOULD include open discussions/dialog with citizens of the country - not just from other westerners who have been taught by other westerners. There are LOTS of Kuwaitis who would like to help; many were educated in the West and would like to return the favor.
What advice would you offer others about finding jobs and working abroad?
Learn everything you possibly can about the host country you are going to FIRST. Try to visit the country before committing to a long-term employment contract. Talk to residents of the country. Make friends.
There is no possible way you will learn everything about ANY country from a guidebook.
Need further info about Kuwait? Write to me at [email protected] and I will try to answer any/all questions.