Riding on a Camel back and moving across the sand dunes and winds in the Arabian Desert with an Arabic song playing in the background. The idea might seem synonymous to a lot of people’s perception of working in Saudi Arabia.
But, is there any other shade to this cliched thought?
Yes dear reader, there definitely is. Working in Saudi Arabia is a different experience altogether. Right from beautiful places like Dumat al Jundal and Jamarat bridge to the rich delicacies like Kabsa, Haneeth and Baladi cheese, this Kingdom has a lot to offer to those living here. Saudi Arabia gives numerous job opportunities to grow and excel in one’s professional life.
However, the discussion to follow will talk about the work conditions and idiosyncrasies in this country. Giving it a quick glance might help you gain an insight regarding the professional life and work environment you’ll be facing, once you are there.
What do you need to know about the employment contract?
- You will be provided with an employment contract which will specifically mention all the details of the pay-package. Any verbal communication will not be considered or covered by the contract.
- The employment terms mentioned should be in coherence with the labor law in Saudi Arabia, governed by the Ministry of Labor.
- Though you’ll be handed over an English-language contract signed by you and your employer before departing for Saudi Arabia, but you’ll be asked to sign an Arabic version after your arrival as well. Arabic version is the one that will be referred in case of any dispute.
- When checking the contract make sure the details regarding salary, job title and description, probation period, housing allowance and relocation costs are included.
What are the working hours in KSA ?
- The number of hours you’ll have to devote to work per week varies between 40 to 48 in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, depending on the organization’s policy.
- Office hours range between 7.30 am/8 am until 12 noon, then from 3.30/4 pm until 7 or 8 pm.
- Most of the government offices are open from 7.30 am to 2.30 pm with the general banking hours being 8 am until noon.
- However, in the month of Ramadan the working day is reduced to six hours, which a lot of companies apply only to the Muslim staff.
- Friday is the Muslim day of rest and if your firm has a five-day working week, the other day off will either be a Thursday or Saturday.
What are the work ethics you need to keep in mind?
Work ethics keep on altering once you are moving across the globe from country to country. In Kingdom of Saudi Arabia they are much different to those followed at any work destination in the world. Right from the most conservative style of dressing to a specific polite way of greeting your co-workers, this country has the most different set of work and business etiquettes in store for you.
For instance, you will be expected to greet your colleagues by the title Sayed (Mr.) or Sayeda (Mrs.). Whilst working in Saudi Arabia you’ll also have to avoid scheduling any business meeting on Friday, which is generally known by the name ‘Juma’- meaning the prayer day.
What is the remuneration available in different professions?
- According to a salary survey (in Saudi Arabia) by a reputed website the average monthly salary in the country is 16,252 SAR.
- However, the maximum salary is as high as 140,000 SAR and the minimum is as low as 833 SAR.
- The remuneration associated with some prominent professions in Saudi Arabia (as of 2nd Sep 2014) can be found below.
- Accountant: 60,187 SAR per year
- Civil Engineer: 96,866 SAR per year
- Electrical Engineer: 112,355 SAR per year
- Mechanical Engineer: 109,091 SAR per year
- Project Manager, IT: 198,372 SAR per year
- Registered Nurse: 54,714 SAR per year
What will be the entitlements associated with your job?
- Employment in Saudi Arabia includes a 21 days paid vacation for the first five years of your tenure. Some companies allow the employee to go on vacation only once in every two years. Hence, make sure that your work contract includes at least 21 days of paid vacation in a single year.
- From the 6th year onwards the number of vacations increases to 30 per year. However, if your employer has made you to sign a contract of 21 days’ vacation even after you’ve entered the sixth year of tenure, the law obligates him to pay you for the remaining 9 days per year once you’re leaving the kingdom.
- An employee working for more than 2 years is eligible for ‘End of Service’ benefits too.
- For less than 5 years: 1/3rd of the ESB award or half salary.
- For more than 5 and less than 10 years: 2/3 of the ESB award or half salary for the first five years and full salary for the next five years.
- For more than 10 years: Full ESB award or half salary for the first five years and full salary for the rest of the years.
Working in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will make you a part of eight million expats in the country, thriving for a comfortable and secure work life. But, it might seem like a cake walk, once you are well acquainted with the norms and regulations followed in this country.
If you are new in Saudi Arabia you might be interested to know ways to use Public Transport in Saudi Arabia, check here. TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS IN SAUDI ARABIA
Author Bio: Anshuman Kukreti is a professional writer and a keen follower of the global job market. An engineer by qualification and an artist at heart, he writes on various topics relating to employment across the gulf. Reach him at