Expatriates workers are very common in Kuwait's economy. Around 60 % of the labor force is foreign nationals, most coming from Asia, India, Sri Lanka and other Far East countries. An overwhelming majority of these are manual workers in low-income jobs. The numbers of expats in the upper managerial section of the labor market are high, too. Over 90% of Kuwaitis work in the public sector - government jobs, with very few in the private sector.
In spite of everything, landing a job in Kuwait isn't easy. In fact, it's downright difficult, even for well qualified applicants. While most expats have filled many upper-level positions, the up and coming generation of Kuwaitis just now entering the workforce is increasingly well-educated and the government is keenly aware of the need to provide these individuals with decent employment opportunities at home.
Many companies in Kuwait are strongly encouraged to hire Kuwaiti nationals whenever possible, to help ease the pressure on those in search of a job locally. The Government of Kuwait can, and often does, limit the number of work visas issued to a company to ensure local quotas are met.
Although the Kuwaiti government is putting its best foot forward in terms of one day becoming self-sufficient in the labor market, the high demand for expatriate specialists probably not end any time soon. Moreover, those foreign workers with highly sought after skills in crucial areas for the development of the local economy still stand a better than 50/50 chance of securing a job in Kuwait.
Expats holding a university degree, with professional experience in the financial sector, or in the fields of sales and business development, continue to be the most successful. Engineers, particularly those with knowledgeable backgrounds in the oil industry, stand the best chances to fulfill their dream of working in Kuwait.
For more information on differences and standards, refer to the article CV versus Résumé
When applying for a job in the Middle East, most companies prefer a detailed CV, but it depends on the company. Inquire which format is preferred if not stated in the ad. A CV or resume should include:
Cover letters are always a good idea, especially when dealing with major companies, business and governments. A cover letter usually accompanies a CV in a job application. In the format of a letter, it establishes your tone and intent.
Search engines allow you to scan a great variety of jobs, and narrow down your search on certain criteria. It is also a good idea to post your CV online so hiring managers can find you. They may also allow you to sign-up for e-mail alerts of when new jobs become available.
Expat and social forums are another resource for job seekers. Easy Expat's Kuwait forum are a great resource. Search by industry and browse the latest jobs.
Several papers have a helpful classified's section. There are job offers for executives and professionals, as well as sections dedicated to specific professions, like teaching, computers, and media.
Several papers have a helpful classified's section.
EEK! (Expats Express Kuwait) is a subscription only weekly newsletter which also advertises employment announcements.
Most agencies specialize in a particular field, such as computers, nursing, secretarial work, accounting, catering, or construction. There are also 'Head hunting' agencies that are hired by large companies to recruit executives, managers or professionals. To find an appropriate agency, look for 'employment agencies' in the yellow pages or go to a directory of agencies.
Career fairs are an excellent way to find out about available jobs and opportunities. There are usually a large variety of employers you can visit in one day and apply. Entrance is usually free, but registering online might be encouraged. Bring your resume and dress to impress as there may be interviews on the spot.
You can also try going to career fairs in your home country that specialize in jobs abroad.
Sometimes getting a job is about knowing the right people. Talk to friends, family, and business contacts to see if they have connections in the area you would like to work. Expat events can also be a great way to find out how other expats found work and see if their company has any openings. Use social media such as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn or expat forums.
Anyone desiring to teach English in Kuwait should first contact a school. You may be required to possess a teaching certificate and other documentation, which must be approved by the government. There may be severe penalties (heavy fines, deportation or even prison) for anyone suspected of or caught teaching without first obtaining government approval. The Ministry of Education is a great place to start (in Arabic).
English-speaking expats are in high demand for teaching English. Language schools usually require applicants to have TEFL course certificates and a college degree. You must have adequate visa clearance and registration. Most schools will supply you the intent to employ so you can secure a visa.
The easiest way to get started teaching English is to find a school. The best situations are companies that pay adequately and aid in getting visa paperwork completed. These positions may be difficult to come by and there is fierce competition for the best.
Applicants usually submit their resume and application, and if the school approves, the applicant will be asked for an interview. The interview may consist of a sample lesson or a grammar test.
TESOL (also known as TEFL) is the acronym for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. A TESOL certificate is the most common qualification required to teach English abroad. There are a wide variety of TESOL courses available, ranging from 4-week intensive, classroom based TESOL courses with TEFL International, to TESOL courses studied online. It is even possible to combine a period of online study with a shorter classroom based course. In addition to standard TESOL certificate courses there are also more specialized courses such as courses for teaching business English, or teaching English to young learners. There is also the more advanced TESOL diploma course.
Interviews are a chance for a company to get to know you before hiring you. Research the company before the interview to discover their missions and direction. Study the job advert in detail and think of every potential question you might be asked. Study your application and prepare yourself to answer every sort of question about it.
It is not uncommon for there to be a series of interviews, with the first lasting 30-60 min, and further meetings possibly taking an entire day.
Refer to "Passport & Visa" section of the guide for full details.
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