Here is some information to help you find a job in Riyadh, the Saudi capital city, if you are planning to move there.
If you are planning to live and work in Riyadh, it is best to inquire on the city's economic situation as well as on labor laws and conditions beforehand. You will probably be eligible to a high salary and be exempted from income tax. Moreover, you are likely to be surrounded by other highly skilled workers, including foreigners. In fact, Riyadh is known to be a melting pot as foreigners worldwide dream of finding a job there.
Oil is definitely deemed to be Saudi Arabia's main resource. The same applies to Riyadh. However, other fields also contribute to its economy, namely small and medium family enterprises, trade and marketing, etc. Note that Riyadh is a mostly industrial city. Thus, agriculture is almost nonexistent there. This is why most locals and foreigners living there generally consume imported products.
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The city hosts not not only big firms and industries but also many government agencies and other public organizations which are restricted to locals.
Nevertheless, local authorities are aware of the fact that oil will not be an eternal resource. Hence, the diversification of the economy since a few years, involving foreign investors and companies. Over the years, other sectors such as energy production, renewable energy, information and communication technology, natural gas production, recycling, etc, have emerged as new economic pillars.
Most expatriates working in Riyadh have either been there there by diplomatic missions or foreign companies having subsidiaries in the country. Other have been hired by international companies which have set up there over the years. Indeed, foreign expertise is quite welcome in Riyadh although local authorities have started what they call a “Saudization” process, that is creating more opportunities for locals.
In short, fields which are more open to foreigners are the following: customer service, the marine industry, computer programming and database administration, expertise in construction, medical professions, etc.
Find a job
There are various ways to find a job in Riyadh. You can start by inquiring with chambers of commerce in the region. These can provide you with a list of companies operating across the city. However, fees may apply. You can also view job offers on the Internet. Note that a good command of English is required to be hired in Riyadh. Some international newspapers also advertise job vacancies in Riyadh. You may as well look for their online version on the Internet.
On the other hand, networking may also be a helpful tool, especially if you have friends or contacts in the Saudi capital city. As regards expat women, they can still be hired in the health care or educational fields, or even by their home country's embassy in Riyadh. However, they are required to be careful, and above all, to be well-groomed.
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If you have been transferred to Riyadh by your company, you should try to visit one of the numerous trade shows which are held there.
In general, the employment contract issued by a Saudi employer will be written in Arabic. For a better understanding on your part, you can request for a certified translation. Bear in mind, however, that only the original version will be considered in case of dispute.
When hired by a Saudi, you are expected to work from Sunday to Thursday. You will work from Monday to Friday only with foreign companies. As regards working hours, these range between 40 and 48 hours a week.
Riyadh is definitely Saudi Arabia's most conservative city. Hence, you are required to respect certain rules so that your expatriation experience can be as successful as expected. In short, you should dress up modestly and never show your thighs, calves, shoulders and stomach. Gentlemen are advised not shake hands with women, and above all, to avoid kissing them on the cheeks. In general, men avoid mixing with women, simply, unless they belong to the same family.