Finding a job in Manama

Updated 2020-02-24 08:15

The opportunities for employment in Bahrain are wide-ranging, although, in recent years, there have been changes in the opportunities available. Bahrain's capital, Manama, has corporate offices, a regional finance centre, a number of luxury hotels, and several large shopping malls amongst its employment prospects.

Travelling to Manama for work

It is unlikely you will be able to travel to Bahrain on a visitor's visa and find work. A number of formalities must be observed before you will be allowed to work in Bahrain. Criminal record and medical checks are essential before your employer can apply for a work visa on your behalf. Should you come to Bahrain for a job interview, do not be surprised to find yourself going for a medical as part of the interview process. Please visit the visa requirements for Bahrain for further details.

Job hunting in Manama

Bahrain is a small nation, and some work will be advertised as being situated in Manama even though it is elsewhere on the island. If travelling could be a problem for you, please check the actual location of the work before accepting a contract.

Employment opportunities in Manama cover a wide range of industries and types of employment, from manual workers to CEOs. Whatever your occupation, there is a chance of finding suitable employment in the nation's capital. However, lately, a drive to "Bahrainise" jobs has been evident, especially in government departments. It should be worth noting this before committing to a job that might well be limited to local employees within a year or two. Currently, around twenty-five thousand people are unemployed in Bahrain, and the intention is to make that figure as low as possible.

When looking for a potential employer in Manama, it is worth looking at employment agencies, both online and in your own country. Be wary of any agency that asks for money from you. Agencies earn their money by obtaining a finder's fee from the employer. Job candidates should never be asked to provide money, and this should set off warning bells. Putting the company name into a search engine may reveal complaints if the agency is a scam.

Preparing for a job interview in Manama

This first part applies to any job application in the world: know something about the company before going to an interview, and understand the position for which you are being interviewed. There is nothing a prospective employer dislikes more than the applicant not knowing anything about the company or the role; do your homework well in advance.

The Bahrain culture is quite relaxed and great emphasis is put on relationships. If your interview is conducted by a Bahraini, do not be surprised to find it starts with a discussion on subjects unrelated to the job. Nothing is rushed in Bahrain and eventually talk will turn to the position on offer. A lot of meetings are conducted this way, with pleasantries and refreshments taking place before the business in hand.

Make sure you relax and be honest in your answers. Remember to ask all your questions before you leave the interview.

 Good to know:

The interview is not just for the employer to see if you are a suitable candidate, it is for you to determine whether they will be a suitable employer and the job is right for you. Don't be afraid to ask difficult questions.

Employment sectors in Manama


A considerable number of Islamic and Middle Eastern banks have their headquarters in Manama. Bahrain is the regional centre for banking, and the financial industry is strong. Several international banks are also represented, such as Standard Bank, HSBC, Citibank and American Express.

The banking sector is divided into retail and wholesale banking, with the wholesale sector being by far the largest accounting for some sixty per cent.

Banking is only one of the financial sectors to be based in the capital. Insurance, fund management, investments, and the capital market all have a presence in Bahrain, many of them operating in the Financial Harbour in Manama.

The latest figures available (2017) show the financial sector accounts for approximately two per cent of the workforce in Bahrain, just over six thousand of those are expats.


Restaurants and hotels abound in the capital. Job opportunities in the hospitality industry are plentiful but be warned, the hours can be long, and standards are high, particularly in the high-end establishments. Most vacancies will require previous experience, and in some cases, the candidate must be an Arabic speaker.

Job types are across the board, from kitchen porters to managers. Keeping in mind that the Bahrain government intends to exploit the tourism potential of the island, this sector is set for growth.


Shopping is a major pastime in Bahrain. Wherever you look, there are recently opened malls and others under construction. They range from compact buildings containing a handful of artisan shops and cafes to huge ventures with restaurants, cinemas and an opportunity to buy luxury goods from world-famous brands.

As mentioned above, the capital is home to several large malls and many smaller ones. The majority of shops employ foreign staff in various roles.


The Manama skyline is constantly changing. Malls, hotels, apartment blocks, villas and roads seem to be under construction everywhere. As with the retail sector, the job opportunities are plentiful, from labourers to project managers. The working hours can be long, and a lot of the work is outside where the heat can be exhausting, particularly in the summer months.

Although the construction industry stalled for a while at the beginning of the decade, there appears to be a revival in this sector. Several capital projects are planned by the government, and the private sector appears to be buoyant.

Construction is the largest employer of foreign labour with almost one hundred and forty-three thousand in the workforce.

 Useful links:

Employment agencies (Edarabia)
Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA)

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.