Job offer - would this salary be enough for a european expat?

Hi everyone,

i have recently received a job offer from a big international company in Kuwait as an e-Commerce Officer. I am 22 years old so still quite young with 1-2 years experience in that area. My salary would be 600 KWD, would this be enough for a european expat? What are my chances for promotions (hence my age)? I would just like some advice about the salary, job and living standard in kuwait.

Hoping for some helpful answers! :)

Moderated by Priscilla 3 years ago
Reason : title changed for more visibility

For a European expat forget it!!!! Europe would offer more, accommodation for a European expectation for a start would take 2/3 of that amount. European expat shouldn't come for less than KD 1,250 for your career level and even that is the minimum and you would need other perks to make it work for you.

600 kd. If you share with some one in a flat, you could do 200. car hire or taxi the same. food. Then you have nothing.

It could be a scam

hey dear,

i have a colleague she's 28 years old from UK and her salary is less than yours (500 KD), so my advise to you, try 2 negotiate at least for 800 KD since you're 22 years old ( which means without the required experience) .. or if they don't want to raise the salary ask for accommodation because it's really expensive here and transportation .. best of luck

this whole myth about how your passport affects your paycheck really has gotten out of hand "/

KD 1,250 - for 1-2 years experience? with all due respect, how? if you're doing a direct conversion based on how much a person with that experience would make in Europe, factor in taxes (or lack thereof) in Kuwait.

your chances of promotion are based on how hard you work and prove yourself, not your passport.

go to for an idea on living expenses in kuwait.


If you start with low salary you will never get it up to a big number because it would need to double and that would take forever. The cost of living in Kuwait is peanuts compared to Europe however a European culture is generally not to share an apartment so that's why the salary would need substantial uplift to be able to live in a manner that he would in Europe and to save a handsome amount otherwise what is the point in him coming here.

There is definitely a lot less value given to a western passport in Kuwait nowadays with the sheer volume of people holding dual nationality but reality is that in certain sectors the passport will command a premium if the person is western origin. In Saudi they have pay structures that clearly remunerate based on where passport holder is from.

Also in Kuwait hard work commitment etc won't necessarily pay off there is a lot of nepotism here and the work environment in the Gulf  is not entirely a meritocracy.

The cost of living in Kuwait is far higher than England.

Lots of people share house's, flat's etc here as well. Well in Portsmouth they do.

Scotsman you make valid points; here's my rebuttal:

as an Egyptian expat working in Kuwait, i like ot think of myself as a bit of a success story in that i started working in 2007, and since then have quadrupled my income. the way it works is, you work, you get experience, you do professional certifications (got one under my belt and wokring on another) and you advance more. the advancement is not necessarily in the first company you started with, quite the contrary, i've gone through, wait let me see, 6 companies (one doesnt count as i left during probation but its the thought that counts) in that time period, always leaving for a better offer.

you're right and you're not right simultaneously - companies do reward hard work - take for example Alghanim, suppose you start there as a junior, they offer great incentive for you to reach senior level - a rent allowance of 250, car allowance of 100 and medical insurance, not to mention the raise in your take-home pay. so all things considered, yes effort is rewarded. if you put yourself down by saying its a lot of nepotism you're setting yourself up for failure.

paying per passport is discretionary in Kuwait, its not routed in the constitution or the company's bylaws. therefore expecting it is also a form of setting yourself up for disappointment.

in the end, we are not slaves here. you work, you get your salary. you dont like your job, apply elsewhere and ask for more. its always a given that the first job overseas will tax you for the preparation of your residency, whereas anything after that no longer bears that cost, you savvy? like to bring someone in from overseas and go through the medical tests etc. costs companies money, so they make it back from the employee by offering a salary on the lower end of their scale in terms of their experience etc.

no two people applying for a job are ever truly equal, that is why positions have salary "ranges" not sets, they say for example this position should earn between 400-650, whether you are paid closer to which end depends on your strengths and whatever other traits the employer wants to give merit to.

Legacy, you do make some very good points regarding living here in Kuwait, moving jobs, etc. Unfortunately with certain companies, there is a restriction on who you can go work for, or there are gentlemen's agreements between companies that they wont employ the other parties ex employees.

Coming from Africa, I also started on 700KD, in a senior position in one of the better restaurants in Kuwait. I have tripled my salary in 3 years. HOWEVER, I need to ask - the Brit who was employed in exactly the same position as I was, with LESS experience than I had, as well as 4 years younger - why did he start on 1200KD? Note, we started on the same day, same brand, same store.

It DOES come down to the colour of your passport, and, as an African, mine just isnt pink/red/purple/blue enough. I have seen this salary discrepancy many times over, and I still see it when I am recruiting for the store...

i take it you work for Al Shaya, and by gentleman agreement you are referring to Alghanim?

in that regard that is the case for "top level employees" i.e. not everyone on the totem pole.

as for your story, i cant contest it since you put the numbers and i am a man of numbers. in your statement i find further validation of what i am saying in a sense - when you move to Kuwait that job is not all you are equipped to do, let me ask you this, if you had stayed in SA for those 3 years, do you think you could have moved to Kuwait at 2,100?

Its not only Alghanim, its various other retail companies - Chalhoub, Al Tayer etc. And it is not only "top level". I'm a nothing in the company as a whole - I was refused employment by another company due to this "agreement".

Had I been offered 2100 to move to Kuwait, I would have jumped at the chance. The problem is, we werent given the option to negotiate salaries - it was This is what we are offering - take it or leave it.

During the whole interview process (it was a mass recruitment drive that happened over the course of a week at one of the local hotels in SA) we were told that accommodation is cheap (we were given 50KD as a figure, for a one bedroom apartment), transport is cheap (10KD a month), food is cheap etc etc... so when I was told 700 is your salary, I was lead to believe that it was a good salary and that I would be able to save a lot..... I'm afraid I was very wrong.

My logic is - it shouldn't matter what country you are from - you are not living in that country, you are living in Kuwait. If 100KD is a lot of money in your local currency, it means absolutely nothing - it is still only 100KD in Kuwait. You still need to pay the same price for everything that the man who earns 1000KD is paying. Unfortunately companies here do not see it that way. A lot of the cleaners/security guys here (Many Bengali, Indian, Sri Lankan - you get my point), are earning 150KD - how is that a fair wage in a country that sucks cash out of you as fast as it hands it to you?

KD600 is not enough unless accommodation is provided

At 22 no one is generally recognised as having sufficient experience. This normally is a bit of a vicious circle. I need the job, you need experience, give me the job to get the experience. If you can get your feet in the door here at that age, take it. But ad aware of living costs.
If you plan to live alone in a single bedroom apartment then expect to pay 250 ish a month. Sharing am apartment is the obvious money saver. The land lord will want a month in advance and a months security deposit before handing you the keys. So 500 straight of the back from day 1.
Food is not cheap. You will expect to spend 30 a week, easy more. And that's cooking in.
On the rental side, your rent should cover a furnished apartment with electricity, water, TV in with the price.
There are waw less temptations here than other popular middle east countries for emptying your wallet.
So basically 600 for a single person at that age is livable if carefully managed. And it's a step in the right direction.
Just read your contract carefully regarding if your company is giving you a monthly allowance on top of the 600. That should be at least 200 which would go to your rent

Not friend u are a westerner with a lot to bring to the table no matter what the can do way better.  Some westerners make about 2500 plus, I know I have a friend who just do supply...u are better then that.....the other is Kuwaitis well use you.

ha ha ha ha ha. Your a Westerner and deserve better. Thats sooooooo funny.

So u think u are less?

How does a westerner bring a lot to the table than any other guy Mr. jimmartinez66? I would like to get your clarification on that Sir. As far as I believe, one can only bring to the table what one has got in terms of qualification, talent and capability or ability. Where you come from, in my opinion is secondary, or if I may say so, insignificant in terms of what you can bring to the table, in the real sense of the matter. I am waiting to hear any other reasoning or counter explanation from anyone who would like to offer his insights on this issue. Where you come from may give you  an advantage, but it certainly does not go as far as to inherently make you better or with a lot to offer than someone else from any other region. Now I am waiting for the responses.

Rightly or wrongly, well clearly wrongly but some companies will pay a premium for an originating westerner. 10 years ago at 23 (first stint in Kuwait) when I was newly qualified with limited experience I was taking KD 1,200 as a basic starting salary. For certain companies who are dealing with other international companies they like to front a westerner I have heard this directly before. That's why I recommended that the guy who inquired immediately rejected the offer why scrimp and suffer in a salary achievable in home country. Issue is the cultural views by locals of westerners. If you were a westerner would you honestly pursue a salary lower than you know you could get? Some of us are just giving this guy sound advice not to undersell himself. There are a number of companies who will pay a big premium that's a fact whether we agree with it or not.

That still does not address my observation Scotsman in Kuwait. My concern is how can someone claim that a westerner brings a lot more to the table than a person from any other region? If someone makes such a claim he should back it up with some reasoning. I do not want to offend anyone here and sincerely apologize if someone's sentiments are hurt. Just asking for clarification, hope I am not asking for the moon here.

AYYAZ1972. I am from the UK. As you can see from my flags under my profile I have travelled and worked in more countries than most for many years. So I consider myself experienced. I agree with what you are asking. The other guy has obviously no idea and the comfort bordered on arrogance. I am as a westerner, totally embarrassed by his comments. I am currently working with engineers from India, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan etc. And these people bring as much to the table as anyone. To say that a westerner is better than the rest of the world and deserves More money is laughable. I can now say sorry to all non western people reading this and say this person does not represent the majority of us.

Hello BIG JOCK, it is nice to hear from you. Thanks for taking the time to post your response and for the honesty. You are a good man Sir. Hoping that all of us can be the same. Have a good day Sir, and if God wills we will meet up some day.

well who would have thought this topic would open up to such a discussion. But there you go, a Pandora's box indeed.
Lets all now relax and get back to a honest days work.

I am with you on that one BIG JOCK. And no offence was intended for anyone Sir.

I guess he means Western qualifications are better than those obtained from elsewhere, and thus deserve to be treated differently because of that?

There we go again XB23. How do western qualifications become better than qualifications or degrees obtained from elsewhere? This is certainly a subjective matter. I just believe no one should have a superiority complex, just as no one should have an inferiority complex. Education or Qualification cannot be termed as better somewhere and not so good at another place in today's world. I am a firm believer in this. Am I being unrealistic and naive here? I do not think so.

I’ll right … a juicy one!  lol

Ok, let’s start at the top (before I start rocking the boat) and I’ll make a couple observations … everyone (maybe with the possible exception of Mr Martinez who after reading some of his other posts, his use of English, leaves me wondering if he’s even originally from the US) seems to have valid points within the context to each of they’re own perspectives … but I would also factor in ‘Industry’ of the ‘offering’ company (which will play a lot into pay ranges … also I would strongly agree with whoever said (not going to read back through it all and find it again, but) “it’s possible to live on at his age ‘if’ managed correctly” … at 22, I would be trading income for experience with little thought … and the experience of working abroad is just another form of education (the school paying you for your education!).  lol

And … moving on to the more controversial subjects!  lol   hmmmmmmm

(OMG … Here he goes again!   :dumbom:  )

Equal education on a global scale … are you kidding me?  lol … just curious, how many western countries have you lived and gone to school in?  How many comprehensive western credentialed certifications programs have you completed (let’s say a minimum of 60+ hours) while spending the majority of that time staying in said western country (not some western program brought and taught in the local region)?  As a westerner, I’ve lived and gone to school in 3 non-western countries’, with my primary schooling starting, and my graduate study’s ending, in the US.  I’m neither an elitist nor do I have a superiority complex, I have simply compared the ‘systems’ of studies within multiple cultures, and political environments (also currently ‘applying’ the this accumulated experience on a daily basis). … Of course you wouldn’t think yourself naïve, for to recognize nativity within oneself, would in fact be an oxymoron!  lol
I have CV’s floated through my desk daily, reviewing and verifying credentials weekly as part of my clients processes for bringing on ‘qualified’ personnel to sensitive site locations.  I interview applicants from multiple cultures and backgrounds on a regular basis, both western and eastern … I’ve learned to recognize the ‘stark’ differences (generalizing) ... here’s something else that’s probably going to sound really bad … I also see very stark differences in field performance based on cultural approaches.  To follow up on that statement understand that some of the companies actually create quota’s on eastern verses western hires (example; 35% western to 65% eastern in oversight roles), and these said company’s have become very picky lately about making sure the westerners are true to culture and not the, “oh I went to school a couple years in maple leaf land, acquired a passport, and came back home to make better money as a westerner” (those are now being screened out).  The reason for this is not to deny certain cultures opportunities, but the want to obtain/integrate true western cultural influences into the workforce. 

What’s really funny is, you set there commenting on how much more someone with a different color of passport might make, when that factor is still driven my the market, like any other product.  lol … I currently have three western targeted engineering positions open with no prospects … no one ‘qualified’ for such positions are willing to come to this region for work for the range offered (even with the current mess our ‘industry’ is in back in the west) … they’d rather stay home unemployed then come here and work for the pricing offered.  “Such hard headed creatures!”  lol

Hope everyones Holiday has gone well!  :D

Absolutely correct sir. And this is a very typical stereotype. Where the capitalist west think we know better. This is sadly a very common misunderstanding. The people I work with know as much, if not more. And let's not forget, your education is only a means of opening a door. There is absolutely no replacement for experience.
Sadly, after all this, there is sadly a distinction that is internationally recognised that caps, or at least governs, salaries depending on your home country. And this even means if you carry a British passport but your origins are for example, Indian. This has been a bone of contention for decades. And is a topic all on its own.
Now, here is the other thing that gets me hot under the collar. And it's the word Expat. What's an expat? It's not a western white guy as some people mistakenly think. You see the small guy from India, in his orange coveralls and high visibility vest that's brushing the street. Earning 80kd a month. He is an Expat. Sadly we use the word expat to create an elitist line in the sand. Well those who do are totally wrong. We all are expats.
So do what I do. When your at the red light and you look out and see that small guy in the orange coveralls, roll your window down, call him over and put a kd in his hand and thank him.
You will feel better for helping out a not so fortunate fellow expat.

I have written this before and I will write this again BIG JOCK. You are a good man Sir and with a golden heart too. Because you see things and make observations fairly without any prejudice whatsoever. I still hope to see you some day and shake hands with you. Many people consider themselves to have widely traveled and seen all (the 'BEEN THERE DONE THAT' type). They claim  to have extensive knowledge about different cultures and customs and styles. But not many have a fair perspective on things in life. People think that others from different cultures or background than the West have inferior performance rates. To me that is not a fair perspective or frame of mind. But no offense meant to anyone (each to his own).

If the market is prejudiced or practices apartheid, should we all, as equal and responsible citizens of this world, support this practice, or try to do our own little bit to change the situation? What should be our ideal course of action and frame of mind? LOL.....

No of fence to anyone here still the mindset is white is right nothing to do Wz talent being a westerner salary u get on face value first talent is just an added feature , which may be used in future but you ask for salary more thn 2500 and u  will get it you too young you deserve it too all the best , even if you boarding plane now off load and jump out dear all the best

Hi all,
[at]alexsagthallo - I'm sure you must've heard the "depends" answer to this question. Cliched as it sounds, it's true.
- Are you getting accommodation from the company?
- Where are you going to be staying? Salmiya? Mahboula? Jahra? The difference could be KD 50-200.
- Is living with roommates okay with you?
- You prefer to cook? Or eat out regularly? Fast foods - McDonalds/Burger King variety? Or fine dining - P.F. Chang's/Maki?
- Is medical covered? Serious issues, if it's not.
- What about transportation?
- Is there an annual ticket back to home country involved?

How fast you progress and by how much is not only dependent on your hard work, but also on what you have agreed with the company/manager before joining. Criteria for success and compensation of getting that. Connect with other people in the company to check previous average pay increases/ bonuses.

About whether you can push for more with the offer, approach from a cost-benefit analysis. Can you afford all of the above if the company does not offer it? Can you get something better in your home country (adding what you would spend if the employer in Kuwait did not offer these allowances)? In your current negotiations, push if any of the below apply
- You know someone (you trust) in the company and they have told you that you can possibly get more.
- You got a vibe from the recruiter that they really want you bad. Go for the jugular.
- You have nothing to loose (you have an option back home) and the figure you want will adequately cover expenses above (if the employer has not offered them).

Finally - take all the advise in this forum with a pinch of salt. All the comments are from individual experiences - good and bad (including mine) which may or may not come to pass with you. Even if it does, you might react differently; simply because you are not them/me.

best of luck.


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