Kuwait is one of the choice destinations for expats all over the world, including overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). However, like any place in the world, Kuwait has its own unique culture and employment set-up which every aspiring OFW should get to know first before leaving the country and accepting a contract.
There are certain things that aspiring OFWs need to carefully review or research about before flying out for work to another country. These include salary and cost of living as these will have an impact on your living conditions as an expat abroad. Here we will give some helpful guidelines and tips for aspiring OFWs who wish to work in Kuwait:
Helpful Tips and Guidelines When Considering Work in Kuwait:
Tip 1: Clarify your accommodation arrangement.
Check with your POEA-recognized agency if accommodation arrangements are provided by your employer. If your employer agreed to cover your housing, food, and transportation then consider yourself lucky because you can save a lot from all these living expenses and set aside more for your savings.
However, if that is not the case, then consider if the salary offer is enough to shoulder the basic expenses you’ll have to cover when living abroad. When you put these things into careful consideration, you will know if working abroad will be truly worth it and beneficial in the long run.
Tip 2: Load up your qualifications.
For the longest time, Kuwait has opened plenty of job opportunities for expats all over the world; however, Kuwaiti nationals are now quickly catching up in terms of educational attainment making the competition in the job market tighter than ever. With the government aiming to provide more decent work opportunities for Kuwaiti nationals, expats who are eyeing to work in the country need to beef up their resumes and bank on their solid qualifications and relevant job experience to enter the workforce and to land a promising job, particularly in the oil industry and the government among others.
Tip 3: Get a good grasp of the work culture in Kuwait
Being an Islamic State, Kuwait has a set of cultural and religious by-laws which is clearly engraved in the Kuwaiti way of life. Here are some of the things that expats need to take note of to understand the work culture in Kuwait:
- Language: The official language in Kuwait is Arabic. While majority of the government offices and establishments use Arabic in their day-to-day business, most private companies and organizations still use English language to communicate.
- Working Hours: Work hours in Kuwait typically start from 8:30 or 9 in the morning ‘till 5:30 or 6 in the evening. A typical work week varies between 40 to 48 hours, depending on the company’s standards. The exception is during the holy month of Ramadan when typical work hours are reduced to only six hours per day.
Muslim countries recognize Friday as their rest day. If a company has a five-day work week, the other rest day would either be a Thursday or a Saturday.
- Dressing Etiquette: Kuwait is a conservative Muslim country, so business or work attire is quite conservative where men wear basic business suits and women are expected to avoid wearing ill-fitting and revealing clothing. Grooming is very important for Kuwaitis, so it is highly desirable to maintain a neat and pleasant appearance at work.
- Meeting Etiquette: There are certain etiquettes when it comes to holding meetings in Kuwait. In general, if these protocols are observed accordingly, Kuwaitis can be very hospitable personally and professionally.
Firstly, greetings are allowed for same genders only due to religious sensitivities. Next, when scheduling meetings, it is best to have it in the morning in consideration of the working hours and prayer rites in the afternoon.
- Compensation: Working as an expat in Kuwait is good as advertised mainly because of the freedom from personal taxation which workers enjoy, making the worker’s individual compensation among the highest in the world.
Moreover, contractual employees are given indemnity after their contract expires, which can be a hefty amount especially if you’ve been working in the country for a long period of time.
Kuwait is known to be one of the best places for expats to expand their professional life and career given the many opportunities presented by a number of thriving professional fields in this progressive country. While it’s true that the government is strengthening efforts to build up the local workforce from within the country, skilled employees remain to be an invaluable resource in almost any part of the world. The important thing, therefore, is to have the right attitude and the willingness to adapt and to accustom oneself to existing customs and norms in the country you wish to work in so that everything will work smoothly.