Like any other country, working in Saudi Arabia has its share of advantages and disadvantages. While we often hear stories of employer abuse, escaping domestic workers, and scorching temperatures that don’t seem appealing to workers, let’s look deeper beyond these and understand better what Saudi Arabia has to offer.
Advantages of working in Saudi Arabia
Living and working in Saudi Arabia offers a unique cultural experience, exposing individuals to the country’s rich history and traditions.
Sense of Accomplishment
Applying for and working abroad is not an easy task – as some people may have already known. If one surpassed the application process, complying with the requirements and everything that goes with it is already an achievement that boosts your self-esteem and leads people to believe that you are somehow living the life.
High salaries and benefits
Many expatriate workers in Saudi Arabia enjoy high salaries, along with benefits such as free housing, medical insurance, and paid time off.
Saudi Arabia’s wage protocols are quite famous to Foreign workers especially to Filipinos because the salary is tax-free and there are a lot of other benefits as well, for instance; holidays are paid, employees get housing and transportation allowance, and sometimes, other companies even pay for your plane ticket home or wherever you desire to go once a year. Take note that is a round-trip airfare.
The country has made significant investments in modern infrastructure, providing a high standard of living for residents and a favorable environment for business and investment.
Since Saudi Arabia offers different kinds of work, the skills that will be acquired from working in this country are already a huge edge to the resume.
Career advancement opportunities
Companies in Saudi Arabia are expanding rapidly, providing numerous opportunities for career advancement and growth.
Saudi Arabia is strategically located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa, making it a convenient hub for travel and business.
Disadvantages of working in Saudi Arabia
Strict laws and customs
Saudi Arabia has strict laws and customs, which may be difficult for some expatriates to adjust to, particularly for women and LGBTQ+ individuals.
Limited social freedoms
Social freedoms are limited in Saudi Arabia, with restrictions on alcohol, dancing, and public displays of affection, among others.
Separation from family
For expatriates, living and working in Saudi Arabia often means being separated from family and friends, which can be difficult.
Adjusting to the cultural differences and norms in Saudi Arabia can be challenging for some expatriates.
Heat and humidity
The climate in Saudi Arabia can be harsh, with high temperatures and humidity levels that can be challenging for some people to adjust to.
High air pollution
Certain cities in Saudi Arabia, such as Riyadh and Jeddah, suffer from high levels of air pollution, which can impact the health and well-being of residents.
The negative impact of culture shock
Culture shock is a common experience for newcomers in Saudi Arabia, as it can be challenging to adjust to a new cultural environment and way of life. Some aspects of culture shock for newcomers in Saudi Arabia can include:
- Different norms and values: The cultural norms and values in Saudi Arabia may be very different from what newcomers are used to, leading to feelings of confusion and disorientation.
- Social restrictions: The strict social restrictions in Saudi Arabia, such as the dress code for women, restrictions on alcohol, and public displays of affection, can be difficult for some newcomers to adjust to.
- Isolation and loneliness: Being separated from friends and family can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness for newcomers in Saudi Arabia.
- Climate and environment: The extreme heat and humidity in certain parts of Saudi Arabia, as well as the lack of green spaces, can be challenging for some newcomers to adjust to.
- Language barriers: For those who do not speak Arabic, language barriers can be a source of frustration and hinder their ability to communicate with locals.
- Lack of familiarity: The unfamiliarity of the country, its customs, and its way of life can lead to feelings of discomfort and disorientation for newcomers.
Discrimination and abuse
Discrimination and abuse are issues that can affect certain populations in Saudi Arabia, including migrant workers and women. Some of the forms of discrimination and abuse that may occur in Saudi Arabia include:
- Migrant worker abuse: Migrant workers in Saudi Arabia are particularly vulnerable to abuse, including long working hours, poor living conditions, and limited access to medical care.
- Discrimination against women: Women in Saudi Arabia face significant restrictions on their rights and freedoms, including restrictions on driving, working, and traveling without the permission of a male guardian.
- Racial discrimination: Racial discrimination may occur against expatriates from certain countries, particularly those from African or South Asian countries.
- Religious discrimination: Religious discrimination may occur against non-Muslim expatriates or minority religious groups, such as Shia Muslims.
- Discrimination based on sexual orientation: Homosexuality is illegal in Saudi Arabia and discrimination against individuals based on their sexual orientation is a significant issue.
It’s important to note that while discrimination and abuse do occur in Saudi Arabia, the situation is complex, and the country has taken steps to address some of these issues in recent years. However, significant challenges remain, and many individuals continue to face discrimination and abuse in the country.