How to find an Engineering Job
Are you a Mechanical Engineer, Electrical Engineer, Architect, Quantity Surveyor, Civil Engineer, Interior Designer, Environmental Engineer, Oil and Gas Engineer or Project Manager?? If the answer is yes and you are looking for a job in Qatar, then this post is for you! I wish I had this guide when I first start looking for a job.
I would like to inform you, that it’s a quite long post as it is a detailed one. You can skip it and move to the end where more than 100 Engineering companies are listed. My advice: Read it through, if you are really interested in finding a job.
Let me tell you little things about my self and my profession. I am from Greece and I had worked in Qatar as a CAD Designer, Site Mechanical Engineer and Assistant Project Manager for 9 years in 3 companies (1 local, 1 British and 1 Australian). I chose to leave the country 1.5 year ago.
The first thing that I want to say is that if you really want to find a job in Qatar, there are a lot of opportunities out there.
Doha will host the World cup 2022 and the construction factor is booming. Some of the big projects are the Metro line, Lusail city and various stadiums which are all under construction. If you are really determine, for sure you will find one, BUT it’s up to your way of working, knowledge and your commitment if you will pass the probation period and you sign a contract. On the other hand, even if you sign a contract, there are other facts also that you may lose your job, such as recession (oh yes it exists in Qatar also), lack of projects or other unwanted incidents.
I am assuming that you are already took the decision to work in Qatar, you are aware that is a Muslim country and you are in process of searching for a opportunity. (I will publishing another post about life in Qatar soon). Ok ready?
- Very important: Bachelor degree is the minimum requirement to work as an Engineer. Below that, it goes to the category of worker, electrician, plumber etc, in which you will have a lot of competition with Asian countries which considered as a lower payment. They will prefer a worker from those countries than from Europe, America, Australia or New Zealand.
- Since 2013, all the Engineers are required to pass the UPDA exam and register as an Engineer in Qatar. It’s quite a long procedure. You can find more here: Qatar-UPDA-Registration-Procedure and here: mmup-engineer-registration-upd (Your company will inform you accordingly)
- All the Expats are obliged to have a working visa / sponsorship in order to be employed in Qatar.
- There are three scenarios – 1.You search for a job while you are already in the country and in some companies you are hired as local (you lose all the benefits!) 2. You search for a job while you also in the country, and when you agreed to the job, you return back to your country and you are hired as en expat (you have all the benefits) 3. You search a job while you are abroad and you are hired as an expat (with all the benefits again).
- Regarding the benefits mentioned on the point above. If you are hired as an expat, your company is obliged to pay you the ticket to Qatar, accommodation for the first months ( 2-3 or more or less depends the company) and in some cases, luggage allowance. In case, you are released or you decide to resign, the company will pay you the ticket back to your country and in some cases baggage allowance. In addition, there are other benefits, mobile, accommodation, car, children school fees etc, depending on your company and your nationality.
- New Qatar Labor Law: The entry, exit and residency of expatriates – Please refer to this guide and read it carefully. new-qatar-labor-law-the-entry-exit-and/23478
- Salaries. It’s a collection of a lot of facts, such a Nationality, years of experience, degrees, family, profession and much more. For more you can have a look here but all depends mainly to your company and your nationality : salaries-doha-qatar
- Working hours are according to your contract and the client’s requirements. Officially, In the main offices normally are from 8-5, 5 days a week but on Construction sites it depends, normally 6 days a week for 8-10 hours per day or more. In some projects you can work for 5 days a weeks. You basically follow the project’s progress and requirements, for example during Testing and Commissioning or Concreting you have to be present even after working hours or during night times. Moreover, during the holy month of Ramadan the hours are reduced to 6 hours per day in all of the companies. (As per Qatari law).
- There are a few recruitment agencies (You can find the list below) which act as the middle chain between the companies and the employees. Be careful! IF ANY AGENCY ASKS YOU MONEY FOR YOUR CONTRACT APPLICATION OR ANY OTHER REASONS, 100% ITS A SCAM.
- The contract type depends whether you are single or married and planning to bring your family along. Some companions provides visa / sponsorship for your family members too. Family is not considered girlfriend, boyfriend, spouse etc. ONLY married, window or separated. Do not forget that you are in a Muslim country.
- The majority of the companies have a probation period of 3 – 6 months. At the end of the probation if your performance is satisfactory, then here you are! Your contract will arrive for your signature. During probation, your manager has the right to release you even within 1-2 days notice and the same applies to you too.
- During the probation, you have a temporary visa and you are obliged to pass through fingerprints procedure and a health check up (blood test for HIV, Hepatitis B&C, and X Ray screening for Tuberculosis).
- Let’s assume that you already succeed in the interview…Do not hurry up. You have to be patient for your visa to be approved by the main sponsor. Each foreign company which is based in Qatar, it is sponsored by a Qatari sponsor. Please note that the main sponsor, has specific number of visas for each profession and gender and he is the one who gives the approval. In my case, I had to wait 4 months (oh yes!) in order my visa to be approved. If the sponsor says no, even if you had succeeded in the interview, I am afraid you will never get the job.
- You don’t need to speak Arabic in order to be hired. English is widely spoken in all the companies.
- The job interview is on line or by your physical presence. Personally, I was not interacted with online interviews.
- In big companies the interview is held by more that 1 person. In my latest job, I had an interview with four people, HR Manager, Project Manager, Mechanical Engineer and Resident Engineer.
- In addition to the above, if you are hired as a site Engineer, every time your company sends you to a new project you have to be firstly approved by the project client. They check your CV and in some cases you are getting called in for an interview.
- You can easily lose your job in case your performance is not found satisfactory. Working in Qatar and especially on sites, most of the times, its hard work. The key is to love your work, respect the different culture, respect their religion and be open minded.
- Health and Safety is a number one priority on sites. You can lose your job if you are not complying with the site’s health and safety rules and procedures.
- Women in Construction. Ladies, I will be writing a different article for us including tips, things to avoid, how I managed to “survive” and lots more, pretty soon.
- Keep tuned!
So, how do you actually find a job:
Scenario 1: You are not physically in the country.
My best advice is pretty simple. Visit the country and start looking for a job. If you have a friend to stay with, then you are lucky! Otherwise, invest some money in hotels and start the hunting by printing your CV, communicating with the companies and asking them for an interview. Yes sometimes, this can work in Qatar! For Europeans, you can get a Tourist visa on arrival for 1 month and an extension of 1-2 months. I think the same applies for the rest of Nationalities, I am not sure, so better check it out.
Scenario 2: You are not in the country, budget is tight and you can’t afford a visit.
1. Connect with the companies you want to work with and start emailing them directly. Even if they do not have any opportunities on their websites. In addition, start applying to all the positions that you can find. Do not think it’s impossible to find a job in Qatar, just by only applying on line. It’s way more difficult but it’s possible. It happened to me.
2. If you have connections, ask them whether they know anything about a job. Every single one! Even if there isn’t any, ask them to pass your CV to the HR for future opportunities. I have a case of mine, in which a previous colleague from my second company, moved to Dubai where afterwards he lost his job. Two years later, he contacted me for any opportunities in my company. Despite the fact, that we did not have any that time, I wrote an email to HR providing his CV. After 1 month, he got hired. You see? Yes it can happen.
Scenario 3: You are already in the country because of your husband / wife / family.
You have plenty of time to find and chose a job. Apply online, call the companies, visit the companies, talk to friends even strangers can help! I got my latest job from my Engineer Landlord. So, do not give up!
Scenario 4: The job finds YOU!
Yes this can happen as well. In this case the choice is yours, either you accept the offer or not.
Note for women: It’s not considered dangerous, difficult and weird to search alone for a job while you are already in Qatar. My best girlfriend contacted 70 companies and visited them ALL. (I’ve done it too). In two months she found a job.
As Qatar is booming there are a lot of opportunities in Construction, the point is whether you want to take it or not. For me, it’s not only about the money but about the experience also.(my payment during my first site work was very very limited but I accepted it, because I wanted to gain experience on construction sites.) You will be working with so many big projects, interacting with many nationalities and you will gain valuable experience that you never imagined.
Read the full article at Maninio