Bahrain is regarded as an attractive place for expats to work, and it's also an extremely easy country to settle in. Expats working in Bahrain will be rewarded with high salaries and no personal taxes; an easy incentive for putting in the hours the daily grind demands.
To legally work in Bahrain, expats need a sponsoring employer who can apply for a work visa on their behalf. Companies in Bahrain can only sponsor a limited number of visas according to their quota for foreign employees, which is relative to the size of the company.
Job market in Bahrain
Oil was discovered in Bahrain in the 1930s, and while the oil industry is largely responsible for the country's initial rapid modernisation, the Bahraini government has taken large leaps towards diversifying the economy. The archipelago is still a major petroleum producer, but Bahrain is also a banking and financial capital in the region.
As a result of Bahrain's economic growth, many multinational companies have established their regional headquarters in Manama, its capital and commercial centre.
Besides oil and banking, other major employers in Bahrain include tourism and construction.
Finding a job in Bahrain
While it is possible to arrive in Bahrain on a tourist visa and attempt to find work, it's difficult to find a job in the limited amount of time allotted. The opportunities available to an expat depend on their network and connections.
Most expats working in Bahrain are hired from abroad by recruitment agencies, head-hunted by individual firms, or transferred from another branch of a multinational corporation. Online job portals and recruitment agencies are a good place to start for expats who don't have the option of an inter-company transfer.
Work culture in Bahrain
Bahrain is credited with having the most liberal economy in the Middle East. Expat women will be glad to know that women account for half of the workforce in Bahrain. That said, both businessmen and women should dress conservatively for the business environment.
Expats should have no difficulty in communicating with their Bahraini colleagues as English is widely spoken in the workplace, but the way in which work is conducted can differ from practices in the West. Small talk is common and expats will benefit from getting to know their colleagues on a personal as well as professional level.
Punctuality is highly valued in Bahraini society so expats should make sure they arrive on time for appointments. Arriving late or being unprepared can easily ruin a reputation.