Working in Kuwait



As one of the best performing open and free economies in the world, Kuwait promises much for expatriate careers. The pasture is greener still with predictions that expats will be driving much of the Kuwaiti economy for the next forty years.

As a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Kuwait undoubtedly enjoys a wealth of resources, from natural to technical. With an unemployment rate of 4.7% combined with zero personal income tax, it's no wonder why this oil-rich nation is a strong magnet for expats. Expatriates who wish to work in Kuwait are not required to learn the Arabic language since there is an abundance of multinational companies. However, the local government is encouraging the Kuwaitis to aim for higher positions which can make the competition for expats a bit stiffer. These days, exceptional skills in a particular field are of utmost help to land a promising job.

Top Job Providers in Kuwait

Kuwait has massive oil deposits, and periodically opens job opportunities for expats in the oil industry. Other major enterprises in the country include construction, petroleum, food processing, cement, textiles, petrochemicals, salt and desalination. Although men have always dominated the Kuwaiti job market, women are beginning to be recognized as skilled hard workers, most of them in the fields of medicine, law, advertising, education and hospitality. In fact, a considerable percentage of Kuwaiti expats is now composed of women, mostly nurses and English teachers. There is also a growing demand managerial position and for jobs in the fields of:

  • Real Estate
  • Finance
  • Business Services
  • Information Technology

Average Salary and Working Hours

It is not uncommon for expats in the varied industries to report a high level of financial satisfaction from working in Kuwait. This is because there is no personal taxation system in the country. Hence, net income is usually higher and makes for one of the region's most powerful attractions. Currently, the average monthly salary in Kuwait is KWD 1,177 or USD 3,860, but this figure can still vary depending on the expatriate’s job category and qualifications.

Moreover, indemnity is usually offered upon expiration of the employment contract and is based on basic salary. Indemnity is usually computed by multiplying 15-20 days worth of basic pay by three (for the first three years of employment) plus a month's worth of salary multiplied by the total number of years served at the same company.

A typical work week in Kuwait is from 40 to 48 hours, and differences will depend on individual company policies. Offices usually open at 8:30 am and close at 5:30 pm. Friday is the typical rest day in Kuwait. The same schedule holds regardless of the season but during Ramadan, working time is reduced.

Kuwait’s Work Culture

Kuwait’s work culture is formal and is deeply influenced by Islamic principles considering that 85% of its total population are Muslims. Most international companies based in this country respect the practices of their Muslim employees and expats should know that among the religious obligations of the locals are to pray five times a day: at dawn, noon, afternoon, sunset and in the evening. Friday is a Muslim holy day whereas all companies and establishments are closed.

Kuwaitis are warm and hospitable by nature. They appreciate being greeted with enthusiasm, and they tend to take time during the greeting process to ask about the other person’s health and other general matters. Expats in this country are best to stick to the most common way of greeting which is the shaking of hands. It is also important to understand that the Kuwaitis only do business with the people they trust and for them, impatience is a sign of criticism of their culture. The locals also respect one’s education so make sure to mention if you have a degree most especially if it’s a world-renowned or prestigious university.

See more

Continue reading:

Work Guide

Expat Services in Kuwait

Don't miss our Expat Services in Kuwait