“Should I stay or should I go?” – it’s a question that everyone faces at different points in their professional lives. Contributor Eddie Finnigan is Founder and Managing Director – Two Rivers.
Is the best course of action to stay where you currently work, which may have some drawbacks but certainly enjoys the comfort of familiarity? Or is it time to move on in search of higher pay, enhanced prospects or a better work-life balance?
This conundrum becomes more problematic when switching jobs also involves moving abroad. The thought of settling into a different culture is daunting for some, and there are personal questions to consider in terms of family relationships, friendships and so forth.
Added to that are the practicalities of finding a place to live, setting up new bank accounts, securing transportation and all the other tasks that come with moving home.
We know there are great career benefits to be reaped from working abroad. I personally unlocked many professional opportunities during my time in Saudi Arabia, where our company is currently active in placing candidates.
Young people – particularly those who don’t yet have families – are often drawn to working in Saudi Arabia by the financial and career prospects.
Professional salaries in the Kingdom tend to be higher than those on offer in the UK, and are tax exempt. This makes it far easier to save up cash, perhaps to get on the property ladder and buy that first home upon returning to the UK.
Quicker career progression is another allure, and the prospects for advancement don’t end when your time in Saudi Arabia comes to a close. A successful stint abroad is an impressive selling point on any CV – employers see it as confirmation of a candidate’s confidence and adaptability.
At the other end of the spectrum, those in the latter stages of their careers have found that a spell of employment in Saudi Arabia is a great way to top up their pensions while working in a warm, sunny climate.
There are about 30,000 British nationals currently living and working in Saudi Arabia who, in addition to pursuing their professional ambitions, also enjoy the way of life on offer in the Kingdom. The Saudis are very hospitable and family-focused, so while there are cultural differences, there is a lot of common ground in the underlying fundamentals.
So for many people, yes, it is a positive career move – but can there be too much of a good thing? The tipping point depends to a great extent on the industry you’re working in, and what role you fill within it.
If you stay for 20 years, you might find it difficult to come out of Saudi Arabia. But the same is true working for any company, in any industry, in any country – if you stay too long, it becomes harder to adapt.
That aside, there is little about working in the Kingdom that will detract from your career. With foreign professionals remaining in high demand, the opportunities for taking your talents abroad have never been more favourable.