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Advice on Qatar job offer (Big Four accounting firm) - also compare to Kuwait offer

Advice on Qatar job offer (Big Four accounting firm) - also compare to Kuwait offer

Old Sep 21st 2011, 12:14 pm
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Default Advice on Qatar job offer (Big Four accounting firm) - also compare to Kuwait offer

Hi

I am currently working as an Assistant Manager at a Big 4 accounting firm in the Corporate Tax department in London. I qualified earlier this year as a Chartered Accountant and Chartered Tax Adviser.

My current total post tax salary is around the £29k mark. I am living with parents so don’t have any rent/mortgage to worry about!

I have an offer from another Big 4 firm in Doha, Qatar to join as an Assistant Manager in a permanent role. I need to respond to this offer in the next day or so.

The offer I have is presented below. All figures below are monthly figures in QAR.

14,500 Base salary (about £2,500 at current exchange rates)
500 Transport allowance
6,500 Accommodation allowance
Medical insurance included
Total 21,500

I have always wanted to try a few years in the Middle East but the salary on offer is not much higher than my current UK salary (which I should be able to push up anyway if I make a move to another inhouse role in the UK).

As a comparison, at my current firm I have the opportunity to do a 2 year secondment to Kuwait with possibly some time in Saudi Arabia. They haven’t finalised what the final offer would be but the salary will again be similar to my post tax UK salary (I think around £2,700 a month at current exchange rates).

Questions

1. What do people think of the above package? Is the salary too low or about par? I will obviously push for something higher! Also how reasonable are the other allowances? Remember I currently have no accommodation costs to worry about in the UK.

2. Is it better to take up the Qatar offer or the secondment to Kuwait? Bear in mind that in the mid to long term I expect to return back to London (unless I love it so much that I choose to stay!).

Please feel free to offer any other useful advice you may have!

Thanks alot.
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Old Sep 22nd 2011, 5:24 am
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Default Re: Advice on Qatar job offer (Big Four accounting firm) - also compare to Kuwait off

The salary is fairly low in my opinion. I'm based in Dubai, however I'm sure Doha is much the same...working in big 4 accounting firm, you are going to be working mainly with Indian/Pakistani accountants who will be very happy with that salary. You could get by, but certainly not a generous offer by any stretch of the imagination.

I would suggest stay in London and get a few years post-qualification experience in the UK. Maybe try and get temporary assigments overseas to gain some exposure to other countries' tax laws whilst remaining in the UK.

IMO, a qualified tax accountant with a good few years UK experience in that field could command a salary more than double your current offer (in the private sector - for multi-national company). With the ever tightening loop holes around the world, tax accountants are going be sought after commodoties for the foreseeable future.
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Old Sep 22nd 2011, 6:53 am
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Default Re: Advice on Qatar job offer (Big Four accounting firm) - also compare to Kuwait off

Originally Posted by GR81
Hi

I am currently working as an Assistant Manager at a Big 4 accounting firm in the Corporate Tax department in London. I qualified earlier this year as a Chartered Accountant and Chartered Tax Adviser.

My current total post tax salary is around the £29k mark. I am living with parents so don’t have any rent/mortgage to worry about!

I have an offer from another Big 4 firm in Doha, Qatar to join as an Assistant Manager in a permanent role. I need to respond to this offer in the next day or so.

The offer I have is presented below. All figures below are monthly figures in QAR.

14,500 Base salary (about £2,500 at current exchange rates)
500 Transport allowance
6,500 Accommodation allowance
Medical insurance included
Total 21,500

I have always wanted to try a few years in the Middle East but the salary on offer is not much higher than my current UK salary (which I should be able to push up anyway if I make a move to another inhouse role in the UK).

As a comparison, at my current firm I have the opportunity to do a 2 year secondment to Kuwait with possibly some time in Saudi Arabia. They haven’t finalised what the final offer would be but the salary will again be similar to my post tax UK salary (I think around £2,700 a month at current exchange rates).

Questions

1. What do people think of the above package? Is the salary too low or about par? I will obviously push for something higher! Also how reasonable are the other allowances? Remember I currently have no accommodation costs to worry about in the UK.

2. Is it better to take up the Qatar offer or the secondment to Kuwait? Bear in mind that in the mid to long term I expect to return back to London (unless I love it so much that I choose to stay!).

Please feel free to offer any other useful advice you may have!

Thanks alot.
If it was in Dubai i'd say take it as at least you could enjoy a bit of life as a young single guy and get some value on apartments and living costs.

Doha is a cesspit mate , only come here for money . 6500 QAR will just about get you a half decent apartment and the cost of living here is horrendous . There's limited things to do and what is on offer is very expensive . There's no point in being down the food chain in Qatar in my opinion.

A pint of Lager at the Sheraton is currently coming your way at 46 QAR . Yes you're even getting robbed getting pissed here.

You might be able to live like a hermit and just get the experience on board and save some money but it would be a very big ask.

I exit this place every 6 weeks just to keep my sanity and my will to live
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Old Sep 22nd 2011, 11:20 am
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Default Re: Advice on Qatar job offer (Big Four accounting firm) - also compare to Kuwait off

Just what sort of transport are you supposed to get for 500 QAR a month ?

My new Atlas Indian bicycle I bought last week with rod brakes etc (yes the full labourers bicycle not changed since the 1930's) cost 320 QAR

Are the buses cheap ?
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Old Sep 22nd 2011, 8:35 pm
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Default Re: Advice on Qatar job offer (Big Four accounting firm) - also compare to Kuwait off

In addition to the above I have a few other details on the package:

- There is an annual return flight to the UK
- Annual leave is 30 days which is more than the 25 days I get in the UK (though I assume there are fewer public holidays in Qatar?)
- The annual bonus is usually in the range of 1 or 2 months salary

The employer is not willing to negotiate any elements of the package.

At the moment I am leaning towards taking the alternative option of the 2 year secondment to Kuwait with my current firm as it gives me the security of returning to my current UK job should I not want to continue the Middle East experience. However, I can't be certain of this until my employer gives me full details on the package on offer.
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Old Sep 23rd 2011, 6:57 am
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Default Re: Advice on Qatar job offer (Big Four accounting firm) - also compare to Kuwait off

Originally Posted by GR81
- Annual leave is 30 days which is more than the 25 days I get in the UK (though I assume there are fewer public holidays in Qatar?)

Just make sure that they are referring to working days (i.e. Sunday to Thursday) and not counting weekends. Some do.
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Old Sep 23rd 2011, 7:15 am
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Default Re: Advice on Qatar job offer (Big Four accounting firm) - also compare to Kuwait off

The 30 days will be 30 calender days as per Qatari Labour Law . Get it specified.

If the employer doesn't want to negotiate any parts of the deal then that's bad news , everything is negotiable in this part of the world. If you get here and it's pony then you're cattle trucked .
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Old Sep 23rd 2011, 11:16 am
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Default Re: Advice on Qatar job offer (Big Four accounting firm) - also compare to Kuwait off

Originally Posted by GR81
The employer is not willing to negotiate any elements of the package.
Then do not accept it. The Big4 are awful to work for in this part of the world.
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Old Sep 23rd 2011, 1:48 pm
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Default Re: Advice on Qatar job offer (Big Four accounting firm) - also compare to Kuwait off

Are you Muslim?

Kuwait is a shitty place and the only reason to work there is to get paid serious money. If you're not being paid a decent package, Kuwait is not worth it.

No one in London is going to look favourably on a mid-east work experience. It won't hurt you but it won't help you either.
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Old Sep 23rd 2011, 3:49 pm
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Default Re: Advice on Qatar job offer (Big Four accounting firm) - also compare to Kuwait off

Originally Posted by Ethos83
Are you Muslim?

Kuwait is a shitty place and the only reason to work there is to get paid serious money. If you're not being paid a decent package, Kuwait is not worth it.

No one in London is going to look favourably on a mid-east work experience. It won't hurt you but it won't help you either.
In his field it will hurt him.
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Old Oct 9th 2011, 1:08 pm
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Default Re: Advice on Qatar job offer (Big Four accounting firm) - also compare to Kuwait off

Originally Posted by Ethos83
Are you Muslim?

Kuwait is a shitty place and the only reason to work there is to get paid serious money. If you're not being paid a decent package, Kuwait is not worth it.

No one in London is going to look favourably on a mid-east work experience. It won't hurt you but it won't help you either.
I agree I would take Qatar anytime vs Kuwait, no matter what cash premium Kuwait might offer
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Old Oct 9th 2011, 1:48 pm
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Default Re: Advice on Qatar job offer (Big Four accounting firm) - also compare to Kuwait off

Originally Posted by jdgummi7
I agree I would take Qatar anytime vs Kuwait, no matter what cash premium Kuwait might offer
What , even 4 times the salary ?
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Old Oct 10th 2011, 10:41 pm
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Default Re: Advice on Qatar job offer (Big Four accounting firm) - also compare to Kuwait off

Thanks for all the responses everyone.

I've declined all offers and have decided to stay put in the UK. Ultimately it's not worth the hassle to go to the Middle East if I'm not getting a significant uplift in pay.

Maybe one day but now appears not to be the right time.
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