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-   -   Potential Job in Ruwais Area (https://britishexpats.com/forum/me-job-discussions-136/potential-job-ruwais-area-935263/)

HomerSimpson Oct 13th 2020 12:40 am

Potential Job in Ruwais Area
 
My username will probably give away what sector I am working in. I have some brief Middle East experience from a few months working there about a decade ago.

The job will be as an on plant manager/supervisor of a blue collar workforce (approximately 20-30 people, whom I expect will be Western as the role is specific to the sector and does not exist out side it). The role of the job would be to ensure operational compliance to the authorities regulations, as well as manage the work force.

Salary will be approximately 45k to 50k AED per month for a 40 hour week (Hourly rate has only been spoken of in GBP at this point) - Medical Insurance, Accommodation and 4x Flights home per year are provided. There are no other perks included.

My questions:
.
  • Is this package in a region of what would be deemed acceptable to a single man, mid 30's, and with 15 years of industry specific experience? It is between a 70% to 100% increase on the going UK rate based on 4.5 AED to £1 (although I understand the exchange rate is historically more like 5:1/5.5:1)
  • Is the Ruwais area as remote as it appears on the maps?
    • What is there to do there? Is the town nice? (My main hobby is golf, and I enjoy pubs as well)
    • Is there an ex-patriate scene in the town?
    • What would approximate costs be to entertain myself? (say to have 1 round of golf per week. 1 night in the pub per week and 1 meal out per week - typically what I do just now at home)
  • What is the cost of renting a suitable vehicle - I am assuming a basic car will not cut it?
  • Are the driving standards as poor as I have heard?
  • I'm a single straight man. I've heard this male dominated place, mainly supplying the oil refinery? Is this correct?
Any other advice and knowledge would be greatly appreciated.

Gavtek Oct 13th 2020 5:50 am

Re: Potential Job in Ruwais Area
 
Salary looks fine.

Ruwais is not so fine for a single westerner. I suspect you'll be doing your golf/pub/eating out/Tindering during your inevitable trip to Abu Dhabi every single weekend.

I wouldn't rely on your team of 20-30 to be westerners unless that has been specifically confirmed....

csdf Oct 13th 2020 5:53 am

Re: Potential Job in Ruwais Area
 

Originally Posted by HomerSimpson (Post 12921409)
  • Is this package in a region of what would be deemed acceptable to a single man, mid 30's, and with 15 years of industry specific experience? It is between a 70% to 100% increase on the going UK rate based on 4.5 AED to £1 (although I understand the exchange rate is historically more like 5:1/5.5:1)

I think that's a decent package. Not phenomenal, but pretty decent, particularly with accommodation included. Just be careful that accommodation doesn't turn out to be more labour campy than you expected, because then you'll be paying out of your own pocket for something more acceptable.

Originally Posted by HomerSimpson (Post 12921409)
  • Is the Ruwais area as remote as it appears on the maps?

Yes it is. That's why they stuck a Homer Simpson plant there. Pre-covid, many expats who lived in the area would drive up to Abu Dhabi for the weekend. I'm not sure if that's allowed at the moment because the western region have their own specific covid quarantine rules.

Originally Posted by HomerSimpson (Post 12921409)
  • What is there to do there? Is the town nice? (My main hobby is golf, and I enjoy pubs as well)
  • Is there an ex-patriate scene in the town?

I have not been (other than on the way past to Delma Island) but I think the options are very limited. Most expatriates will not be brits, so you will find a limited number of culturally-alike people to socialise with, if that's what you want.

Originally Posted by HomerSimpson (Post 12921409)
  • What would approximate costs be to entertain myself? (say to have 1 round of golf per week. 1 night in the pub per week and 1 meal out per week - typically what I do just now at home)
  • What is the cost of renting a suitable vehicle - I am assuming a basic car will not cut it?

A 4x4 is probably going to be 4000ish / month. Perhaps a little cheaper if you cut a good deal. Drinks in pubs are expensive (40+ per beer) meals out can cost whatever you want them to cost depending on where you eat (though again, the choices will be limited in Ruwais).

Originally Posted by HomerSimpson (Post 12921409)
  • Are the driving standards as poor as I have heard?

Yes, you have to assume that anybody could, with no warning, do the most stupid possible thing. There are two issues a) poor levels of training and b) high levels of not-giving-a-shit-about-other-people-screw-them-I'll-do-what-I-like

Originally Posted by HomerSimpson (Post 12921409)
  • I'm a single straight man. I've heard this male dominated place, mainly supplying the oil refinery? Is this correct?
Any other advice and knowledge would be greatly appreciated.

The country as a whole is male dominated. Ruwais even more so.

HomerSimpson Oct 13th 2020 12:58 pm

Re: Potential Job in Ruwais Area
 

Originally Posted by Gavtek (Post 12921474)
Salary looks fine.

Ruwais is not so fine for a single westerner. I suspect you'll be doing your golf/pub/eating out/Tindering during your inevitable trip to Abu Dhabi every single weekend.

I wouldn't rely on your team of 20-30 to be westerners unless that has been specifically confirmed....

I know the tendency in the Middle East is for blue collar workers to come from cheaper, less developed parts of the world. However this specific technical trade is unique to the industry and there isn't exactly a global surplus of qualified people - and those people will also be getting paid well, no matter where in the world.

So whilst I haven't had that confirmed, I cannot see where else could provide staffing for suitably qualified and experienced technicians other than developed nations.

Scamp Oct 14th 2020 10:27 am

Re: Potential Job in Ruwais Area
 

Originally Posted by HomerSimpson (Post 12921546)
I know the tendency in the Middle East is for blue collar workers to come from cheaper, less developed parts of the world. However this specific technical trade is unique to the industry and there isn't exactly a global surplus of qualified people - and those people will also be getting paid well, no matter where in the world.

So whilst I haven't had that confirmed, I cannot see where else could provide staffing for suitably qualified and experienced technicians other than developed nations.

You just made your first Middle East **** up....you assumed something based on logic and clear thinking.

Only make assumptions that are on the worst possible scenario. In this instance, assume you will be working in a locked room, underground and your co-workers are hungry bears.

If that assumption sounds a bit unpleasant then ask someone what the team is like, where they're from and what their backgrounds are. Working in a Homer Simpson plant to an outsider who's watched the Chernobyl series is really terrifying (and cool). I'm sure they'll want to reference your skills and check you out so the least you can do is check them out too and ask for information.


Millhouse Oct 15th 2020 10:20 am

Re: Potential Job in Ruwais Area
 

Originally Posted by HomerSimpson (Post 12921546)
I know the tendency in the Middle East is for blue collar workers to come from cheaper, less developed parts of the world. However this specific technical trade is unique to the industry and there isn't exactly a global surplus of qualified people - and those people will also be getting paid well, no matter where in the world.

So whilst I haven't had that confirmed, I cannot see where else could provide staffing for suitably qualified and experienced technicians other than developed nations.

I like your optimism.

it was built by the South Koreans. It’ll probably be run by the North Koreans or whoever they have been selling their tech to, ie Pakistanis.


psychopomp1 Oct 17th 2020 8:48 am

Re: Potential Job in Ruwais Area
 
OP, i would be asking the employer if you can do this job on a rotational basis, eg 4 weeks on /4 weeks off. Ruwais is an absolute shithole, going to AUH every weekend will make you even more depressed once you come back.

HomerSimpson Oct 19th 2020 9:00 pm

Re: Potential Job in Ruwais Area
 

Originally Posted by psychopomp1 (Post 12922844)
OP, i would be asking the employer if you can do this job on a rotational basis, eg 4 weeks on /4 weeks off. Ruwais is an absolute shithole, going to AUH every weekend will make you even more depressed once you come back.

If you had to go to Abu Dhabi/Dubai every weekend for sanity purposes (I've spoken to people already there and they say a couple of times a month minimum).

What makes Ruwais so bad?

fth Oct 21st 2020 11:42 am

Re: Potential Job in Ruwais Area
 

Originally Posted by HomerSimpson (Post 12921409)
My username will probably give away what sector I am working in. I have some brief Middle East experience from a few months working there about a decade ago.
The job will be as an on plant manager/supervisor of a blue collar workforce (approximately 20-30 people, whom I expect will be Western as the role is specific to the sector and does not exist out side it). The role of the job would be to ensure operational compliance to the authorities regulations, as well as manage the work force.

Think of the countries which have plants operating on the same fuel and low wages. India, Pakistan, Romania, Argentina, South Africa and former Soviet Union are likely candidates

Millhouse Oct 21st 2020 5:54 pm

Re: Potential Job in Ruwais Area
 

Originally Posted by HomerSimpson (Post 12923775)
What makes Ruwais so bad?

There are very few nice or tourist places in this world situated next to a Homer Simpson workstation.

GolfGardener Oct 25th 2020 5:21 pm

Re: Potential Job in Ruwais Area
 

Originally Posted by HomerSimpson (Post 12921409)
Is this package in a region of what would be deemed acceptable to a single man, mid 30's, and with 15 years of industry specific experience? It is between a 70% to 100% increase on the going UK rate based on 4.5 AED to £1 (although I understand the exchange rate is historically more like 5:1/5.5:1)

More than just acceptable, that sounds like a good salary. As a single guy with accommodation paid for you'll be in a position to save a great deal of money.


Originally Posted by HomerSimpson (Post 12921409)
Is the Ruwais area as remote as it appears on the maps?

Yes, very much so. There's a reason why potentially hazardous stuff is located around there. It's in the middle of nowhere.


Originally Posted by HomerSimpson (Post 12921409)
What is there to do there? Is the town nice? (My main hobby is golf, and I enjoy pubs as well)

It looks a decent enough town, but remember that it exists solely to provide housing for workers in the nearby industries.

There's very little to do there. There's a mall, and I think there's a cinema in the mall along with a few of the sort of restaurants that you find in malls. As a young, single guy I imagine the gym will be pretty much the only thing to do when you're not working or getting the hell out of there.

There is one pub and one golf course within easy reach of Ruwais, at the Jebel Dhanna resort about ten miles away. I went to the bar once and everybody else in there were Koreans on what looked like a work night out from reactor construction. They seemed to be having a good time, but I imagine the novelty would wear off after one or two visits.


Originally Posted by HomerSimpson (Post 12921409)
Is there an ex-patriate scene in the town?

Lots of expats live there, but I've no idea what sort of scene there is. I doubt whether it's geared to the needs of a single, mid 30s Brit.


Originally Posted by HomerSimpson (Post 12921409)
What would approximate costs be to entertain myself? (say to have 1 round of golf per week. 1 night in the pub per week and 1 meal out per week - typically what I do just now at home)

A round of golf in Abu Dhabi is Dh300-Dh600. Probably at the high end of that if you're paying weekend rates. A night in the pub might be Dh100-Dh250 on beer depending on your taste in pubs and the quantities of drink. Could escalate quickly from there if food and/or company is involved.


Originally Posted by HomerSimpson (Post 12921409)
What is the cost of renting a suitable vehicle - I am assuming a basic car will not cut it?

Say 2,000 per month for a basic Yaris or similar, which would be fine for tootling around Ruwais. For the 250km trip to the capital and back, battling it out on a fast road with others trying to maximise their weekend time away from Ruwais, you're probably going to want something more substantial like a 4WD that might cost 5,000 per month.


Originally Posted by HomerSimpson (Post 12921409)
Are the driving standards as poor as I have heard?

Yes, but you probably won't believe it until you witness it for yourself.


Originally Posted by HomerSimpson (Post 12921409)
I'm a single straight man. I've heard this male dominated place, mainly supplying the oil refinery? Is this correct?

Yes, very much so.


Originally Posted by HomerSimpson (Post 12921409)
Any other advice and knowledge would be greatly appreciated.

This sounds like a pretty good package, and as a fairly rare skillset you should be in a good negotiating position. The key is probably to negotiate something that gives you as much time away from Ruwais as possible to make life worth living rather than merely bearable. If you can work your 40 hours over four rather than five days and then have a three day weekend that would be good. You can use your time in Ruwais to work, eat and sleep and then enjoy your long weekends in Abu Dhabi. If you can get accommodation provided by your employer in both Ruwais and Abu Dhabi that would be even better.

Don't believe in any promises of bonuses or pay rises. Assume that what you can negotiate now is what you'll be getting for the rest of the time you're with that employer.

Be prepared for lots of infuriating office politics, even if you don't think this is a role that would normally come with that as part of the package.


HomerSimpson Nov 6th 2020 8:08 pm

Re: Potential Job in Ruwais Area
 
Thank you for the feedback.

Another question. They seemed to really care about me not having a degree to the point that I think it will be a blocker on getting the job - something I was a bit taken a back with - at my experience level, a degree is a footnote on a CV.

I'm 37 years old, have 20 years of experience in the industry. 11 years of experience working at a senior/principle engineer level and 5yrs of experience at departmental management level - and a list of qualifications and courses as long as my arm, just none of them are degrees (plenty would be considered as being post graduate level) - I left school and went straight into an apprenticeship at a Homer Simpson plant, and have worked at several Homer Simpson plants since, being put through specific industry training and courses - all far, far, far more relevant than having a masters degree in chemical engineering or something.

Am I reading too much into this, or is this worth worrying about?

nonthaburi Nov 6th 2020 10:52 pm

Re: Potential Job in Ruwais Area
 

Originally Posted by HomerSimpson (Post 12931908)
Thank you for the feedback.

Another question. They seemed to really care about me not having a degree to the point that I think it will be a blocker on getting the job - something I was a bit taken a back with - at my experience level, a degree is a footnote on a CV.

I'm 37 years old, have 20 years of experience in the industry. 11 years of experience working at a senior/principle engineer level and 5yrs of experience at departmental management level - and a list of qualifications and courses as long as my arm, just none of them are degrees (plenty would be considered as being post graduate level) - I left school and went straight into an apprenticeship at a Homer Simpson plant, and have worked at several Homer Simpson plants since, being put through specific industry training and courses - all far, far, far more relevant than having a masters degree in chemical engineering or something.

Am I reading too much into this, or is this worth worrying about?

No degree could make getting a visa more complicated. You know you're qualified and they know you're qualified but it's the rules. There may be exceptions in your field, or it could be that they're going to lowball you.

HomerSimpson Nov 7th 2020 12:01 am

Re: Potential Job in Ruwais Area
 

Originally Posted by nonthaburi (Post 12931952)
No degree could make getting a visa more complicated. You know you're qualified and they know you're qualified but it's the rules. There may be exceptions in your field, or it could be that they're going to lowball you.

Thank you for the input. It was just bizarre they called asking for my degree, and the conversation was very awkward when I said I didn't have one. I'm probably at the tail end of the era where this was commonplace.

I just found it a bit amusing as in the UK it really is a footnote at the bottom of a CV by the time you get to 10-15 years engineer experience. I've sat on interview panels for senior roles and a degree is never spoken about. Maybe for entry roles, but senior roles experience is king.

When I started in the industry they still did top quality apprenticeships, and the local Homer Simpson plant actively tried to attract good students from the local high schools that weren't wanting to go into law and medicine to go into the apprenticeship scheme (which had an entry requirement on a par with a half decent uni). Sure I got a helping hand as I knew somebody (everybody getting apprenticeships at that time did) but you needed to get decent marks at school regardless of who you knew. Uni was always my back up plan if I didn't land this job when I was 17.

HomerSimpson Nov 9th 2020 12:42 pm

Re: Potential Job in Ruwais Area
 

Originally Posted by nonthaburi (Post 12931952)
No degree could make getting a visa more complicated. You know you're qualified and they know you're qualified but it's the rules. There may be exceptions in your field, or it could be that they're going to lowball you.

You called that.

From an initial verbal offer of 45k, to now offering 36k based on qualification. Same terms apply with accomodation, health insurance, etc.

Not sure that offer (about 25% increase on my current UK pay) is worth it? 45k is about a 60% increase. Over a 3 year duration it's a (UK) years salary of a difference between the numbers.

How easy would it be to negotiate back to the original figure, and any advice on how best to go about it? Left the conversation at the thinking stage.


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