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Secondment to the UAE/Ruwais

Secondment to the UAE/Ruwais

Old Jan 5th 2020, 11:28 am
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Default Secondment to the UAE/Ruwais

My UK company has offered me the chance to be seconded to the UAE for a 18-24 months working for ADNOC Refining providing engineering consultancy on a project.

I have 14 years of experience in a specialist engineering field (minimal resource in the UAE and/or Asia - hence why bringing in a European consultant), and generally would expect to be working on an advisory level - our agent out in Ruwais says it is a grade 14-15 level job, although not sure exactly what that means and finding information is difficult - I'd assume that is ADNOC's internal pay structure?

I would remain employed via the UK, but be able to maintain tax free status - they would be paying me about 16.8k AED per month - although this will be subject to pension contribution and national insurance from the UK - So I estimate I'd clear 13-14k a month, which is better than I am on in the UK (make about £43k - but tax is punishing). The package includes a car, phone, insurances, flights and accommodation with amenities? However I will need to send maybe 5k of that back home to cover my overheads in the UK.

I am male, in my mid 30's, single, and my main hobbies are golf, gym, tinkering with cars/engines/workshops. I do also like a bit of a social life, and usually go to the pub at least once a week. Is it possible to get accommodation with a garage or space that I could still play about with engines,etc - a project like restoring a motorbike or older car would keep me entertained.

My concern is am I going to enjoy life in Ruwais, and is the offer my company made any good? Are there bars there? are there golf courses? Can you live without giving up too much of the Western life? Could I have a social life, play golf and save money with about 9k AED a month coming in?

My concern is that in order to have a life it will be regular trips to Dubai/Abu Dhabi and it makes it not worthwhile.

Thanks
J

Last edited by thebadger; Jan 5th 2020 at 11:33 am.
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Old Jan 5th 2020, 11:44 am
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Default Re: Secondment to the UAE/Ruwais

Originally Posted by thebadger View Post
My UK company has offered me the chance to be seconded to the UAE for a 18-24 months working for ADNOC Refining providing engineering consultancy on a project.

I have 14 years of experience in a specialist engineering field (minimal resource in the UAE and/or Asia - hence why bringing in a European consultant), and generally would expect to be working on an advisory level - our agent out in Ruwais says it is a grade 14-15 level job, although not sure exactly what that means and finding information is difficult - I'd assume that is ADNOC's internal pay structure?

I would remain employed via the UK, but be able to maintain tax free status - they would be paying me about 16.8k AED per month - although this will be subject to pension contribution and national insurance from the UK - So I estimate I'd clear 13-14k a month, which is better than I am on in the UK (make about £43k - but tax is punishing). The package includes a car, phone, insurances, flights and accommodation with amenities? However I will need to send maybe 5k of that back home to cover my overheads in the UK.

I am male, in my mid 30's, single, and my main hobbies are golf, gym, tinkering with cars/engines/workshops. I do also like a bit of a social life, and usually go to the pub at least once a week. Is it possible to get accommodation with a garage or space that I could still play about with engines,etc - a project like restoring a motorbike or older car would keep me entertained.

My concern is am I going to enjoy life in Ruwais, and is the offer my company made any good? Are there bars there? are there golf courses? Can you live without giving up too much of the Western life? Could I have a social life, play golf and save money with about 9k AED a month coming in?

My concern is that in order to have a life it will be regular trips to Dubai/Abu Dhabi and it makes it not worthwhile.

Thanks
J
It's a terrible offer for a westerner with 14 years experience, I would imagine it's out by a factor of 2-3. Don't get screwed, or lower the bar for the rest of us.

That said... 16k with all costs covered is perfectly do-able (but I wouldn't suggest you take it). Be warned though, there is NOTHING to do in Ruwais. It's about a two hour+ drive from Abu Dhabi and a total shit hole. Forgot golf, the only balls you will be playing with will be your own out there.
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Old Jan 5th 2020, 11:52 am
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Default Re: Secondment to the UAE/Ruwais

I should add that 14yrs experience is ground up experience - I've 2yrs white collar experience, since coming out of the blue collar world.

Not having a degree was a problem, as it took a while to convince the client what NVQ Level 5 was.

The carrot for this job is the chance to accelerate myself to senior engineer status.

However as I suspected the package they are offering (basically my UK salary) isn't anywhere near the going rate. I'm surprised Ruwais has no golf given the amount of ex pats that are surely there?

Last edited by thebadger; Jan 5th 2020 at 11:57 am.
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Old Jan 5th 2020, 4:13 pm
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Default Re: Secondment to the UAE/Ruwais

​​​​​​Have a look on Google Earth and you’ll see what’s there. Also, golf is very expensive here.

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Old Jan 5th 2020, 5:37 pm
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Default Re: Secondment to the UAE/Ruwais

No degree is not helpful for sure. But if you’re being selected for a special skill (what you implied at the start), then a special skill comes at a special price.

Don’t accept any usual BS of free housing / tax free etc. I appreciate that as a secondment this is a hard discussion to have. You really need to benchmark the role against the market.

As for expats in Ruwais, remember not all expats look and think like you.
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Old Jan 5th 2020, 5:58 pm
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Default Re: Secondment to the UAE/Ruwais

The more I am reading into this, the less appealing it seems. I think working a 4 day week - I am going to be bored and unable to afford to live much of a life.

The biggest problem I see is being paid from my UK office, and still technically being a UK employee. My company don't want to pay me more than a British level wage, nor have the understanding of how it is.

(btw I have expertise in the packaging, treatment and disposable of high hazard wastes, that's my field)

Having done some more research and asking a couple of people I got put in touch with, they are saying 35 to 50k a month is more like the going rate - and accommodation would also be provided. Would this be correct? It sounds too good to be true.

There is absolutely no chance my company will offer me anywhere near that.
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Old Jan 5th 2020, 6:14 pm
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Default Re: Secondment to the UAE/Ruwais

The package they are offering you would appeal to someone recruited from Asia. LKet the company get someone from Lahore, Bombay or Manila.
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Old Jan 5th 2020, 6:48 pm
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Default Re: Secondment to the UAE/Ruwais

Originally Posted by thebadger View Post
The more I am reading into this, the less appealing it seems. I think working a 4 day week - I am going to be bored and unable to afford to live much of a life.

The biggest problem I see is being paid from my UK office, and still technically being a UK employee. My company don't want to pay me more than a British level wage, nor have the understanding of how it is.

(btw I have expertise in the packaging, treatment and disposable of high hazard wastes, that's my field)

Having done some more research and asking a couple of people I got put in touch with, they are saying 35 to 50k a month is more like the going rate - and accommodation would also be provided. Would this be correct? It sounds too good to be true.

There is absolutely no chance my company will offer me anywhere near that.
35-50k fits with my initial out by a factor of 2-3x estimate.

They are screwing you, probably not intentionally but due to some moron in HR who has no idea.

would be good to know what they are charging the client.
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Old Jan 5th 2020, 8:03 pm
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Default Re: Secondment to the UAE/Ruwais

As above, that's a poor offer given your skill set and experience, IMO. You won't starve but with your background you can and should be looking for more. It's not like you're coming out here with just 2 years experience and a TEFL qualification to teach English, say, for which that package would be about right for a Westerner.

The only reason I might be tempted to go with it is to get six months or a year's Middle East experience on your CV, make a bit of a name for yourself, make some good contacts in the region then jump ship mid-secondment to something a lot better.

I don't know Ruwais but have worked along the coast in Mirfa, which does at least have a pub. Blokes I knew there would drive into Abu Dhabi for R&R when they had a couple of days off.
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Old Jan 6th 2020, 12:57 am
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Default Re: Secondment to the UAE/Ruwais

I am very familiar with Ruwais.

It is a purpose-built company town for the oil industry that started to be constructed in the 1970s.

Because of that, it is very popular with Arab Expatriates because it has all the modern conveniences, but Westerners don't like it very much. No Emiratis live there permanently.

The nuclear plant is also around there.

You will be offered a villa for accommodation, but it's not a villa like you are thinking, more like what Americans would consider a townhouse. They all look exactly the same from the outside (and, so, it is surprisingly easy to get lost in Ruwais) but can vary in number of bedrooms. That's also why the Arab Expats like it, the townhouses have a small courtyard etc and so are better than the workers' apartments in other towns in Al Dhafra or Abu Dhabi. You won't find anything with a big garage (you will be assigned accommodation anyways, there may be a little wriggle room but as in, here is your villa, if you don't like it, maybe we can let you have this other one or this other one). There will be car enthusiasts around but not Western but so what. There is no such thing as a private housing market in Ruwais that you can just go on your own and find something.

The singles scene is completely non-existent.

There is a small supermarket in the main town complex (brutalist 70s architecture) - you will find it inadequate and will probably want to do your grocery shopping at one of the big stores in Abu Dhabi City on Friday morning. The best restaurant in town was the unnamed cafeteria in the rec centre that did an above-average buffet.

There was a mall being constructed but was start-stop-start-stop for a number of years I would imagine it is finished now - but again, not a mall like you are thinking.

It is a bit further than 2 hours from Abu Dhabi, more like 2.5 to 3. The E-11 Is a fast road but passes about 30 kms north of Abu Dhabi City, you have to turn-off to get in and the traffic can be ferocious. It is not commuting distance.

Ghayathi is about an hour north of Ruwais - that is a Bedouin community, nothing of interest for Westerners. Sila is about 90 minutes to the west, on the Saudi border - a small mix of local tribes there, again nothing of interest for Westerners - Mirfa about an hour to the east, an OK hotel restaurant and an OK beach and an OK kebab restaurant up on the hill owned by a local but again not much there for you.

16.8k AED with deductions on top of that is low. I would not go live there for two years on 13-14k net unless you are really going to be saving a lot more than in the UK.

I do know Westerners who have been able to stay there a few years, but they were married, their spouses were there, they didn't particularly have burning ties back home and were at minimum somewhat near retirement age, so this was their last job and they didn't feel the pressure to get back in the job market "back home" or get professionally stranded. There were also a number of eccentric types there because they didn't fit in "back home," but that also usually means they wouldn't fit in Ruwais either and generally moved on (voluntarily or otherwise) before too long.

Singles with strong family/social/cultural ties to "back home" or who were upwardly ambitious professionally, didn't generally make it long there. I guess "make it long" is a bit ambiguous. They really struggled to make it to the two year mark and it was common for people to leave well before then.

Last edited by carcajou; Jan 6th 2020 at 1:05 am.
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Old Jan 6th 2020, 4:32 am
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Default Re: Secondment to the UAE/Ruwais

Thank you for your input - very insightful.

Ruwais does seem remote, but I was under the impression there would be a bit of a Western community there with oil and gas and Barakah nearby. From what you are saying, there isn't even a bar there?

Hotel accomodation/suite in Gayathi was spoken about - although I will be working in Ruwais - but I would rather have an apartment.

In order to go a night out, or play golf - it's a hotel stay in Abu Dhabi then. What sort of budget would it be staying in an acceptable Western style hotel, playing golf, and going out twice a month. About half what I do at current.

I do feel I may well be very bored in Ruwais. I am a bit of a social animal.
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Old Jan 6th 2020, 4:41 am
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Default Re: Secondment to the UAE/Ruwais

Originally Posted by Millhouse View Post


35-50k fits with my initial out by a factor of 2-3x estimate.

They are screwing you, probably not intentionally but due to some moron in HR who has no idea.

would be good to know what they are charging the client.


We are not a big multinational, rather a smaller company (<20 employees) that specialises in one or two niche solutions that have limited applications to very hazardous wastes. To my knowledge there are only a handful of companies that do what we do in the world.

We were approached by an agent after doing some work in the North Sea, and offered a chance to tender - I think we have bid somewhere in the region of 1.2m AED for on site support for 18mths, 150hrs of home office support (and that figure will include accomodation and car hire). That figure doesn't include materials.

Last edited by thebadger; Jan 6th 2020 at 4:46 am.
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Old Jan 6th 2020, 5:24 am
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Default Re: Secondment to the UAE/Ruwais

Originally Posted by thebadger View Post
Thank you for your input - very insightful.

Ruwais does seem remote, but I was under the impression there would be a bit of a Western community there with oil and gas and Barakah nearby. From what you are saying, there isn't even a bar there?

Hotel accomodation/suite in Gayathi was spoken about - although I will be working in Ruwais - but I would rather have an apartment.

In order to go a night out, or play golf - it's a hotel stay in Abu Dhabi then. What sort of budget would it be staying in an acceptable Western style hotel, playing golf, and going out twice a month. About half what I do at current.

I do feel I may well be very bored in Ruwais. I am a bit of a social animal.
Golf at Yas more than 500AED, cheapest hotel close to the course c300AED this coming weekend. Golf is usually cheaper in summer.
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Old Jan 6th 2020, 5:46 am
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Default Re: Secondment to the UAE/Ruwais

Originally Posted by Pongo View Post


Golf at Yas more than 500AED, cheapest hotel close to the course c300AED this coming weekend. Golf is usually cheaper in summer.
Realistically golf is costing 6-7x more than it would at home - albeit on very nice courses. However I can join a (lower end) golf club in the UK for what a weekend playing 1 round would realistically cost. I could join a decent course in the UK for £600.

Thanks everyone for their input, it's made my decision easier. I now think my company, only being small and lacking experience - have underbid this - by a long margin.
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Old Jan 6th 2020, 7:26 am
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Default Re: Secondment to the UAE/Ruwais

Originally Posted by thebadger View Post
underbid this - by a long margin.
They have. Someone would probably want almost all of their fee.
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