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Doha vs. Dhahran - A tale of two offers

Doha vs. Dhahran - A tale of two offers

Old Jun 4th 2015, 8:03 am
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Default Re: Doha vs. Dhahran - A tale of two offers

Originally Posted by nonthaburi View Post
I wouldn't accept any pay cut to go to Doha or Dubai. There seems to be a feeling that KSA is some kind of hardship posting, but I don't really get that.
Clearly many (if not all) things are subjective; what works for one, doesn't work for the other. In this sense, it's still possible that someone may really prefer and enjoy (for a given salary) more KSA than Dubai or Doha. However, at the same time most people would find life in KSA not preferable than one in Dubai/Doha, and the question for recruiters would be to try to monetize this preference (or better lack thereof) - this is the logic I think at the core of Scamp's argument. Again, as this thread has clearly pointed out (and frankly as it's also very natural and something to be expected), opinions differ about the premium that a post should command in KSA vs. Dubai/Doha, but most would agree that a premium is anyway needed.

Having said that, I found the posts about life in KSA particularly useful as they demonstrate that under certain conditions life can indeed be tolerable there. Because for me one of the key drivers for the need of a premium is the fact that my company's environment (in KSA) as well as the country itself are 2 places that I cannot have access to prior to making a decision, whereas I've been before to Doha, and I've seen my future colleagues and even the company's premises. And as it's clear, when something is unknown one tends to discount (or often miscalculate either way) its true value.

Thank you again all, for your very helpful posts and input.
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Old Jun 4th 2015, 8:03 am
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Default Re: Doha vs. Dhahran - A tale of two offers

Originally Posted by nonthaburi View Post
My phone call with Scamp would probably be a short one! because TBH, I wouldn't accept any pay cut to go to Doha or Dubai. There seems to be a feeling that KSA is some kind of hardship posting, but I don't really get that. It's a bizarre country for sure, but living here, for me is actually pretty easy.

I would also have to consider the money side of things. The only reason(pretty much) that anyone comes to the ME is for the money. If I have a nice life already, why am I going to take a pay cut to go somewhere else.

KSA is cheap to live, if anything I would want a payrise to go somewhere else to cover all the extra stuff( Scamp is banging his head on the table by this point). Dubai especially is going to cost money. Anyway, I'm not that bothered by lifestyle stuff but I definitely won't go somewhere more expensive where they are paying me less!

Re: diplomatic folks, not really my scene. There was a do at the German embassy a few weeks back 50SAR a ticket and free beer all night. I can do that every night of the week, but a lot of it is a bit arty farty for me. Done a lot of gatherings at the Thai Embassy but that is because my wife is Thai and everyone knows each other.

Bars on compounds,house parties, pool parties, and BBQs are the best social options IMO.
You're one of the (smaller %) large in number people who really enjoy KSA. Why change something you're happy with?

Telling someone to consider a 'pay cut' no matter how relative, varied costs in new place etc etc is easily one of the hardest things to explain to some very clever people!

If someone did it to me though, I'd say no.
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Old Jun 4th 2015, 8:05 am
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Default Re: Doha vs. Dhahran - A tale of two offers

Originally Posted by omega7 View Post
@Jenmanc

Thanks for your post and for sharing your (very relevant) first-hand experience.

Was a move from KSA to Doha beyond your control? If no, then what was the main reason that made you on your own to move? If I may ask, how much less is the salary in Doha vs. KSA?

The premium that I'm currently facing is that of ~40%, so yes KSA will suit me much better in regards to saving, but I cant say that I'm trilled with the idea of a life in the Kingdom.

Some of the aspects of your experience in Doha, seem to be related to Doha's lack of affordability which is absolutely true - yet I must admit that in Dhahran prices are not cheap either, particularly in regards to good compound housing. Granted from Dhahran one has easy access to Bahrain, but then again I think it's not really the right criterion to decide to move to one place based on this place's proximity to another city/place. It's a negative sign, cause it shows that you have already (& to begin with) lost hope on making that place 'home'.

I think you and other people have pointed out the very solid argument that it's all about building a solid circle of friends. I guess your point for being able to more easily socialize with people in KSA is valid, given that the lack of many options 'forces' you in a way to spend time with the people in your immediate environment. Now, this is great if the people that happen to be in one's social vicinity are compatible with one's own personality, otherwise things become difficult (I guess).

Thanks again for sharing your input. I'm a bit more inclined to opt for Doha vs. KSA, but reading your insight was still very helpful.
You are welcome, to be honest I moved in a hasty decision, I was offered another job in the company and my boss wouldnt let me progress and move to it, I didnt want to do the job I was doing anymore and didnt like the fact people could treat you as a 'prisoner' for their own gain so I handed in my notice, went back to the UK and within a couple of months I was contacted about a job in Doha. The job market in the UK wasn't great so I decided to give it a try...all the time thinking positive! Didn't realise until I came here that employers here can keep you a 'prisoner' in terms of not releasing you to other opportunities or getting a '2 year ban' from the country if you leave!

As for the money I was very much looked after in KSA in fact i enquired with one of my friends still there on salary and actually wanted to cry now i've realised that i gave up a lot of money! Approx 1k a month (stupid I know) I worked my way up in my previous employment and got good performance related bonus pay for working hard, I've found out here that doesn't really apply

You guys that are posting on here seem to have good packages, my accommodation allowance is poor to be fair and anywhere decent in Doha is going to mean that I have to contribute out of my salary.
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Old Jun 4th 2015, 3:16 pm
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Default Re: Doha vs. Dhahran - A tale of two offers

all I can say is that the women/people I met here who have lived in Saudi before Doha prefer Saudi.
It generally seems that people who have never lived in Saudi say they would never go there.
I enjoyed life in Saudi before I met my husband.
Yes, there are major restrictions in Saudi, but what I got for it, a fabulous social life, great friends, major comfort,easy living, good school for my kids etc. made it worth it for me.
On the other hand, everybody is different.
And of course, if you are stuck in a flat on Olaya Street or such, you might as well not go.
There defo are do's and dont's when it comes to living in Saudi.
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Old Jun 4th 2015, 3:33 pm
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Default Re: Doha vs. Dhahran - A tale of two offers

@JENMANC

Well clearly with Doha being so expensive, a modest salary should definitely have an impact on the perceived quality of life. I guess, one needs networking and a bit of time to find the best way to navigate the difficulties.
I agree that housing is key, as it can really drag you down, if you stay in something not good.

@Alexa

I can't see how life in KSA can be in general better than life in Doha given that one can have in Doha all the things that he has in KSA and even more; obviously this point is much more valid if one compares KSA with Dubai. Maybe in KSA the difficulty of the place allows you to bond easier with other expats (something that you don't really have in Doha), but I guess if you opt to live in a compound, then you can get closer to other expats as well.

Again i'm focusing on the comparison between the two, assuming salary is the same.
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Old Jun 4th 2015, 3:40 pm
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Default Re: Doha vs. Dhahran - A tale of two offers

Originally Posted by omega7 View Post
@JENMANC

Well clearly with Doha being so expensive, a modest salary should definitely have an impact on the perceived quality of life. I guess, one needs networking and a bit of time to find the best way to navigate the difficulties.
I agree that housing is key, as it can really drag you down, if you stay in something not good.

@Alexa

I can't see how life in KSA can be in general better than life in Doha given that one can have in Doha all the things that he has in KSA and even more; obviously this point is much more valid if one compares KSA with Dubai. Maybe in KSA the difficulty of the place allows you to bond easier with other expats (something that you don't really have in Doha), but I guess if you opt to live in a compound, then you can get closer to other expats as well.

Again i'm focusing on the comparison between the two, assuming salary is the same.


hmm, I find there is a big difference in the general attitude of expats. As you said, the difficulty "outside" probably lets people bond. Despite having lived on several compounds in Doha, I have not experienced the same attitude towrds each other as in KSA.
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Old Jun 4th 2015, 3:44 pm
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Default Re: Doha vs. Dhahran - A tale of two offers

Originally Posted by Alexa View Post
hmm, I find there is a big difference in the general attitude of expats. As you said, the difficulty "outside" probably lets people bond. Despite having lived on several compounds in Doha, I have not experienced the same attitude towrds each other as in KSA.
It's something to keep in mind - surely the easier the place, the more superficial the bonding (again, generally speaking); Dubai being a case in point.
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Old Jun 7th 2015, 7:04 am
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Default Re: Doha vs. Dhahran - A tale of two offers

Originally Posted by omega7 View Post
It's something to keep in mind - surely the easier the place, the more superficial the bonding (again, generally speaking); Dubai being a case in point.
You'd better accept something sooner or later though. I'm of the opinion that if someone is attending interviews and talking seriously then they should have done their homework and know what they want and what's going to work - not to be surprised that they get an offer and are expected to move.
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Old Jun 7th 2015, 7:28 am
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Default Re: Doha vs. Dhahran - A tale of two offers

Originally Posted by Scamp View Post
You'd better accept something sooner or later though. I'm of the opinion that if someone is attending interviews and talking seriously then they should have done their homework and know what they want and what's going to work - not to be surprised that they get an offer and are expected to move.
When being faced with any option, it's natural to weigh the pros and cons before deciding, let alone when the options are more than one; that's what I'm doing now. There are a lot of issues to be factored in (the actual place and the money being two key ones, but not the only ones). I'm just now using the time available to assess what's best.
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Old Jun 7th 2015, 7:35 am
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Default Re: Doha vs. Dhahran - A tale of two offers

Originally Posted by omega7 View Post
When being faced with any option, it's natural to weigh the pros and cons before deciding, let alone when the options are more than one; that's what I'm doing now. There are a lot of issues to be factored in (the actual place and the money being two key ones, but not the only ones). I'm just now using the time available to assess what's best.
What is the time available? Have you received formal offers from both?
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Old Jun 7th 2015, 8:26 am
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Default Re: Doha vs. Dhahran - A tale of two offers

Yes, offers received, and I've responded with some suggestions, and now waiting for their feedback. I'm now weighing the different options based on their likely responses. I'm hoping to have things finalized within the next 2 weeks.
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