Jeddah

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Old Dec 25th 2017, 9:31 pm
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Default Jeddah

Hello,

Anyone working in Islamic Development Bank in Jeddah.

Would you share what is it like working for them?

I am currently working in corporate banking in London in mid-management position.

Also would be interested in life in Jeddah:
- accommodation: types, costs. Here I have 4 bed semi with relatively large garden. What would be similar substitute in Jeddah.
- schooling: what are the preferred British schools, is it difficult to get places? I read some reviews on several British schools, and they were very mixed.
- cost of living in general.
- general environment: I looked up few pictures of Jeddah. It seems very polluted (litter everywhere etc).

Sorry, just to know everything.

Thanks everyone in advance.
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Old Dec 26th 2017, 4:20 am
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Jeddah is not a Mediterranean European city and please don't be fooled into thinking it is because you read a few articles on-line about scuba diving and parties at hotels. It is a business centre in one of the most closed, socially conservative countries in the world. You will have numerous social and lifestyle restrictions there that you do not in the UK. Don't get lulled into a false sense of complacency because it's a bit more laid-back than Riyadh. "A bit more laid back" does not mean "laid back." Islamic law still rules with an iron fist in all of KSA and that includes Jeddah.

Generally I advise people looking to relocate to the UAE that they should be receiving an offer of 30-50% more than what they make in the UK to make it worthwhile. For KSA that would be closer to the 50% range.

Are you married? I assume your wife is comfortable with the restrictions on women in KSA?

With a large house and children in the UK - it would take a huge offer to get me to leave and go to Saudi Arabia, that I knew could not be matched. So, what is your offer? I would consider it if it's within the guidelines I mentioned earlier. If they are giving you something like 10% more, and then emphasizing "tax-free salary" mumbo jumbo as part of the recruiting pitch to try and make it seem like you're going to be breaking the bank, understand that for the desert mirage it is and pass.

You also need to factor in the general instability of working in the Gulf. They can and do get rid of people for whatever reason ("just cause" is a Western employment concept). They may hire you and then two months later decide they don't like you for whatever reason and you're just out, now with no job to go back to in the UK either. That's part of why they need to pay you a premium to go there.

Last edited by carcajou; Dec 26th 2017 at 4:23 am.
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Old Dec 26th 2017, 8:12 am
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Default Re: Jeddah

Thank you very much. Very useful.
My current UK salary is ~£140,000/pa. so i would expect them to match + 50% on gross basis. Right?
On top: full school fees for up to 4 kids, housing (cap ~SAR150-200k). Another good thing - they may consider parents as dependents and cover(partially) medical costs (if any).
Would that be worth considering?
I have mixed feelings about the potential offer, as it may be good money, but business over here starts picking up again and experience is excellent.
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Old Dec 26th 2017, 8:51 am
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Based on what you have written, they would need to offer me something in the 180,000 GBP range to get me to consider it.

You also need to consider your circumstance in the UK. Are you on an upward career trajectory there? If so - your experience in the KSA will not help you and will likely impede you, unless you have some kind of niche specialty in Islamic Finance and even then it might not help you.

Sadly, the gravy train days are done. The best time to accept Middle Eastern employment now are when you are in your 20s and single, you've hit a dead end in your career path where you are, or you are looking to top up the retirement account a little.
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Old Dec 26th 2017, 8:59 am
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What experience do you have in travelling and working outside Britain ? Saudi Arabia can be a challenge to those with an insular world view. i spent many years in Jeddah with my Bulgarian wife and out two daughters.

We did not leave Europe with a salary of £12,000 a month ! My wife found adjustment to life in a gender-segregated society difficult. She adjusted better when she found a job (teaching in the Italian School). My eldest daughter liked it. She was a pupil in the American School and never forgave me for leaving Jeddah.

In Education - and I am sure in Finance - spending time in KSA does NOT enhance your CV. Getting back on the career ladder after a spell there can be problematic.
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Old Dec 26th 2017, 10:28 am
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Default Re: Jeddah

Guys, thanks a lot. These are very useful advices and insights.
I am actually on the upwards trajectory in my career. If considering the opportunity I will indeed bear this mind. But you are spot on there: what is appealing is Islamic finance, and the organisation is fronting itself as champions on promoting it. Also they may operate in more exotic jurisdictions, where others may hesitate to go.

Re my experience oitside the UK: I am originally from CIS (Central Asian states), and worked there before coming to the UK 15 years ago. But again, we are human beings and get used to comfort!!! Hence trying to get as much insight as possible so not to regret of accepting or not accepting the opportunity.

Would you also share your experience/insight on schooling. We are interested in schools with the UK cirriculum. How are they compared to average “outstanding” UK state school in mid class area? Any perspective graduates going to the top UK universities?

Thanks.
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Old Dec 26th 2017, 12:41 pm
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Default Re: Jeddah

Originally Posted by carcajou View Post
Jeddah is not a Mediterranean European city not on the Med for starters.
and please don't be fooled into thinking it is because you read a few articles on-line about scuba diving and parties at hotels. parties would be on compounds or in the desert.
It is a business centre in one of the most closed, socially conservative countries in the world. You will have numerous social and lifestyle restrictions there that you do not in the UK. Don't get lulled into a false sense of complacency because it's a bit more laid-back than Riyadh. "A bit more laid back" does not mean "laid back." Islamic law still rules with an iron fist in all of KSA and that includes Jeddah.
Not too much difference really between Jeddah and Riyadh these days, more coloured abayas out in Jeddah maybe. But Saudi women working everywhere, a lot of hair and faces on show. Shops close at prayertime, don't be pumping the drum 'n' bass in the car on the way to work. If you can't handle lack of bars don't come. One big difference about Jeddah compared to elsewhere in Saudi is that women don't get stared at, leched at for showing face like in other areas in Saudi. The people are more relaxed.

Generally I advise people looking to relocate to the UAE that they should be receiving an offer of 30-50% more than what they make in the UK to make it worthwhile. For KSA that would be closer to the 50% range.

Are you married? I assume your wife is comfortable with the restrictions on women in KSA? Definitely, you'd better have a strong marriage. Nothing worse than a stressful day and going home to more stress from the Mrs when you get back. Happy wife happy life and all that. Never underestimate the strain KSA can put on your marriage.

With a large house and children in the UK - it would take a huge offer to get me to leave and go to Saudi Arabia, that I knew could not be matched. So, what is your offer? I would consider it if it's within the guidelines I mentioned earlier. If they are giving you something like 10% more, and then emphasizing "tax-free salary" mumbo jumbo as part of the recruiting pitch to try and make it seem like you're going to be breaking the bank, understand that for the desert mirage it is and pass.

You also need to factor in the general instability of working in the Gulf. They can and do get rid of people for whatever reason ("just cause" is a Western employment concept). They may hire you and then two months later decide they don't like you for whatever reason and you're just out, now with no job to go back to in the UK either. That's part of why they need to pay you a premium to go there.
........
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Old Dec 26th 2017, 3:02 pm
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Default Re: Jeddah

Schools for rich Brits in Jeddah

Here is one JEDDAH PREP AND GRAMMAR SCHOOL

another

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Britis...hool_of_Jeddah

My eldest daughter spnt a couple of years in this one - http://www.arabnews.com/node/374917

before starting at the American School

Last edited by scot47; Dec 26th 2017 at 3:08 pm.
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Old Dec 27th 2017, 4:20 am
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Default Re: Jeddah

Originally Posted by mkh278 View Post
Guys, thanks a lot. These are very useful advices and insights.
I am actually on the upwards trajectory in my career. If considering the opportunity I will indeed bear this mind. But you are spot on there: what is appealing is Islamic finance, and the organisation is fronting itself as champions on promoting it. Also they may operate in more exotic jurisdictions, where others may hesitate to go.

Re my experience oitside the UK: I am originally from CIS (Central Asian states), and worked there before coming to the UK 15 years ago. But again, we are human beings and get used to comfort!!! Hence trying to get as much insight as possible so not to regret of accepting or not accepting the opportunity.

Would you also share your experience/insight on schooling. We are interested in schools with the UK cirriculum. How are they compared to average “outstanding” UK state school in mid class area? Any perspective graduates going to the top UK universities?

Thanks.
Do you have a British passport?

The Gulf societies still operate using a very rigid class system and racial / ethnic discrimination is accepted, legal and encouraged. It won't matter that you are Muslim - just ask the Bangladeshis and Pakistanis there.

Your salary offer will be calculated on the assumption that you are British. If you do not have a British passport - or if you do, but you try to use your Central Asian passport instead - that offer will be revoked and re-calculated to reflect standard pay conditions for Central Asians in the Gulf. Expect that to be something like 1/10th of what they offer you on a British passport, but it could be far lower than that.

Sorry if that comes as a shock - but that is how things work there. There are different pay scales, accommodations, etc based on nationality.

Operating in a very niche field, the Gulf may have some learning opportunities for you - but it will be very, very hard to translate that back to advancement in the UK, even in a niche field.

Things like "career ladders" don't exist in the Gulf (it is just not how Gulf Nationals think of the workplace) and so it's not a place you go to climb professionally. The attitude is, we have hired you to do a specific role, and when that job is done (or you have done as much as you can or we think you can't do the role) - you go home, not get promoted. "Advancement" happens because you are related to someone, you are in the same tribe as someone, or someone you are related to has married someone relevant and so politically it is necessary to promote you.

Advancement there can happen (and I was someone it happened to) but it is rare.

So if you want to go, go - just have your eyes wide open and understand what this will and won't do for you and your family. It definitely won't be a London office culture with London workplace norms, or a place where London career ambitions get fulfilled.

Good luck.

Last edited by carcajou; Dec 27th 2017 at 4:23 am.
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Old Dec 28th 2017, 2:31 pm
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If you are from the CIS, then in Saudi eyes you are a "Bukhari". That is someone from the city of Bukhara. Jeddah and Medina have had migrants from the area from the early days. Possession of a passport from London will change nothing in the eyes of the locals.
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Old Dec 28th 2017, 4:59 pm
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Originally Posted by scot47 View Post
If you are from the CIS, then in Saudi eyes you are a "Bukhari". That is someone from the city of Bukhara. Jeddah and Medina have had migrants from the area from the early days. Possession of a passport from London will change nothing in the eyes of the locals.
Spot-on, sir. I am indeed Bukhari!!!

When it comes to it, I will have to weigh up which passport to use.
I need to consider needs to travel back to my country of origin, where not necessarily people are glad you have second passport.
On other hand, I am also conscious whether my kids would have priority in queue to British schools if their Iqama in their non-Brit passport. Any advice?

Re salary - I don't think I am concerned, as, unless I am being naïve here, they view me as candidate from the UK with the UK experience and current salary. While on this subject: I am likely to discuss the package soon. So is it realistic or too aggressive to ask: my current gross base + 50%, and on top housing+education+medical insurance+annual airfares (business / economy, not really bothered). Advice would be very appreciated.

Re view of the locals: I have heard that Saudi tend to put check points here and then, and possession of the European passport would ease your checks. Is that true???

Thanks again everyone. These posts are extremely helpful.
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Old Dec 28th 2017, 5:25 pm
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Passports may be secondary in how they weigh you up - at checkpoints or elsewhere, but could be crucial in what salary they pay you.

I had nothing but respect and kindness in the 17 years I was there. From the locals. Fellow-Brits did not always treat me so well. Students, and complete strangers in Jeddah, Dhahran and small-town KSA were very helpful and very hospitable.

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Old Dec 28th 2017, 11:56 pm
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Originally Posted by mkh278 View Post
Spot-on, sir. I am indeed Bukhari!!!

When it comes to it, I will have to weigh up which passport to use.
I need to consider needs to travel back to my country of origin, where not necessarily people are glad you have second passport.
On other hand, I am also conscious whether my kids would have priority in queue to British schools if their Iqama in their non-Brit passport. Any advice?

Re salary - I don't think I am concerned, as, unless I am being naïve here, they view me as candidate from the UK with the UK experience and current salary. While on this subject: I am likely to discuss the package soon. So is it realistic or too aggressive to ask: my current gross base + 50%, and on top housing+education+medical insurance+annual airfares (business / economy, not really bothered). Advice would be very appreciated.

Re view of the locals: I have heard that Saudi tend to put check points here and then, and possession of the European passport would ease your checks. Is that true???

Thanks again everyone. These posts are extremely helpful.
You are being naive. I'm not sure you are understanding how rigid the caste system is in the Gulf. Passport (as Scot47 noted) does play a role in deciding what salary scale you are on. Don't risk it, even if they tell you sweet nothings on the phone about how it doesn't matter (please don't believe them for one second if they do that).

Yes it is true that Western passport holders face a much easier time at checkpoints (and in a lot of other things). In the GCC caste system, "Westerner" is behind only host country nationals and nationals from other GCC countries.

Remember - again - you going to a place where discrimination based on nationality, ethnicity and race is accepted, legal and encouraged (hence different salary scales for different nationalities).

You may be "Bukhari" but "Bukhari" with a British passport is accorded more status than a "Bukhari Bukhari."

You can take both passports, use your British one to leave KSA and then when you get off the plane, use your CIS one to enter the CIS.

There is no way in the world I would recommend employment in the Gulf to a Westerner planning on using a non-Western passport. You are just begging for problems if you do that - and not just from the Saudis (or Brits).

Last edited by carcajou; Dec 28th 2017 at 11:59 pm.
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Old Dec 28th 2017, 11:58 pm
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PS - Your salary package request is reasonable.
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