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Most expats working in Egypt are based in Cairo. As Egypt’s largest city, it is also the location with the most employment opportunities and plays host to a more conspicuous expat population.
However, unemployment levels are high and expats may have a hard time finding a job. Still, there are a few positions where a foreigner may find a niche.
Job market in Egypt
Job types vary widely, but most expats don't move for the financial promise that makes other global destinations attractive. The most common occupation for expats working in Egypt is teaching, both in private schools and English language schools.
Volunteers and employees for NGOs make up another substantial part of the expat community. Other industries that draw expats are tourism, finance and media positions.
Finding a job in Egypt
It is far better to be hired from outside Egypt before relocating than to arrive in Egypt unemployed. If the latter is the case, the best bet for finding employment is through a personal connection.
Expats hired from overseas to work in Egypt enjoy a higher salary often paid in a foreign currency, while expat employees hired from within Egypt tend to be paid in the local currency and earn much less. Networking is an important part of the Egyptian business culture, which functions largely on the premise of personal contacts and recommendations.
Online job portals and local recruitment agencies are also a possible source of employment opportunities.
Work culture in Egypt
Business in Egypt is conducted in a formal yet friendly and personal manner. Punctuality and a smart appearance are important; suits and ties are worn by businessmen and women should dress modestly.
Expats in Egypt must be respectful of the local Islamic customs. Many Egyptian businessmen are not available during Ramadan, and as Friday is the Islamic holy day, the working week runs from Sunday to Thursday.
English is widely spoken and understood but a basic knowledge of Arabic will be appreciated. People with titles should be addressed using their title and surname. Business cards should be printed in both English and Arabic and if someone offers their card, expats should treat it with respect.
►For information on the requirements to work legally as an expat in Egypt see Work Permits for Egypt.
"For expats, work is available if you make an effort to network and seek work. There are plenty of schools looking for teaching staff and a native English speaker will nearly always find work. Besides teaching however, jobs are hard fought for and whilst expats will get the best jobs in most cases, there are few of these. Most jobs are applied for and taken before expats move out here and they tend to be in the financial or petroleum sector." Read more of Sam's insights on the Egyptian working world in our expat interview with him.
Are you an expat living in Egypt?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Egypt. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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