Due to Myanmar's domestic conflict, as well as the influence of the pandemic, the country's economy has taken a downward turn. Looking forward, the growth outlook remains poor. That said, with the reopening of tourism and the related service industries, there are still many opportunities for expats looking to work in Myanmar.
Job market in Myanmar
Agriculture, fishing and forestry account for 45 to 57 percent of Myanmar’s GDP and much of the country’s workforce is employed in this sector, either directly or indirectly. Crop production, especially rice, covers more than half of the country’s cultivated land. With the discovery of natural gas and petroleum came foreign investment, which has boosted employment for expats in the oil and gas, mining, and manufacturing industries.
Much of Myanmar’s infrastructure remains largely underdeveloped, and construction is the country's second-biggest employer. Expats moving to Myanmar who have architecture, building and engineering expertise will have no trouble finding employment. The service sector, including tourism and teaching English as a foreign language, is also on the rise.
Work culture in Myanmar
As is usually the case in Southeast Asian countries, Myanmar’s work culture is fairly formal and hierarchical. It is also heavily reliant on building strong personal relationships. Respect is an important part of working in Myanmar, and expats should endeavour to always address their colleagues and seniors by their full titles and names. "U" and "Daw" are used as the equivalent of "Mr" and "Mrs" or "Ms".
The concept of 'face' applies in Myanmar, and expats should avoid public disagreements with their local colleagues as this could cause them to lose face. While expats who are used to more egalitarian cultures may have a difficult time adjusting to the work culture in Myanmar, they will be delighted to find that the local people are generally friendly and honest.
►Check out Work Permits in Myanmar for information on securing a valid work visa
Are you an expat living in Myanmar?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Myanmar. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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