In recent years, Pakistan has experienced a pretty impressive economic boom and it looks to become a major Asian investment hub in the near future. Karachi is Pakistan's most prosperous city and is the country's financial hub. With the presence of many foreign companies, Karachi offers some excellent career prospects for expats. Being the capital and diplomatic heart of Pakistan, Islamabad is where expats who are relocated by their own national governments or international NGOs will likely be based.
With factors like nepotism and corruption remaining a constant in Pakistan, finding a job can be a difficult process. Many of the local workers in Pakistan rely on social connections and who they know, rather than experience, talent or qualifications. Expats will be pleased to know that salaries will provide a good standard of living, as the cost of living in Pakistan is incredibly low.
Expats will need the correct visa and work permit to work in Pakistan, and will not be eligible for these documents unless they have already secured work with a local employer.
Job market in Pakistan
The economy of Pakistan is semi-industrialised, with the Indus River at the forefront of its growth. Urban areas such as Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore are also economic centres for the country. The main industries in Pakistan are construction, electricity, textile manufacturing, food processing and technology.
Expats with skills in any of the above industries shouldn't struggle too much to find a job. As the fastest growing sector in Pakistan, expats working in IT and in particular will certainly have plenty of options available to them.
Finding a job in Pakistan
Most expats living in Pakistan move to the country with a job in hand. Those working for a prominent international company or at a diplomatic mission will likely have much of the bureaucracy associated with their relocation, such as visa processing, making provisions for healthcare and finding accommodation, all taken care of by their employer.
For those who haven't secured a job offer prior to relocation, it is important to note that networking and word-of-mouth references form the basis of the employment procedure in Pakistan. Expats who have some proficiency in Urdu will find it to be an advantage, despite the fact that the language of business is commonly English.
Work culture in Pakistan
In some ways, Pakistani work culture can be quite conservative and formal. Hierarchy is highly valued and one is expected to display respect towards their seniors in the workplace. Contact between the sexes is limited, and most positions of power are still held by men.
On the other hand, networking and relationship building is really important in the workplace. Expats should make an effort to engage in small talk and get to know colleagues on a personal level before getting down to business. Although Urdu is the official language of Pakistan, English is most commonly spoken in the workplace and most Pakistanis speak English fluently.
►For expats with kids, see Education and Schools in Pakistan
Are you an expat living in Pakistan?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Pakistan. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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