Living and working in the Middle East can be a rewarding experience. Tax-free salaries, learning about new cultures and sharing your professional knowledge are just some of the reasons why expats consider such opportunities. But what else do Middle Eastern companies provide that their Western counterparts could learn from?
The Qatar Foundation has a community support department that focuses solely on developing the community within the organization. There’s a fully staffed gym, weekly excursions, movie nights and cultural events all designed to engage the employee, their families and the surrounding community…
Taking care of your neighbor
Oil companies such as Ras Gas have long understood that to keep their employees happy they must keep their families happy and so they have built communities which include schools, housing and amenities. They have departments that exist for the sole purpose of ensuring employees and their families are taken care of and don’t miss home too much. And this really is the attraction of working in the Gulf (as well as the tax-free money of course).
As a child growing up in Dubai I have fond memories of attending a company sponsored event for the Royal Wedding of Prince Charles and Diana. Who would have thought that a few decades later I would be back in Dubai watching another Royal wedding and yes, with a group of British expats?
While the Middle East has a reputation for being oppressive, restrictive and just plain difficult, there’s a great sense of community among the expats. Social media has modernized the process and sites such as internations and the expat forum certainly speed up the onboarding process. Yet much of this community development is still fostered by the companies and organizations that are trying to attract talent from overseas.
Talent shortage – pulling together
In an economic climate where it is the human resource that is in short supply it makes good business sense to develop such a model. Mines in rural Australia have adopted this approach and if you head up to Capella in Queensland you’ll find a sprawling township in the middle of nowhere with all the amenities of an inner city suburb. There’s a cinema, an aquatic centre with an Olympic size swimming pool and schools.
Having lived for three years in Qatar where everyone on my street knew the name of my cat it’s a shock to be back in Australia. The only communication that I’m had with my neighbor is a note under the door to complain about the washing machine at 11 o’clock at night!
Perhaps it’s time to organise a street party?