Working in Cambodia

If you want to work in Cambodia, be aware of the following facts:

  • Cambodia is a country of low income. It means that the minimum wage is $150 per month. Foreigners with a professional background could get between $500 and $1,000.
  • You must get the Business Visa – now you can apply for it online or upon arrival… a visa for 6 to 12 months. Some westerners look down on Cambodian authorities and stay in the country without a legal permit, thinking that they are smarter… most of these smart guys have been deported as fast as they think. Get your proper permissions on time.
  • Cambodia needs a lot of skilfull personnel for its development. There is a big young population but the skill formation remains low. It gives a lot of opportunities for professional foreigners – for now…. until the Cambodian youth get the point and take those places.

I will divide the job opportunities in Cambodia in three groups: a) Professionals (high level of opportunities), b) Skillful people (medium level), and c) Others.

Professionals

Professionals have a lot of opportunities to get a good job in Cambodia, just because the local force still very low. Many international companies are desperate to import professional personnel from their own or third countries to be competitive in the country. You can apply for:

  • Technology companies.
  • Garment factories.
  • Media Communication.
  • Construction Companies – Cement Factories.
  • Industry.
  • Universities – higher education in general… international schools.
  • Humanitarian organizations.
  • Tourism industry.

Make sure you have all your certifications and references with you. In Cambodia it is very important to have. If you apply to any company, they will investigate if your documents are in place.

Skilfull

In the same way if you are not a professional but you have any skill you can demonstrate, you can find good jobs in the country. Salaries will be a little higher than those of locals. If you are a cook or a bar attendant, probably you will find good jobs in the tourist industry with salaries ranking from $300 to $700 and it will depend very much from you.

Others

Well… it includes the rest… I really don’t know how to describe it. Let us try a list:

  • You are a professional in your country but you are fed up of your damn office… then you come to live in Cambodia and you want to get some incomes but not doing the same you were doing in your country…
  • You are in retirement.
  • You want to create your own business… many expatriates in Cambodia who decide to have their own business normally think in a hotel, restaurant, bar, brothel or NGO… Note: Very rare their studies match their new Cambodian enterprise.

For me, all of these others have big challenges to face – hope some of you can share your experiences in the comments:

  • Teaching English has two challenges:
    • Cambodian schools prefer Native English speakers and some schools’ directors can become rude and discriminatory if your country is not an English speaking one… to solve this problem you have to show up your due certificates (TOEFL). Still you can try to apply for English teachers setting your own school and getting some cents per month to pay your rent.
    • Teaching English is not good paid at all. If you get much, it will be maximum $200.
  • Teaching other languages could have better perspectives, though be sure you can speak English as well. Here some languages that have future in Cambodia and better payments than teaching English:
    • Spanish: Definitively 5 Stars… Tourist guides are in need to speak Spanish to attend the damas y caballeros.
    • Italian: 5Stars too… Andiamo ai tempi allora… 
    • French: 2Stars… too many French people in the country.
    • Other Asian languages: Too much competition…. if you dominate Chinese or Korean, lost your time trying to offer yourself as a teacher.
  • To retire in Cambodia is, doubtless, a good idea. Life is cheaper, people is friendly and respectful of the elderly, considered a wise man and, very important, Cambodia has improved in health attention to foreigners with international hospitals in the main cities. If you are a workaholic and want to work in Cambodia, better apply for something that is along with your profession. Sharing your experience as a senior volunteer is a good idea if you are a philanthropist. Make sure to keep your professional references with you, even if you are in retirement.
  • Entrepreneurs…. upon my experience, here some words… not last words and it is better to have the perception of those who have success with their own enterprise in Cambodia:
    • Tourist industry: Be aware that there is now a lot of competition… too many restaurants, hotels and bars. Making a new one needs a lot of vision and the proper place. Take care with speculation, ownership of the land or business and the area where you want to have it.
    • Although it seems cheap to get a business in Cambodia, be aware of local bureaucracy. Get a local lawyer or fixer to  help you.
    • Setting Ngos… be aware that there are too many and there is already a tendency to reduce it. It means that many conditions will apply to set one. Consider to support the good ones that are already in place and maybe are needing a hand, instead to do something new and probably repetitive.

More to come…

 

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About Albeiro Rodas

Albeiro Rodas (in Cambodia Sky Ly Samnang), is a MA in Digital Communication, independent journalist and a Salesian of Don Bosco from Amalfi, Colombia, based in Cambodia since 1999. He is the creator of the Don Bosco schools of journalism in Sihanoukville and Kep with young people from poor communities and the founder of the Don Bosco Kep Children Fund. Medal for Social Commitment UPB (2010); among the 100 more upstanding Colombians abroad (Marca Colombia, 2012, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X39xwdGtVXI) and among the 12 Colombians that are making this a better world 2013 (http://www.colombia.co/en/culture/colombians-that-are-making-this-a-better-world.html).

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