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Cairo - Employment
The majority of expatriates moving to Cairo have been transferred to Egypt's capital city by their employers. These people typically live and work in the downtown area, and are paid in local (hard) currency, rather than in Egyptian pounds.
If it is possible to secure employment before relocation to Cairo, you will gain two advantages. First employees paid in hard currency earn substantially more than their counterparts paid in Egyptian pounds. For example, a teacher employed through an Egyptian non-governmental agency might earn a yearly salary of between $6,000 and $8,000, while a teacher paid in hard currency can expect a yearly salary between $25,000 and $45,000.
If you have not taken a job with an employer before arriving, you will be paid in Egyptian pounds, so you will earn a smaller salary than you might expect.
The second advantage of securing employment before you move is that you can avoid the difficult task of finding a job and competing with locals who are willing to work for much lower salaries. You will not find headhunting firms or employment agencies in Cairo, nor will you find want ads in the classified sections of the city's newspapers. Instead, the employment system in Cairo runs entirely on word of mouth referrals.
Networking is the best (and the only) way to find a job once you are in Cairo. Expatriates looking for employment frequently have business cards printed, with information in English on one side and in Arabic on the other. They then hand out their business cards at every opportunity, in case they meet someone who has a connection with an employer or hiring manager of an Egyptian company.
While learning to speak Arabic is not required to work in Cairo, it will help you in your networking efforts by allowing you to communicate with people outside of the tourist industry and upper class circles.
Entrepreneurship is another popular option for expatriates in Egypt's capital city. Attending luncheons at the American Chamber of Commerce is an effective way to meet members of Cairo's expatriate business community. You can find more information at www.amcham.org.eg
Another way to expand your employment seeking network is by volunteering at an organization such as the Refugee Ministry at St. Andrew's Church. Expatriates frequently volunteer here to teach computer and English skills to refugees from Sudan. You can contact St. Andrew's Church at 02-57-59-451 for more information.
If you have a background in public relations, marketing, or advertising, emphasizing these skills will help you in your search for employment. Many companies in Cairo conduct business in English and hire English speaking foreign professionals to work as consultants or full time employees.
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