Expats moving to Libya usually have secure job offers already in place. Expats often place emphasis on salary when approached with a job offer in Libya, and the money offered to skilled expats will certainly make the country a more attractive option. Most expats are employed in the petroleum industry, which Libya’s economy depends on heavily.
Expats working in Libya will find themselves in a conservative Islamic country, and business will often be conducted in accordance with this. Arabic is the official language of Libya, and expats will do well to have at least a basic understanding of the language. English and French are also widely spoken in business circles.
Job market in Libya
Expats considering working in Libya will almost certainly be pigeon-holed into employment by one of the hydrocarbon companies that dominate the economy.
In a country where the majority of export earnings are attributed to the country’s oil resources, foreigners skilled in this field are most likely to secure lucrative employment.
Construction is another main sector of employment in Libya. This industry supports projects commissioned by the Organisation for the Development of Administrative Centres and other arms of government, such as the Ministry of Housing and the Ministry of Infrastructure. Other important industries including mining, agriculture and tourism, and expats are also increasingly finding work teaching English
Finding a job in Libya
Expats looking to move to Libya should secure an employment contract before arriving in the country. All foreigners require a visa to enter Libya. We'd advise that expats don't arrive in the country with the intention of trying to find work.
There are a number of websites focused on employment for expats in Libya. A good starting point are sites such as expatcareers.com. Newspapers such as the Libya Herald, which is available online in English, may also be useful resources. Ultimately, most expats will be approached by international companies or even transferred through the company they are already working for.
Work culture in Libya
Business in Libya is conducted in a formal yet polite and friendly manner. Punctuality and a smart appearance are important; suits and ties are worn by businessmen and women should dress modestly.
As with other countries in the region, expats in Libya must be respectful of the local Islamic customs. Many businessmen won't be available during Ramadan, and as Friday is the Islamic holy day, the working week runs from Sunday to Thursday.
English is widely spoken and understood but a basic knowledge of Arabic won't go unappreciated. People with titles should be addressed using their title and surname. Business cards should be printed in both English and Arabic and if someone offers their card, expats should treat it with reverence.