Who are civilian contractors and what jobs do they perform overseas?
American citizens work all over the world in all sorts of industries. The most lucrative places to work are in the world’s hot spots. Civilian contractors are the brave people who find themselves working an ordinary jobs overseas and sometimes in war zones. You may wonder why people find jobs as civilian contractors. The answer is the adventure, but the pay is good, tax free and they make anywhere from $60k - $250k+ yr.
Civilian contractors work in every imaginable field – health care, security, engineering, education, construction, transportation, interpreters, advising, truck drivers, food prep, telecommunications, accounting, mine removal, or military. Courageous civilians fill these roles to help manage and improve conflict and post conflict areas.
Civilian contractors work for private military companies, government, international, and civil organizations. They are authorized to aid the military and help improve situations. It’s a risky job because of the location. Civilian contractors find employment in places like Afghanistan, Kosovo, Israel, Qatar, Caribbean, Japan, Italy, Korea, Colombia, Liberia, China, France, Turkey, Iraq, or Iran.
Every contractor has experience in his field before he signs up for these contract based, or temporary, jobs. It’s basically job outsourcing, so the military can withdraw. The jobs help to stabilize an area.
If you were a civilian contractor, what would you be? An English teacher in Iraq? Protection manager in Afghanistan? Logistics Manager in Djibouti? Mechanic in Iraq? Communications in Saudi Arabia? Nurses in Qatar? Hygienist in Yemen? Security contractor in Colombia? The options are endless. There are plenty of jobs and they will be available for a long time.
The majority of contractor jobs are for security – working as truck drivers in Baghdad, interrogators in Afghanistan, or personal protection for big shot businessmen. They make up roughly 50% of the civilian contractors in remote regions of the world. Most jobs are in military and security – close protection, convoy security, logistics, or military training.
There are thousands of jobs available in unique places – jobs for people with non-military backgrounds. If you have experience in construction, agriculture, administration, human resources, information technology, mining, sports and fitness, or transportation there is a civilian contractor job for you.
Civilian contractors have a unique opportunity to work overseas and make big bucks while helping the world. It’s hard to describe a typical day. You may be a nurse in Kuwait or a pilot in Brazil. Civilian contractors can do just about anything.
Working overseas can be a wonderful experience. You might start by looking for an overseas assignment with your current employer or you could have found a job on your own. Either way, don't embark upon an overseas employment opportunity without resolving issues related to the type of assignment or employment, your compensation and adapting to a new culture.
Whether you're accepting an overseas job as an expatriate assignment with your current employer or you're contemplating accepting a job with an overseas employer, you need to know how long you'll be there. You decision may depend on the length of time you're going to spend in a foreign country. For example, if you're going to accept a job overseas for the summer months, you might be able to sublet your residence for a short period. However, if you accept a two-year expat assignment, consider a longer-term solution to what you'll do with your home while you're out of the country.
A few things you should know before accepting that overseas assignment:
■ Salary: The annual pay offered by some of these companies can go well over $95,000. That sounds fantastic — especially when you consider most of it will be tax-free while you’re actually working overseas. But don’t think earning this kind of salary will be a walk in the park.
■ Work schedule: For the most part, you will not have a regular 9-to-5 schedule with weekends off. Back when listening to the CSA pitch, we heard about 12-hour shifts, six days on, one day off, and a one-year contract. Those conditions are not unusual.
■ Living quarters: CSA offered condo-type living quarters, but the problem for me was the location — off base. Pulling security for the living quarters was a Kuwaiti force, not our own guys. Some security contractors work on U.S. installations, but it’s quite possible that you might work, and live, off base.
■ Environment: Don’t expect a tropical resort; you could be anywhere in the world. And it’s quite likely that you could be working in a volatile region.
■ Vacation and other benefits. CSA was offering a four-week vacation and a free flight to Europe for R&R. But when it came time to head back home, I would have been expected to pay my own way. But you should expect such jobs to offer some sort of vacation, as well as health and life insurance.