Everybody dreams about traveling abroad, settling for a new job, and establishing a new family. If you have similar plans of settling and finding a job in Pakistan, you have come to the right place. Today we are going to talk about the work culture of Pakistan and find out how the workspace cooperates on different grounds. Different countries have different specifications and rules. So, before you land in Pakistan to find a job, you must gain some knowledge about their work culture.
Although Pakistani business culture has similar terms to most Asian work cultures, it is important to go through the rules and nature of work once before you start applying for a job. Especially if you are from Western cultures, you might find it a bit different and unique. However, such uniqueness can also become overwhelming if you are unaware of the proper facts.
So, if you want to have a stress-free and secure job in Pakistan, the first step is to research well and get acquainted with their culture. And if you are interested to do so, continue reading and discover all essential work culture facts.
Pakistani Business Culture: Finding A Job
Although known to be very conservative in its culture and customs, most people find working in Pakistan fascinating and different. In fact, in recent times the amount of foreign workers in the field of business and other works in Pakistan has seen a rapid increase, welcoming more and more newbies into the country. However, it is no secret that finding a job can be difficult in Pakistan.
Pakistani people prefer social relations and connections more than employees from different backgrounds. Mainly in business culture, they would pass on their legacy to their familial relations more than to an experienced employee who has no connection to them. Hence, nepotism remains a constant factor in Pakistani culture when it comes to finding a job.
However, it is not impossible. Many sectors welcome young and talented employees from different corners of the world. Especially in the IT sector, you will find many secure positions, with minimum education qualifications. Another very common area that offers jobs is education or teaching. Mainly if you are native to the English language, you will easily find a teaching job in that language. Pakistani educational institutions are now focusing on providing English language classes more seriously and are looking for potential guides.
The easiest way to find jobs in Pakistan would be to look for general job search engines. Some of them are Bayt, Joz, Career Jest, Indeed, Go Abroad, and many more. These engines will surely help you find job positions and also provide maximum details regarding visa information and professional social networks.
Lastly, the important part of finding a job is that you first apply for your work visa. You will have to submit your bio-data along with your passport to receive a work visa in Pakistan. There are mainly two types of visas. One is the new visa or first-time visa, which is for newcomers, and the other one is the extension visa, which is for people whose visa has expired. You can apply accordingly and start working in Pakistan.
Work Culture Of Pakistan
Now, let us get into the rules and regulations and the nature of work in Pakistani culture. Go through them thoroughly and get familiar with the regular working environment of the Urdu people. From scheduled meetings to the official language, you will get to learn about everything in this section. Let’s get started.
The work hours are common, like in other countries, where employees are expected to work for a maximum of nine hours a day. It means that a person is expected to perform for the company at least 48 hours a week. Although overtime work is quite common, and most people end up working more hours, up to 12 hours weekly than required due to job pressure and overtime pay, the Labor laws of Pakistan state that no worker should work more than nine hours a day. Most importantly, women workers are not allowed to work more than nine hours and are required to end work at 10:00 pm.
The entire nine hours also include one hour for a lunch break. It is to keep in mind that lunchtime is not a paid time. So, you will not get paid for the hour that you use for remuneration or breaks. On Fridays, the work hour is reduced by three hours because of the praying sessions followed in Islamic traditions.
An employment contract is an agreement between the employee and the employer which states that both parties are willing to work under the given circumstances. It is the basis of further employment relationship building and regulates the terms and conditions of employment.
If you work in an establishment, you will be classified under one of the following categories, permanent, probationers, alternate (Badli), temporary, apprentices, or contract workers. If your work lasts for nine months, you will become a permanent worker. Otherwise, you will be under three months’ probation and then become eligible for being classified as a permanent worker. You will be classified as a Badli if you are substituting for a permanent worker at that point.
If you are hired for a certain project that will end in under nine months, you will be named as a temporary worker. And for training purposes, you will become an apprentice and for contractual work, working for a specified time, you will be considered a contract worker.
Let us now talk about the field of the Pakistani economy. Pakistan is a low-income developing country. It is 23rd in terms of GDP with a population of 227 million people. Agriculture constitutes the largest sector of the Pakistani economy. Most of the people and even businesses are dependent on the agricultural sector, directly or indirectly. Half of the employed labour force comes under this sector and is the largest contributor to the national income.
Consumption, investment, and exports are the biggest provider of economic growth. Most export relations are with Afghanistan, the USA, European Union, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. Other than agriculture, the industrial sector in Pakistan is dominated by food, beverages, tobacco, coke and petroleum, pharmaceuticals, and textiles. Cotton textile production is the largest industry in Pakistan, along with apparel manufacturing. Nevertheless, the main backbone of Pakistan remains agriculture and its product exports.
There is just one common rule, stay away from revealing clothes. If you are a woman, do not even consider putting on your skin fitting and revealing clothes when it comes to work. Pakistan is a conservative country where women still wear covered dresses from head to toe as a religious tradition. Especially in business formal, wear sarees or kurtas, instead of skirts or dresses. On regular days, you can get comfortable with pants and skirts that lay below your knees, tops that cover your shoulders and chest properly, and dresses that are not too body-hugging. If it comes to a business trip and casual outing, you can still explore more.
For men, you can wear a formal shirt and pants to regular workdays. Business casual can range from formal pants to a kurta and a salwar. However, during business formal sessions, you are expected to wear more Westernized outfits like smart suits, ties, and formal shoes. Do not wear baggy T-shirts or casual jeans, as they are considered inappropriate for the work environment.
Hierarchy In Business Culture
Although there is no written hierarchical structure for all workplaces in Pakistan, there is an unsaid rule for elder people and senior person positions. Since most businesses are passed down by families, the most senior person is always given greater respect. Even when you are in a meeting, the senior person will be first welcomed by third-party introductions. They will lead the discussions and also adjourn at their own time and pace.
The simple rule is that respect and trust are extremely valuable for people who are older and more experienced in the office. If they are in a higher position, they are greeted first, addressed first, and even given the priorities in decision-making. It comes with experience and the social connections that they have. More than the work, it is a matter of mutual respect with regard to the seniority principle.
Most companies schedule meetings of strategic level during the morning phase around 10:00 am. There will be hundreds of meetings once you join the company, and it is best planned for late morning and early afternoon. Most meetings start with refreshments, small talk, and even small gift-giving sessions. If you are new to the culture, you will find it strange that Urdu people will not give you as much personal space as you want.
They like to ask personal questions, talk in a roundabout or circuitous fashion, and discuss familial things as a way of getting to know you. Do not hesitate and start sharing, as that is the only way to build a long-standing personal relationship.
However, when there are members of senior positions, try to maintain indirect eye contact, as staring right into their eyes might be considered inappropriate or rude. Always shake hands with them and start conversing calmly. Even during meetings, if the discussion gets heated, remain calm and only demonstrate your points to the senior person and avoid any clash with your colleagues. Pakistani people are also generally indirect communicators. So, if you see no direct statements coming from the opposite side, they are only trying to get familiar with you, and once they get closer, you will see the change.
Although business working days are from Monday to Friday in Pakistan, you will get a lot of holidays. Some of the holidays that are quite popular in Pakistan are Eid-ul Ftr, Independence Day, New year day, Kashmir Day, Founding Day, Eid Milad-un-Nabi, Eid al-Adha, Defence Day, and Urs of Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai. You will have many more optional holidays and can take one day off weekly. So, you do not have to worry about the work days being too hectic in Pakistan. With work, you will also get a lot of fests to enjoy.
Although English is the business language in Pakistan, and most working people are well acquainted with the universal English language, it is recommended that you learn some Urdu phrases and words. Especially some greeting words and manners will help you blend with the locals more easily. Knowing the Urdu language will surely bring more warm responses and also make the people appreciate your efforts.
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