Understanding the Work Culture in Riyadh: A Guide for Expats

Working in different countries around the world is a very interesting experience, and if you have already had such experience, then you can be considered lucky. The same can be attributed to the city of Riyadh, which is located in Saudi Arabia and is the capital. Working in Riyadh, like working in any capital city, is a unique and exciting experience for many workers with very different skills. This city is the economic and cultural center of the country, and because of this, there are ample opportunities for career development here, not only for residents but also for those who come from other countries to look for work in this place. Riyadh is known for its modern business centers, numerous international companies operating in it, and huge infrastructure projects that create a growing demand for a diverse range of specialists. By working in such a city, you will not only get the chance to work in the dynamic environment of the capital and receive good pay, but you will also have the opportunity to experience the culture of the place, which makes this city attractive to many foreign professionals who are interested in it. If you’re looking to find a job on Layboard, exploring opportunities in Riyadh becomes even more accessible. You can view, for example, a vacancy for a cleaner in Qatar and see what some of the job offers there look like – layboard.in/vacancies/jobs-in-qatar/speciality/cleaner. Also on this site, you can find other vacancies for yourself in the same city, on your skills.

Working in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia has its own cultural, legal and social aspects. This is a fairly unique country with a lot of cultural and religious characteristics that should be taken into account when choosing a country to work in, since the ability to work in a comfortable environment is extremely important, and you cannot be a productive worker in an environment that makes you uncomfortable. Here are some of those important points:

Cultural aspects:

Saudi Arabia is a country with a deeply Islamic culture, and this faith plays a very important role in everyday life. Compliance with local customs and religious norms, such as prayers and fasting during Ramadan, is mandatory for everyone. If you are not a believer, you will still need to adapt to the lifestyle of the locals. Also, the religion of this country greatly influences the appearance of its inhabitants. They look completely opposite to what you see in Europe or America. Modest clothing, including an abaya for women, should be worn in public. Men are also required to wear traditional clothing, especially when visiting local mosques. But despite all the religious issues, as far as work is concerned, everything here is the same as throughout the world. 

The work week generally consists of five working days, with Saturday and Sunday as days off. Typically the working day starts at 8:00 or 9:00 am and ends at 17:00 or 18:00 pm. During the summer, reduced working hours may be established due to hot weather. It is also possible that some employers change things depending on the circumstances. Also, the salaries here are quite large for any workers, but especially for those who have a good education and a lot of knowledge that they can apply in life. By the way, it is precisely because of the salaries that this country is a very attractive destination for foreign workers.


Arabic is the official language of Saudi Arabia and knowledge of Arabic will be extremely useful when working in Riyadh. However, English is also widely used in work processes. Knowing only this, you can get a good job, but knowledge of Arabic or some other languages will definitely not be superfluous.

Social aspects:

Family ties are of fundamental importance in Saudi society, and often go beyond the mere concept of support. In Saudi Arabia, close family ties enrich and strengthen interactions between family members. In addition, Riyadh offers many leisure opportunities for those who live there. The city is abundantly stocked with restaurants offering a variety of culinary delights, from traditional Arabian cuisine to global gastronomic flavors. Shopping malls in Riyadh offer a rich selection of products and brands from different countries, creating excellent shopping and entertainment opportunities. Sports events also have an important place in city life, with many sports complexes and stadiums where you can engage in physical activity or watch various sports.

Legal aspects:

Saudi Arabia has its own legal system based on Sharia. Rules and regulations may differ from Western countries and it is important to know them to avoid misunderstandings. You also need to understand them in order to correctly prepare all the documents for work, without which you will not be able to work officially.

Work Visa:

In order to legally work in Saudi Arabia, you must obtain a work visa and work permit. This is not necessary if you are going for a remote job and will be working in Saudi Arabia from your home, but if you are moving, it is a mandatory requirement. These procedures can be complex, but this is the only way to work so that your rights are protected and in which case you can prove your case to the employer, which will be impossible in the case of illegal employment.

Employment in Riyadh can provide extensive career opportunities, but it is important to understand that in order to adapt effectively and realize your potential, you must have in-depth local knowledge and respect for cultural norms and values. Without such respect for culture and customs, it will be difficult to work in any country in the world.

Should you try working in Riyadh?

Definitely yes. However, it is worth remembering that this is a really strict country in which everything is by the rules, and if you cannot integrate well into the local culture due to personal disagreements with the peculiarities of local life, and you are sure that you will be uncomfortable here, then it is better to look for another country to work. Fortunately, in this region almost every country is a good place to work and you have a lot of diversity. But if you are adaptable and can get used to any place, working in Riyadh will be a good choice for your career path.

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