And so it begins. 20 odd expats today. Slow drip till the end of the year.
108 replies (most recent on top)
COVID-19, oil price soaring....what could we expect? Look around in the world, in oil and gas businesses, almost all industries. Can we really be surprised? Of course not. Total laid off is around 1%. Aramco is an IPO listed company, it needs to adjust costs to profit. North Americans are expensive off the go, low performers off they go. Waves to come will not differentiate between expats but look at performance. Of course. How can anyone be surprised, wake up. Aramco is a Global Business expected to make money to the investor's.
BTW, I am European and not laid off.
Loved my time There, loved the Saudi People, and enjoyed it more than I ever expected to! Every year there are lay offs! Usually based on a few factors like age, then performance over the past 5 years. Managers submit objective lists compiled by SMPs and Expats! When the names of 64 year old SMPs and Expats 58 and older are submitted, Managers write exception letters stating how these are a Key Employees, and exceptions are granted for them. Their names are replaced with others who lose their job for no reason at all except that no manager will write a letter for them! This year, there were few exceptions and no exceptions for 58 and older, anyone with an M in the past 5 years, or on the Managers c-ap list! Next target will be those expats who have “too many dependents because they cost too much,” or Those who are working in non carbon departments or administrative departments that do not generate revenue. If you speak Arabic, or are in the right tribe, or An expat that writes your Manager’s Masters thesis, you may be able to remain until he gets his promotion out of the department, then you’ll be expendable. The key is to always smile, complete as much online training and classroom training as you can, but Never try to apply what you learned! Don’t ever lead, just always smile, agree, show up nicely dressed unless you work at main admin ! There The higher the heal, the higher the cleavage, the less underwear, and the More makeup will earn you steady employment! They tore down the old brothels by Kings Park and relocated it away from their wives and children! Expats are concentrated in the Hills, and JebelHeights are reserved for SaudiWives and their servants! Never saw more Mercs or Porches in GC 10 parking lots in my life! My time relates to when I was in a College Fraternity, and expats are mere Pledges trying to lay low enough to get in but not stand out! I wish Aramco and the KSA the best because they have been very good to me and my family. Now as a Consultant, I can fly in, quote Harvard or Cambridge studies, sell them the flavor of the day that I know they will buy, and repeat the scam over and over again! They’ll try anything that doesn’t involve them thinking, working, or being accountable! After all who, in their right mind, do they have to be accountable to?
Talking about PMOD's contribution and value, there is a joke that if entire PMOD (especially its project optimization division (POD)) disappears one day, nobody in and outside Aramco even mentions this.
Aramco could layoff the entire PMOD and the company would not have lost any contribution to the bottom line except costs saved. PMOD is a worthless organization.
I've never witnessed the in-fighting personally, but I do get a distinct impression that it exists.
Within our department we have some on both sides that should've been let go but the only ones that actually have been are from America. Some might say that those expats cost more hence their dismissal, but is it any more cost efficient to retain a poor performing Saudi employee for 10-30 years? It's not.
I've also noticed that the Saudis whom wouldn't last a few weeks on the job anywhere else in the world seem to do just fine at Saudi Aramco. In fact, I've seen gross negligence that absolutely bewilders me but sadly I feel it's best for my own career to ignore it and say nothing - I've even been advised that it's in my best interest to turn a blind eye to it after confronting a few individuals in the past. A good culture wouldn't promote this, but it seems like it's normalized here.
Having lived/worked all over the globe I try to understand and appreciate the differences in other cultures, and I came to Saudi with an open mind as I would anywhere else, but Saudi has easily the worst climate I've ever seen in terms of how it views its guests. Instead of jealousy and animosity maybe dig a little deeper to determine why certain conditions exist in the first place?
Also, for those upset about what pay & benefits an expat makes please understand that they are literally recruited and asked to uproot everything to be here in Saudi Arabia. This is the standard elsewhere as well and it even applies to those Saudis that end up working in Houston or in Europe. So what are you complaining about again?
Ultimately, if you're a Saudi the most impactful thing you can do to effect positive change is to show up to work on time, work hard, and just be honest.
I'll add that I'm not trying to be offensive to our hosts so please try consider what some of the expats have to say. At the end of the day, I still want Saudi Arabia, Aramco, and it's people all to prosper - I wish nothing but the best for them and I look forward to contributing towards the realization of that goal in my own capacity as an employee here. However, I have to be honest in my own views from what I've seen as someone that's lived/worked here 10+ years.
I worked in Aramco for 4 years...some of the experience was good but more of it was not good. Very difficult place to work since there is way too much in-fighting between nationals and expats, Sunni vs Shia, and about any other difference you can imagine.
It's interesting to look at some of these comments. Saudi nationals complain about the "extra" compensation that expats receive ….however, Saudis receive similar benefits when they are expats in other countries...even the GCC. So if you think it's incorrect, then the Saudi's should not get extra benefits when they go to the US or UAE for several years. Secondly, explain why a person should leave his job, family and home for the same compensation? Saudis leave Aramco to go to Sabic, etc if there is more compensation. So compensation is a non-issue....this is a profit driven world, in selling oil and in selling your skills.
For those getting cut, coming back to the US right now is not easy presently, but not impossible...my opinion is that Aramco name dropping is of no benefit...it can not compare to Shell, Exxon, Chevron, even BP, Conoco, etc. What helped me was my 10 yrs of Chevron experience...that's what was raised in my interviews. Aramco hurts you professionally because it is way to much "manager appeasement" driven than engineering or economic driven. For me, it took time to readjust to an environment where I was expected to make decisions and execute, without hoping that a manager would kiss on it. as one EU expat told me, I came to aramco to save money, not spend...so that is the only attraction to living in ksa...that's why expats get paid more...rightfully so. For me was it worth it...no...the cost to living in the culture of ksa, to my wife and kids (he recovered to become a ortho surgeon resident at HSS in NYC) was too high....maybe not others... To this day, family does not speak fondly of ksa culture...that's one reason that many people drink so much in BH.
the fact of the matter is that saudis and all middle easterners want to emigrate to the US not to stay/go to ksa....there is a reason, and we all know why.
so to those getting let go...come home and decompress for a month or so...rejoin an open society/culture, (even with some of the difficulties ongoing)....take care of the family and slowly re-adjust.
It is very sad swhat is happening for my colleague. There have been different says, either people laid off based on performance, relationship. There were unfortunately very competent engineer who were laid off because he wouldn't lick his boss feet, or stand firm when it Was wrong.
Anyway, I came from the UK, and I must admit from the first impression we had prior coming to the kingdom, I would not have lasted a year at work.
I must admit that all my family is in love with the people and their hospitality, the food, the place, the company. Just to let know our Saudi brother that our salary aren't high, but are similar to what we were getting back home. ARAMCO will add fees perks which we are thankful, like travel allowance, etc.
I personally see a majority of young engineer that are very capable but still need to have mentorship from competent expat. There are dead wood all over ( expat or saudi) that need to be laid off.
Finally, I wish success to the remaining expat not laid off (but have a plan B) as if you're successful this time, you won't be next time.
To my Saudi brother, being expat doesn't always mean a lot of privilege. We leave our family, our tie all behind. All companies in the world offer expat some perks in addition to their base salary.
I wish success to your country in this difficult time, and to my Saudi fellow.
Most of the expats that I met during my career are nice people and well deserving a position in Aramco. To those who lost their jobs in this difficult time I have nothing but best wishes and hopes you get the jobs you like asap.
To those who are whining and complaining, I have few comments - as a Saudi-:
1- The reward -risk structure is different and to be honest it has been in favor of expats for decades (esp NA and Eu). To demand similar job security, are you willing to settle for similar benefits as Saudis ? off course not! Equality in rights means equality in obligations (let alone the citizenship factor).
2- Most expats are general good professionals(just like Saudis). The top class/experts/indispensable expats are by definition the smaller group. If Aramco had the intention of going fully Saudi(middle jobs and below), it would have done it years ago. The gov scholarship has served more than 110,000 Saudis with bachelors and masters degree, let alone the grads from local universities. The quota protected expats in many parts of the company. I for one work for a service company where 70% of the department are Saudis while the client counterparts are overwhelmingly expats whom most of us could replace most of.
3- If you lived in Saudi, the least we expect is that you mirror the true nature of Saudi generosity, hospitality and manners. We have our flaws, just like any other nation, but we know our strengths.
4- The company , just like the whole oil business, is in the best condition ever and it's becoming harder than ever for expats and Saudis as well. This is the game we chose to play in.
Inevitably, the place will become a new PDVSA soon.
This expat purge has been in the cards for years; at least since January 2015, waiting for a reason to play them. Unfortunate that a time of pandemic is when the Company chooses to cut people loose, if one can get a flight out.
Fine tools are not of value unless one knows how to use them, therefore why have them? Give them an M to justify the inevitable. Makes sense. Its sad to see such a void of leadership in what was once such a strong organization.
Who will do the heavy lifting now? Who to plagiarize and/or blame? I wouldn't want to be the last expat standing.
I'll miss the chicken though. Good luck!
Job cuts were always on the cards, once the IPO process was completed and the analysts started to question all metrics in relation to competitors.
As for the criteria for selection, this was always going to be arbitrary, depending upon the status and ability of Department Head, although if we are all honest about it, there is considerable slack in the company, with many expats and locals not up to the job, especially given that there is no appetite for expats to train local Saudis and the inherent schisms among the Saudis themselves.
Any latest updates about how they are targeting the expats, based on what ? Performance, salary, randomly or aligning with 2030 vision ?
I was taking a Harvard course the other day about Career Management. One statement that I thought worth sharing was:
“Whatever you do, don’t disparage your former employer or colleagues—it makes you seem unprofessional.”
I rest my case.
About 730 so far. Corporate Affairs and HR started today.
As of today how many expats have been notified
Aramco made a big mistake by giving expat much higher salaries and benefits than locals. They start to think that this because they are smarter and more valuable.
Saudis young generation is more educated and hard working than expat. See who get the highest grades in US universities?
Time to change Aramco!!! Value your locals!
Yet as “strange and bizarre” as they may perceive the recruitment processes, not only does everyone move to the country, they stay as long as the company will have them. Which in the good old days was until retirement.
Why is it that despite their disdain for this country, these supposedly highly educated/specialized/qualified folks are unable to return to their own countries which are “governed by laws enacted by democratic process.”
It’s absolutely understandable to feel upset or hurt at the current turn of events. It’s another thing entirely to direct racial slurs, and derogatory and demeaning language at the entire company and country. It speaks to the “professionalism” of these folks and their general understanding of how business works.
After 10+ year we are leaving KSA and Aramco. It was a good run and I have no hard feelings. We lived a frugal life, saved a bit and I am convinced we'll be able to weather this storm. Good luck all and keep your chin up.
Facts we can all agree on:
- Global recession is in progress
- Covid-19 is a problem now, may be a problem in short, medium an long term future
- Our Net Income is down 25% (I am not going to speculate on future results, my gut says it'll be bad)
- Capital Project spending is significantly down
- Projects are being stopped, slowed down or postopned (see above)
- Layoffs are happening, expats are being targeted
- Expats are very expensive (most of them)
So, looking at the list that we agree on:
1 and 2 cannot be fixed.
3 can be worked on - 4, 5, 6 is used to achieve that
6 is focusing on 7 becasuse of the larger impact of every head, one head under 7 is like several domestic heads
2020 ushers a major resource/labor shift for us - it may work out, it may not - nonetheless something HAD to be done.
Our relationship with expats has always been a 'stictly business' - we have no illusions about how expats and yet we employ them through this business replationship to add value to the company and the nation as the whole. For many, this settup worked fine and procuced outstanding financial outcomes, sometimes for decades - cheers for that let's move on...
Come folks on lets keep it real. You are recruited by a company essentially owned by a large family, in a country who's employment policies are not governed by laws enacted by democratic process. The recruitment process is strange and bizarre. You are promised employment that is technically challenging, cutting edge and rewarding. This is where most future expats should be looking at their BS meter. You are in a country who's laws and customs are characteristic medieval...men wear strange clothes and kiss each other, but you would not recognise your female co-workers if you ever did see them without their face covering. You feel that locals talk behind your back in a language you will never learn, and the irony is they probably trust the expats more than their Saudi colleagues. Expats have a right to complain about their time in the magic kingdom, Companies are faceless entities. Regardless of wages, expats lived through the good and the bad. Perhaps by talking about their experiences things will improve for future expats and POSAs...Prisoners of Saudi Arabia.
Guys - Remember there are a lot of trolls here.
1) Saudis - Don't believe everything you read here.
2) Expats - Don't believe everything you read here.
We all have friends on the other side of this issue.
Don't let the bad guys win. That's what they want.
Kick back, chill, and let the bad guys get p-ss-d cause their troll post don't work.
Big Love Everyone
Do I deserve to comment against the company where I work. E.g. Aramco
Why I donot comment if I am at other place working for other company. Ask yourself.
Nobody has invited me to come and work at ARAMCO and Saudi Arabia. It was my choice because pay was good.
I was aware of different culture before joining. Even if I donot like culture, who stopped me to leave ARAMCO. It was my choice to stay because salary is good.
My entire house is centrally AC and best thing no electricity bill. It was my choice to stay in ARAMCO.
My kids school, no single penny fee. . It was my choice to stay in ARAMCO.
If i want my kids to study at home country, ARAMCO pay additional money. . It was my choice to stay in ARAMCO.
ARAMCO pay me repat air ticket. . It was my choice to stay in ARAMCO.
ARAMCO gives me quality life inside camp. And rent of camp house is almost nothing. . It was my choice to stay in ARAMCO.
Imagine, if saudi comes to your country, will you accept them? Saudi has accepted us at their workplace. Still you donot like..then.... It was my choice to stay in ARAMCO.
For me as an expat, i donot deserve to comment against the company or country, where i have seen safety, money and quality of my life....again, nobody invited me. It was my choice to come and work and make unbelievable money.... It was my choice to stay in ARAMCO.
Bottomline: i donot deserve to comment at all against ARAMCO and Saudi Arabia. It is my duty to protect them.
It was my choice to stay in ARAMCO.
Half of the people here complaining about losing their job, won’t even hire the same people they were let go to work for them. They’re pointing their fingers at others while forgetting about the 3 fingers pointing back at them. Your nationality might of provided you with premium benefits but most definitely won’t make up for your incompetency. All countries put their citizens’ first, if you’re upset, i understand, but please don’t act entitled to the recourse of this country. We face challenges like any other country around the world. Decisions are made and people have to adopt and move on.
Being laid off is never fun or an easy pill to swallow. It’s especially difficult considering the current employment conditions most people will be returning to in their home countries. Not counting the additional stress of uprooting the entire family and all that involves.
That being said, the company doesn’t owe anyone lifetime employment, no company does. A little refresher for those who seem to need it: Firing practices in other countries - in the U.S. at least - are far more brutal and generally devoid of any severance packages, much less ones as generous as the ones the company offers. You came to SA, you enjoyed the numerous benefits the company offered you, and now it is time to head back home.
For those who are viciously biting the hand which has fed you so well over the years, the company made the right decision in severing your employment. Your behavior is disgusting. The micro aggressions of working with people who harbor such disgust and malice towards their local colleagues is leads to a toxic work culture. It’s an open secret that people harbor these thoughts and I have seen it affect their performance and attitudes towards their colleagues, but to see it displayed so brazenly and shamelessly is simply shocking. Thanks to the generous employment practices which afforded you a dream lifestyle, you seem to have been deluded in to over-inflating your sense of self worth and the value you bring as employees. You are about to receive the shock of a lifetime when you rejoin the U.S. workforce and rediscover just how dispensable every employee there is.
For those of you who see this as a simple business, I’m truly sorry this happened to you. I wish you well in your future endeavors. I hope you find suitable reemployment, and settle well in to your new homes and communities. It was a pleasure working with you and you will be sorely missed.
Just remember guys, there are interests that are trolling this forum that would like nothing more than to make all of us look bad, Say your peace and keep it civil. We don't want to give them the satisfaction.
hey @3sqp - AMEN
I remember an expat that thought I was also an American, complain to me why Aramco only paid 80% of his child’s high school tuition. When I asked him how much the tuition was for, he said $90,000 because it was an elites boarding school in Switzerland.
The sad thing is as a SAUDI working in SAUDI Aramco with the same job, my annual salary wasn’t even $90,000. And to add insult to injury, I have to pay for all of my kids tuition 100%. This benefit is only one of many that American/ Canadian expats enjoyed. That’s why the HR section dedicated to Americans & Canadians is off limits for all and is run completely by those nationalities. If Saudis knew the whole truth about there benefits and salaries, all hell would break loss.
So hearing expats whine about these lay offs is hard for me to sympathize with.
I wish you all the best in all your future endeavors and I will truly miss a lot of the friends I have lost during these tuff times. but to the rest, please don’t bite the hand that fed you.
Take care of yourselves
To our colleagues who suffered the experience of being laid off, please share with what to expect. How were you informed of the decision and how long you have until you have to leave the country?
Never mind about the security guard and HR and teh actual mechanics of the process - that part is the same worldwide. - In USA generally speaking all employees from CEO to "Presidents brother" are subject to the same company rules and regulations, and, most importantly labour laws. I personally being a manager for US company in Europe had to spent sleepless nights writing justifications exactly why person A was selected over person B for layoff to protect the company from being sued and crucified by the press and loosing a fortune in share price value as a result.... ACCOUNTABILITY AND DUTY OF CARE vs." I own you and throw you out when I want" philosophy.
I keep reading posts referring to the layoff as bloodbath and wishing that the company had handled it better. So I would appreciate if you would share with us how US companies handle their layoffs. I worked in the US and I saw with my own eyes how the security guy and the HR Rep come unannounced to the poor guy being fired and ask him to pack his stuff and leave in front of his colleagues. Just curious if this is how it is supposed to be done but the company is missing the point.
Dear Fellow Aramcons and Victims of this terrible bloodbath, I want you to share some info that may help many of us future potential victims like yourselves. 1). Is there anything over and above standard package offered with this layoff - like 6 month pay 2). How many months you have till you must leave - two months as per contract ? Who will handle all the complex logistics with family packing shipment and travel 3). What happens to vacation we were all forced to book and get approved in advance like in July and August. I have a funny feeling - they may make us to use vacation time to pack and go... Nothing surprises me anymore - great generous, welcoming and fair company I joined over decade ago is no more.... Did not take much for "leaders and managers" to turn xxx to face in record time !
These posts appear to be written by the propaganda machine, Arabian Sun or AramcoEx.
This initial wave was targeted at expats. Not the types described by some here as whining, ungrateful, etc. Saudi Aramco is like every other soulless corporation. It is not a family. It is a bureaucratic state oil company driven by the will of the government and overburdened with too many employees which with the ill conceived integration of SABIC will bloat even further. Expats are the first wave and this will end with hundreds of Saudis sent packing.
I have much love for the Saudis. But it is inappropriate for them to be hanging out here since they will not be affected by the lay offs. People have different ways of venting. Let those who were laid off do so here. I’m sure when everyone cools down, they will have a more balanced attitide about their time at the company.
Saudis at Aramco need to level up their game. Aramco Expats are overrated.
If you're any good at your job, you have a high chance of being able to get a job anywhere. If you're not that good at your job, keep backstabbing, crawling and hiding.
Well at least they waited until school year was over.
To whoever managing this site, I see that you are deleting the posts that addressed some of the loser’s nasty comments and somehow you saw keeping the nasty comments about Saudi Arabia worth keeping. Is that how it works?
Don’t respond to trolls. This site has rules and the site mods nuke all posts containing foul language and peronal insults and block their IP, so just wait for them to do their job.