Working in Cambodia?

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Working in Cambodia

When working in Cambodia, a lot of things are often unclear to expats. The economy, the job search, social security, taxation, and work permits – all these aspects can be quite confusing. Read our Expat Guide for advice on these topics concerning working in Cambodia.

At a Glance:

  • Garment-making and tourism are the main economic sectors in Cambodia, but skilled professionals are also highly sought after.
  • Whether you want to teach English or work in a multinational company, online portals are the best place to start your job search.
  • You don’t need to be granted permanent residency in Cambodia in order to be considered a resident there, so you will most likely still be taxed.

Cambodia’s Economy: A Slow Recovery

Since the end of the Khmer Rouge regime, Cambodia’s economy has seen a slow and steady recovery. Following the long conflict in Cambodia, the country began receiving foreign aid, which it is still heavily reliant on.

The garment industry is the most important part of Cambodia’s manufacturing sector, and one of the biggest contributors to the country’s economy, accounting for about 80% of all exports, and employing around 700,000 workers, around 90% of whom are women.

The tourism industry is another source of income for Cambodia, with the country boasting several popular tourist hotspots, most significantly the Angkor Wat temple. Since 2007, the number of visitors to the country each year has exceeded two million. In 2016, Cambodia welcomed just over five million visitors.

Still, Cambodia is one of the poorest countries in the world, struggling with corruption, limited access to quality education, and significant income inequality. The adoption of a free market economy in the 1990s, as well as opening up to foreign investment, enabled rapid economic growth in Cambodia. Yet, at the same time, this has led to increased consumerism and great inequality among its citizens. If you plan on working in Cambodia, you should be aware that the job prospects are not the best or most varied, and expat salaries are generally not as high as in many other countries.

How to Find a Job in Cambodia

If the state of the country’s economy has not changed your mind about working in Cambodia, then it is a good idea to start looking for a job as soon as possible. As mentioned above, the job situation is rather poor. However, as a highly-skilled professional, you might have somewhat of an advantage.

Teaching English

Many foreigners working in Cambodia are there as part of their travels, looking to experience a new culture for a while and work while doing so. If you are not looking for a career at the moment, and are simply looking to earn enough to cover basic living expenses, then teaching English could be a good option. Cambodia has lots of private language schools which are constantly looking for new staff. Bear in mind that these jobs are usually poorly paid, but should provide you with enough to get by and enjoy your life while living in Cambodia. These are some websites which can be useful in finding a teaching job overseas:

International travel and teaching websites, such as Go Abroad, can also help you find a teaching job in Cambodia. You can also visit language centers and international schools in person once in the country, and inquire about a job opening. Keep in mind that you will likely need teaching qualifications to work in an international school.

The Job Hunt

If you are looking for more than just a run-of-the-mill teaching job, you should probably find out which of the international companies are hiring. Not only will they pay more, they might also be looking for someone with just your qualifications. There are two English-language daily newspapers with job listings, the Cambodia Daily and the Phnom Penh Post. Additionally, you can turn to one of the general online classifieds if you plan on working in Cambodia:

Because of the relative ease with which you can secure a visa and a work permit in Cambodia, many expats decide to start their own business there. If you plan on working in Cambodia but want to remain your own boss, this might be the perfect opportunity for you.


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