By Ms. Adriane Elliot (OPMSANG)May 9, 2016
If you're an engineer, the Office of the Program Manager-Saudi Arabian National Guard wants you.
OPM-SANG's Technical Affairs Division has a shortage of civil engineers and construction representatives in grades GS-12 and GS-13.
"Our requirement is between 18 and 20 engineers and 8 to 10 construction representatives," Army civilian and OPM-SANG's civil engineer Muhammad Khan said. "We currently have about 50 percent of the required staff."
Khan said they are looking for civil and project engineers, project managers, mechanical engineers and construction representatives to fill GS-13 positions. Applicants can be GS-12s who are eligible for promotion.
"For the construction branch, we need project engineers who have experience in managing medium to large construction projects. For the advisory branch, we are seeking engineers and project managers with a mix of design and construction experience," Khan said.
Applicants for construction representative positions can be GS-12s or GS-11s are eligible for promotion to 12. "But they must have experience in quality assurance and safety on medium to large construction projects," said Khan, noting that the ongoing construction projects vary in costs from $30 million to $200 million.
With a total of approximately $700 million in construction contracts, employees can expect to stay busy, find the job rewarding and grow professionally. Khan said U.S. engineers in Saudi Arabia have built schools and hospitals for America's partner nation and are constructing military facilities, ranges, warehouses and an air base.
He explained that building partner nation capacity bolsters stability in the Middle East and keeps U.S. troops off foreign soil, calling the mission a critical component of national security.
But those aren't the only reasons employees pack their bags for faraway locations.
Thanks to the added financial bonuses of working for the U.S. Army in Saudi Arabia, Khan said he was able to put his son and daughter through medical school.
He readily admits his situation is unique. While most employees spend one to five years at OPM-SANG, he and his wife have been there for more than 17 years.
Khan said everyone has their reasons for working abroad, but affording his children a debt-free start in life comes with no regrets.
Income and time off
OPM-SANG employees receive a near 30 percent pay increase with post differential, cost of living allowance and Sunday premium pay, on top of an individual's regular salary.
Employees who accept assignments with OPM-SANG store their household goods and vehicles in the U.S. and are provided furnished villas and new automobiles at no cost. Rent, utilities, cable TV, cell phone and fuel for the vehicles are also free.
Khan said additional savings come in the form of tax-free shopping on the compound, and about $4,000 for off-duty travel is given to each employee.
For those who like to travel, he said time off is not an issue. Civilian employees' leave time almost doubles with overseas home leave, and host nation and U.S. federal holidays provide plenty of time to explore.
Travel and culture
"That's another reason I like living and working here," Khan said. "It's a great opportunity to visit nearby locations like Dubai or faraway places like Turkey, with all of its history and beauty."
On top of the benefits that most people enjoy, he said he and his wife have the benefit of socializing with people of similar backgrounds. A U.S. citizen who was raised in Pakistan, Khan and his wife frequent various ethnic restaurants throughout the capitol city of Riyadh, and are often able to speak to restaurant workers in his native tongue - Urdu, a language very similar to Hindi, the official language of India.
Spouses and safety
Khan said many spouses who accompany their employed mate tend to enjoy the adventure. For those who choose not to work, shopping, traveling and self-improvement are preferred pastimes. And for those spouse who choose to work, the organization tries to help them find jobs.
As for personal security, he said he and his wife have never felt unsafe or unprotected.
"We go out regularly, along with other OPM employees dining, shopping and visiting other cities such as Jeddah and Dammam," Khan said. "I or other friends never felt any threat, and generally Saudis are friendly."
Khan called OPM-SANG a great personal and professional environment and encouraged engineers who are interested in working abroad - for financial benefits, adventure or patriotism - to visit www.usajobs.gov and apply today.
OPM-SANG advises, assists, trains and manages the foreign military sales investment in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's National Guard modernization effort. OPM-SANG is a subordinate organization of the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command.