Historically, Cambodia has consistently one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, despite being hindered by a high poverty rate, corruption and low per-capita income rate. In 2020, however, the country's economy showed negative growth for the first time in many years due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Nevertheless, expats may find jobs available for them. Depending on the type of work an expat is interested in, finding a job on the ground in Cambodia can be easier than securing one before arriving in the country. That said, the recruitment of professionals is usually organised in advance through recruitment agencies, and expats may find that the salary offered to an in-country candidate is lower than that of someone outside of the country.
Job market in Cambodia
Expats will find that agriculture is the most dominant economic sector in Cambodia. Other booming sectors include textiles, construction and garments. Tourism is the fastest-growing industry in Cambodia, with an influx of Japanese and South Korean tourists frequenting the country each year. Expats who are able to speak the local language (Khmer) or another Asian language will have an advantage when looking for work in this sector.
Teaching English is also a popular choice among expats. As schools prefer to meet the teacher before offering them the job, going to schools personally to submit one's CV can be a more fruitful process.
Finding a job in Cambodia
The English-language newspapers, such as the Phnom Penh Post and Cambodia Daily, have a wide array of job listings. Alternatively, the internet is always a valuable resource when looking for jobs. For a fee, expats can also consult a recruitment agency in order to enlist the help of an expert.
Work culture in Cambodia
As is the case in many Southeast Asian countries, the work culture in Cambodia leans toward the formal has a clear top-down hierarchical structure. Business decisions tend to be exclusively made by the higher-ups with little to no consultation with employees. For expats used to a more egalitarian workplace, this may take some getting used to.
►See Doing Business in Cambodia for information about the local business culture
"The country as a whole is a tough nut to crack in terms of making any money. Most expats come here with an NGO or as a volunteer for a short period. Teachers, it seems, are able to earn enough to sustain a decent standard of living, either in a school or as a TEFL language teacher at the numerous language schools here. I would advise people to make sure they have a job lined up before they come, as finding one is likely to take a long time, if at all. Salaries are low and hours are long."
Read more of Clare's expat interview about living in Cambodia.
Are you an expat living in Cambodia?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Cambodia. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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