Searching for a job

How / where to find a job when you’re an English speaking expat in Morocco summarizes two different questions:

  • how to work legally in Morocco when you’re a foreigner ? I’ll detail later on the process to get your C.T.E. (Contrat de Travail pour Etranger, Foreigner Employment Contract) approved by the Ministry,  in Rabat, a compulsory step for each contract, each foreigner, however long you stayed in Morocco. You need to understand how Morocco protects its citizen’s access to work by a mechanism called “Préférence Nationale” (National Preference), as it has direct consequences on the type of jobs you can apply for.
  • how to find a job for English speaking people ?

National Preference : you can’t take a position if one can employ a Moroccan instead

Established in 2006, the system states that your future employer has to prove he could not find a Moroccan to take the job.

That goes through a compulsory process : a job advertisement at A.N.A.P.E.C., the national employment agency, interviews and selection of candidates. It’s long and cost money. Many employers are reluctant.

It is possible to hijack this process with very specific requirements that you only can fit (for example, also speak Danish and Brazilian Portuguese, or have made a six month internship in an American company on-site), as long as one can also relate these requirements to the job description. No problem if the job description evolves later on !

Some people are exempted from the A.N.A.P.E.C procedure : they still need to get their contract registered and approved, but don’t need to prove no Moroccan could held the job. Amidst several statuses and nationalities, the most important exception is for spouses of Moroccan citizens.

When married to a Moroccan, you can apply for any job.

When you’re not in one of the exemption cases, you are limited to qualified positions. You would never be able to have a legal “small job”. And that has an impact on language requirements !

What are the languages spoken at work in Morocco ?

You have three main professional languages in Morocco : Standard Arabic (fusHa), Darija, spoken but not written, and French. In general, Moroccan people mix the three languages. Depending of their level of instruction, where they have been at school, whether they have studied in foreign countries, their standard Arabic might be quite poor.

That means that, in a lot of companies, written internal communication might be preponderantly in French, especially for highly qualified jobs. These highly qualified jobs being the only ones you can practically apply for, when you’re not exempted of the A.N.A.P.E.C. procedure.

Option 1 : English is your main language, but you also speak French or Darija

You are a precious and looked for person. You are able to interact with your boss and colleagues, they do not need to translate their instructions, and your English fluency is a precious asset for your company, as soon as it handles foreign customers.

Exportations, foreign trade, relationships with international organizations like ONE, OECD, Peace Corps, etc. , relocation services for English speaking people or non-French speaking people (like we do here, at Pacamny), tourism (though it might not be very dynamic now), English-speaking African countries (an emerging market for Morocco), etc.

You don’t need to be fully fluent, you need not to be a hassle for your company’s management. In general, except for tourism, the kind of positions you can apply for would be offered by companies working mainly with French language. In any case, Darija would be OK.

Option 2 : You don’t speak French nor Darija nor Standard Arabic

Things get much more difficult.

You’ll be limited to the “English speaking expat bubble” : language teacher, teacher in English schools, or tourism related jobs. The small world of Morocco – Maghreb related English speaking media is fiercely competitive and difficult to enter if you want to get a decent salary.

You might have the luck to find a job in the few international companies in Morocco that have a culture of speaking English. That was the case of Nokia several years ago, I don’t know how things evolve. These companies are very few, mainly consulting practices like McKinsey or Arthur Andersen.

The best option would be to create your company and work for customers, here in Morocco, or anywhere in the world, as a technomad.

As a service provider, it’s not as important that you speak French or Arabic. You just have to deal with your customer, but it’s not necessary that you understand the company’s internal process, that you communicate with HR, accounting, etc.

Resources for finding a job

You speak only English

The British Chamber of Commerce, the American Chamber of Commerce and the International Chamber of Commerce do not publish job offers. Nevertheless, all three have a public listing of their members, which you might send your CV to.

The American Embassy publish job offers, there are not a lot.

You can find here a rather comprehensive listing of English schools in Morocco. It includes language schools and international schools. This one includes multilingual schools like Lyautey and other French schools (OSUI-AEFE network) which might be interesting if you also speak some French.

Expat.com has a dedicated job board in English for Morocco.

You also have many expat groups on Facebook. Be careful. Many people on these groups try to find low paid employees, not even granting them a legal contract. Do not accept that, as it might lead to serious problems.

This being said, these groups are also very helpful, with a real solidarity.

Here are some of them, to which I belong :

You speak French and/or Darija

The largest job board in Morocco is Rekrute.com (or Rekrute.ma, does not make a difference). It’s in French, but you can search positions with the keyword “English”.

Emploi.ma is also a large job board. I follow their Twitter account, and there is a large variety of job offers.

The American Chamber of Commerce has a CV database of “bilingual candidates interested in working and or interning in an Anglophone environment”, you might contact them.

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