If the notion of working overseas appeals to you, especially in connection with the Department of Defense (“DOD”) or Department of State (“DOS”), you may be in luck as more federal dollars are likely lining up to fund those jobs. Federal civilian employment showed steady increases from 2004 to 2010, when it largely flattened off and then dipped slightly in 2012. Overall, the civilian government jobs workforce showed only modest increases from 2004 to 2012 (the last year the Government Accountability Office (GAO) provided numbers), as the DOD and DOS posted significant gains.
More importantly, while President Trump has pledged repeatedly to reduce the overall number of federal jobs, his affinity for those key Cabinet-level departments and other national security interests has resulted in an increase in spending to support the respective agendas, which likely means more jobs for civilian contractors. As a recruiter from a national search firm in Chicago says, “So much hinges on what the President does, but those departments seem to be some of the safest of all for contractors…”
Contractors face a bevy of opportunities.
What he means is civilian contractors may have a host of job opportunities in areas that support the President’s agenda overseas. Most open jobs, though, are related to the military and security and makeup approximately 50% of the civilian contractor opportunities overseas. Job opportunities range from construction, education, engineering, healthcare, security, telecommunications, hospitality, and even transportation.
Several job search sites claim that “courageous civilians fill these roles to help manage and improve conflict in post-conflict areas.” These areas include places such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, Kosovo, Korea, Turkey, and numerous countries in Africa. Even someone a little behind on current events knows that some of these countries do not maintain the rosiest relations with the United States, and the countries that do – Britain, Canada, and Germany – are usually not clamoring for U.S. contractors. According to the DOD’s August 2017 report, there were over 29,000 civilian contractors working overseas in these areas.
What should a civilian contractor expect if he or she were to pursue these opportunities overseas? The answer would largely depend on location. A mechanic in Japan would face a completely different lifestyle than a security specialist in Iraq. However, with a lower quality of life, comes better pay.
A few things one can expect:
- A willingness – if not an eagerness – to assimilate to vastly different cultures
- A 12-hour workday and 7-day work week with no weekend time off
- Very subpar living quarters compared to American standards
Clearly, life as a civilian contractor is not for everyone. So you ask, why would someone be willing to move overseas to third-world countries and give up the safety and security of living in the states? Simple; the money. Civilian contractors working overseas are usually paid 3-4 times as much as they would performing the same or similar job stateside. Depending on the job, civilian contractors working overseas can easily make upwards of $100,000+ annually while the same job in the United States would only pay half. The better question to ask is whether the overseas salaries for civilian contractors offset the inherent risks involved with the work performed in the post-conflict areas. From exposure to hazards of war to minimal medical options, it is a judgement call that every civilian contractor must make.
Defense Base Act coverage for civilian contractors working overseas.
In addition to lucrative pay and job opportunity, the Defense Base Act (“DBA”) serves as workers’ compensation coverage for many civilian contractors working overseas. Under the DBA, civilian contractors injured or killed while working overseas are entitled to lost-wage compensation and medical benefits. In most cases, the DBA provides better, more comprehensive benefits than many stateside workers’ compensation systems. Knowing that you will be covered in the event you are hurt should certainly make the decision of becoming a civilian contractor more palatable. However, many civilian contractors are not aware that DBA benefits exist. Those that do likely know the difficulty involved with dealing with the insurance companies responsible for providing such benefits.
Injured overseas? Let RITE law guide your way.
RITE law, have a vast knowledge of the inner workings of the DBA and have accumulated a great deal of experience working with civilian contractors that are injured overseas and covered under the DBA. Because of their experience, they understand the difficulties civilian contractors face when they return stateside due to injury when many people they return to simply cannot relate. In addition, they take pride in helping those who are injured during their ongoing efforts of service and support to our U.S. military. For additional information about injuries overseas or benefits under the Defense Base Act, contact RITE law for a free consultation at 904-500-7483 or visit their website at https://www.rite4justice.com/.