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The rapid expansion of multinational firms into geopolitically unstable regions of the world over the past twenty years has created a significant global market demand for contractors willing to provide key services that these companies require. In addition, many of these companies that require contractors are themselves contractors in some capacity, usually working for some government agency or a military branch. Because working with contractors has proven to be an effective and relatively inexpensive ways for governments and militaries to have their needs met, primary defense and government service firms have grown greatly, which in turn spurs a serious need for subcontractors, as well as employees, that can aid them in performing the tasks that they have been paid to achieve. In addition, the number of private military corporations has risen significantly in recent years, thanks to the increasing need for armed security personnel in situations where companies need to protect their employees and assets abroad.
Overseas contractor jobs are in relatively high demand at the present time. There are a number of reasons that this is the case: the global economy has caused a stagnation in hiring in regions that were previously quite prosperous; regions that were previously stable are now plagued by violence and crime due to piracy, organized criminal activity, militant activity, or worse, terrorism; companies are now expanding their operations to areas of the world that were previously written off as too dangerous or too unfriendly to risk expanding into. These factors and many more have greatly increased the need for expatriate contractors worldwide. In addition, companies (and even governments) around the globe are increasingly comfortable with the idea of outsourcing key elements of their operations to third-party contractor firms. These contractor firms are often able to provide their customers with access to personnel with expertise that is far superior to that of their own personnel.
Overseas contractor jobs can usually be split into three distinct categories. Some overseas contractors will provide valuable service labor to the organization or company that pays a contractor for their services. Other overseas contractors will work on high-tech projects that involve the deployment or maintenance of some kind of information technology, infrastructure (power, water, telecommunications, transportation), or weapons and/or defense project. Still others will be focus on providing security services, which includes offering body guard service, surveillance, perimeter protection, escort services, and even intelligence gathering services to their clients. It is quite common to see that all three of the above categories mixed within a single contractor firm that specializes in expatriate labor, and it is equally common to find instances where firms from any of the three categories work together on a regular basis, since one kind of contractor will eventually require the services of another.
Contractors that provide basic labor services are quite common. There are a number of overseas installations – whether maintained by governments or by private enterprises – that require a huge amount of labor to keep running. This is particularly the case with large-scale projects, such as the construction and maintenance of oilfields, or the construction and day to day operation of a military base or company compound. Hence, there are overseas contractor jobs available for kitchen staff, chefs, hospitality personnel, lawyers, doctors, counselors, psychologists, teachers, information technology specialists, building maintenance or facilities engineers, electricians, and a huge plethora of other individuals that have skillsets essential to running a smooth operation. In some cases – particularly with companies that provide oilfield services – having skilled laboratory technicians that are ready to respond to minute-to-minute needs for analysis of compounds is a valuable boon to profitability and efficiency.
Defense and technology contractors also often carry out various operations abroad. They are almost certainly carried out at the behest of a government, though they can sometimes be carried out in order to meet the needs of another company. In some cases, technology or information technology firms will find themselves being utilized as a “subcontractor” employed by another company. These firms will usually be responsible for the deployment of technology systems – such as oil rigs, seismic testing equipment, telecommunications infrastructure, computing systems, etc. – or the deployment of weapons and defense systems. The latter category includes everything from upgrading military hardware with the latest retro-fittings, or the deployment of equipment such as radar systems. In addition, these types of contractors will quite often be employed in order to provide critical maintenance and repair services while these systems are utilized for day to day operations. Contractors that provide support for weapons systems in war-zones often find that their work role can eventually shift into providing infrastructure for the region.
Lastly, there are private military companies that employ civilian contractors for overseas work. These companies are commonly misunderstood to be “mercenary” companies – which is certainly not the case. Historically, mercenaries were “guns for hire” that worked on behalf of a military force or warlord. They were used to bolster the offensive power of that military force or warlord. However, reputable western countries to not become involved in this kind of behavior. Instead, they provide key security services to governments, military agencies, or companies that need to have their equipment, their land, their installations, or their employees protected. The contractors that work for a private military contractor usually have large amounts of either law enforcement experience, or uniformed military service experience under their belt. They are generally deployed in the field with equipment comparable to that worn by a ground soldier, and work in teams to secure locations, objects, buildings, and persons. In unstable regions, they will usually accompany a shipment of goods in a convoy, or will escort a group of employees from point A to B. By remaining highly visible and very conspicuous, they also act to deter the potential threat of criminal, military, or terrorist attacks on the targets that they are assigned to protect. If a private military contractor team is attacked, then they are authorized to return fire in self-defense; otherwise, they do not involve themselves in combat.