- Download our Moving to Ghana Guide (PDF)
Expats working in Ghana will find a country that abounds with natural resources, from gold and bauxite to cocoa and offshore oil reserves. It has a much higher per capita output compared to the poorest countries in West Africa, but Ghana remains dependent on international financial and technical assistance. Still, Ghana has a fast-growing economy, competing and engaging in international markets.
The service and manufacturing sectors largely contribute to Ghana’s GDP, while agriculture remains the primary source of income for many Ghanaians.
Many people relocating to Ghana move to volunteer for a short period rather than work. Those with the right skills and expertise, though, will enjoy Ghana's bright longer-term work climate.
Job market in Ghana
While the prospect of farming is unlikely to tempt foreigners to leave their homes and work in Ghana, there are countless private-sector opportunities in the mining, oil, gas and shipping industries, as well as construction, trade and finance. There is also substantial diplomatic representation in Ghana given the relative peace and stability in the country, and foreign diplomats are likely to find a place in this sector.
Ghana’s large service sector is a driving force behind its economy. Tourism is a vital industry thanks to the country’s political stability. This has created a high level of safety and a positive perception of the country among tourists, and as a result, there are many secure jobs in hospitality and tourism.
Finding a job in Ghana
For expats fluent in English, language barriers are unlikely to be problematic when looking to find a job in Ghana. Those with suitable qualifications, experience and personal referrals will likely succeed in the job market.
Work permits are essential and are generally organised by and limited to the company that arranges for the expat’s employment, though new arrivals can seek guidance from their respective embassies. Several institutions issue work permits, including Ghana Immigration Services (GIS), Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) and the Ministry of the Interior (MOI). Generally, companies are given a work permit quota based on the amount of money invested in Ghana.
Considering this, most foreigners find work before arriving in Ghana either through companies they’ve worked for previously or through international job listings. Online job portals such as LinkedIn are excellent for finding employment in Ghana. Networking with contacts in Ghana or other expats already working there can also lead to opportunities.
Work culture in Ghana
English is Ghana’s official language, and it is used in the corporate environment. Work culture in Ghana is often a blend of formal and communal attitudes. Respect for hierarchy and seniority is a cornerstone of the corporate culture.
There is also a strong emphasis on community and interpersonal relationships, making the work atmosphere friendly and inclusive. Expats working in Ghana will also have to get used to the fact that time and plans are fluid. Those from Western countries where schedules are strictly adhered to may initially find this frustrating, but it's essential to make time for delays.
Understanding and adapting to the local communication style can significantly benefit expats. Although English is widely used, picking up some basic phrases in the local languages can be appreciated. It’s also vital to observe and understand the indirect communication style to navigate the business environment successfully. Building good relationships with colleagues and being respectful towards cultural nuances will go a long way in establishing a fruitful career in Ghana.
►Visas for Ghana provides information about the paperwork needed to enter the country
►For information on expat money matters, read Banking, Money and Taxes in Ghana
What do expats say about working in Ghana?
"Ghana is a developing country with loads of opportunities. Expats looking to work in Ghana should look into housing, real estate and production. Medical professionals are needed." Read dual-citizen David's interview for more on job opportunities in Ghana.
"Some trailing spouses find short-term employment (typically at local-hire wage rates) through embassies and NGOs, who then organise employment visas." Read Australian expat Chris's interview to get advice for trailing spouses in Ghana.
Are you an expat living in Ghana?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Ghana. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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