How to Find A Job In Telecom Sector?

jobsBy M. Safi Ur Rehman

Like any other bright students in universities, I was also filled with this impression that I will get graduated with B.Eng in Telecom and will be swimmingly hired by a well-known operator of the country with handsome salary in addition to tons of facilities and luxuries.

However, this didn’t happen. After graduation, I, and almost every class mate of mine, hunted for the job that we had dreamt for. But all efforts turned unsuccessful and we were left with this question only, which most of the Telecom Engineers ask for: “How to Find A Job in Telecom?”

Here is the truth: there are no Jobs in Telecom sector for fresh graduates with no references. You don’t need a hi-fi GPA or anything to grab a job. All you need is a good healthy reference or you will end up finding it hard to get even the unpaid internship.

Pathetic?? Yes it is. And sorry for being too blunt, but that’s the real ground situation, which I am sharing with you only after experiencing it.

If there are no Jobs (for fresh grads without any reference) then how to survive in Telecom market? How to get the job after all? Before I tell you that, let’s go through some useful information regarding telecom sector which wasn’t shared with us before we started our job hunt.

Telecom sector is divided into three categories.

1 – Operator:

We have five operators:

  • UFone,
  • Telenor,
  • Zong,
  • Warid,
  • Mobilink

2  – Vendors:


Operators hire a (network) vendor to build and maintain their Networks. Which means that vendors install the telecom equipment on the operator’s cell sites. List of vendors, which are working in Pakistan is given below:

  • Huawei
  • ZTE
  • Nokia Siemens Network (NSN)
  • Ericsson
  • Motorola
  • Alcatel

Just to let you know, some operators use services of more than one vendor to keep their networking running.

3 – Sub-cons:

Vendors hire sub-cons to do majority of tasks, such as right now Huawei is installing Microwave Links on Zong sites and they have hired Netkom, EESPAK and Tier-4 for this project.

Similarly a vendor hires a sub-con for other specific projects, such as fueling the sites, operations & maintenance of sites, any equipment installation on sites, Microwave surveys, etc.

There are dozens of sub contractors working in Pakistan, but below is the list of major sub-cons operating in Pakistan:

  • Netkom
  • Tier-4
  • AceWorks
  • Celeros
  • Dancom
  • Turno Tech
  • Teleways
  • F&D
  • Interses
  • Hi-Rise
  • Enercom
  • Mobi Serve
  • FIST
  • Vital
  • Hitech
  • Apollo Telecom
  • MySon
  • And many others.

Operators and vendors pay well as compared to the sub-cons. Most of the sub-cons do not pay their employees on monthly basis; they hire an Engineer for Rs. 10,000 per month or maybe even less than that and they pay salaries after 3-4 months. By this, I don’t mean that all sub-cons are bad – but they largely delay salaries.

Now let’s come back to the real question again: How to find a Job?

If you have strong references then you can get Job easily – in such a case (when you gave got a healthy reference) you must try landing into an operator, or vendor at least.

In other case, if you don’t know any big gun then stop dreaming. Try to be realistic and start your career with a sub-con. Get some experience from there, build good relations and then apply in Vendor/Operator.

Finding a Job in a sub-con would be relatively easy. Visit all the sub-cons personally and drop your CV there. Keep following them up and don’t loose hope. Follow up is really important, keep visiting them again and again until they offer you a job.

Join a sub-con with a learning attitude and not for earning money, because 10K-20K isn’t the kind of money that a Engineer deserves. Learn every possible thing that you can. Stay in touch with your seniors, they can be helpful in upcoming days.

The key point to survive in telecom is reference, make them hard and strong because in telecom industry jobs are not advertised on career portals, instead they are shouted out to friends and colleagues through e-mails.

If you are already doing an unpaid internship or job, don’t quit it even if you are not satisfied or even if they are not paying you. Keep doing this job to get the professional experience and the day will come when you will be rewarded for your struggle.

I will suggest that don’t wait for a miracle to happen. You have to struggle by yourself to make your place in Telecom, and struggle with the motto of “Ithy Rakh Sada Haq… ”.

Writer is an ex-student of NUML Telecom Engineering 3rd Batch. Right now he is working as a Transmission Engineer in a Sub-Con.

  • best article so far produced in this industry. the industry is no what like it seems. sifarish and relations are too much important. also their preffered capability is the boy should look like a mummy daddy with good hieght rest if knows nothing still he is a boss.

    • The complete process you have presented is actually pretty good and also practical, it would enable a lot of people to reach the goal they wanted while learning all the way. Although I would like to add that you missed one very important bit, as you already know that the competition is really tough and in this case there are factors other then “sifarish” that come into play. The most important among them is the institute from where you got your education, there is a very good reason why people try hard their whole school and college life in order to secure an admission in the top universities and then work several times harder to get through their rigorous programs just to obtain a degree that also with less grades compared to an institute of lower calibre. We all know which institutes are the top one’s in Pakistan and which are not, and if someone was not able to reach the best one’s because of any reason then that is the first bitter truth that should be realized before any.

  • Healthy tips for a fresh graduate, i must say. BUT saying, there are no jobs for fresh engineers in the telecom sector, is not just inappropriate but completely wrong. Each telecom operator is offering specific number of seats for fresh graduates but for that candidates have to pass the test and interviews. Why test for fresh graduates? because if you look 3-4 years back not so many universities were offering Telecom engineering or even electrical engineering and the count of students passing out every year was also reasonable, but now every university has started to offer telecom engineering without any entry test even, so now you can imagine how many fresh graduates will enter the market after every 06 months and accommodate all in the telecom sector, no way. Also try to understand the fact that telecom sector these days is not as charming as it was 4-5 years ago due to severe energy crisis and security situation of Pakistan, the industry has saturated now….

  • Ok first of all its no longer called “reference” in the modern world. Its called networking.

    Networking helps! and this is not just in the telecom sector in Pakistan but even big companies like Apple, Facebook, Google etc around the world hire (or give preference) to candidates if they are a part of their extended network.

    Secondly the whole idea of ‘networking’ (or reference as you call it) is somewhat justified and I will tell you why.

    That’s because a student who sits at home and applies for a job at waiting for a miracle to happen is no better than one who goes out, spends time in the real world, makes contacts, makes friends, meets people.

    And the other assumption you made that says there are no jobs for fresh graduates in the telecom sector, you are wrong! I am in it and I see it. You will get a fair chance as to compete in the real word as long as “Proficient in MS Word, MS Excel” aren’t the only highlights on your resume.

    The wise will understand my point.

    • Saad, you not accepting the realities. there are few in hundred jobs which are given in TE sector on merit basis. And believe me, uss banday ki matt mar detay han company walay with night shifts and all donkey work.

      • listen dear i know almost hundrads of engineers from my uni and other and i never heard from any of them that they got job on merit if it is happening as you are saying than at least one of them should got the job but i am sorry to say not a single one even the topper whom i know….so jhoti talsian daine ka kui faida nai he

    • You are mixing up networking which is a positive practice and nepotism which is well you know. I doubt if the big corps you mentioned would be hiring based in sifarish

      • Well i was almost hired in another well-reputed company (don’t wanna say expose it) but my name dropped from the list as the other competitor find a “relative” in the company, u can imagine how mad i was.

    • I too at first tried finding jobs using rozee and other such websites.
      Gave interview in Alcatel and wi-tribe but because of having no strong
      networks and no strong references.

      Even holding a 4yrs Bachelors degree with an CCNA certification and CCNP
      trainee degree i failed to get jobs at the places where i dreamed off.
      Then i start working in call-centers and other low places with less

      Now i’m working as a individual freelancer as n/w engg. Having 60k+
      salary. I still want to work for wi-tribe as i want to be part of them,
      but i don’t see that coming. I even of have professional relationship
      with peoples who are either manager, HR, director operations…still i
      don’t see that coming.

      Having network in such places does count, but its the reference that work like a trump card.

    • You are correct for most part of your comment. But are you proficient in
      Ms Word, MS Excel???? Are YOU????. But the one who is, let him breath
      some air please

      In our universities , the main thing we lack is that there is no
      relationship between the industry and education. By that I mean to say
      that the writer has given so many names for Sub-Con , and I do not know
      if any university in Pakistan has any connection with them.

      If the universities cant make some deals for its students to work as an
      internee in some big firms, I think they can make some connection with
      the sub-con.

      Because most of the students in the universities come from other cities.
      The natives might have some ideas of sub cons or different companies,
      but the students coming from remote areas have little knowledge.

      Therefore I suggest that there should be strong connection between industry and academia

    • Networking ..chalo yar a jao mere sath karu networking kui nai kam ata kisi ke untill unless you have a strong realtion ship with him

    • Bro can you please explain the difference between “networking or reference” and “Sifarish”. I am confused. Thanks

    • Saad. all the above things which writer told are true and real. You didn’t worked in telecom sector (Deployment etc). The hierarchy here is totally different. For a newbie there is no room without reference which you called networking. I have experienced the same situation after completion of my engineering.I waited for 6 months to get an internship in a subcontractor. Subcon experience is nightmare for all engineers.We have to work 48 hrs without sleeping and they give us just 3000/month. Risking our lives,sleeping at sites,long traveling,salaries even less then a labor man. We all need to raise voice against these issues.People like you who have influence in blogosphere should write something about policy making or some strict rules for subcontractors.

  • I think If you have a good reference, You wouldn’t need to do all these thing at all. Still even in Sub cons you need reference. Visiting them and CV drop wouldn’t give you job as the hiring party is above to those to whom you drop the CV and you have also mention that it’s hard to get unpaid internship. I strongly believe that time has come for building institute in pakistan for practical work where we practice on real machines full time so that fresh graduates they can have experience from those institute and apply overseas. But that’s only my opinion.

  • Now this is for people aspiring to grab a technical degree from any university. Although it is simple demand and supply formula under which many universities that had never thought of offering technical degrees has started churning out technical undergrads in biblical proportion. Here there is a big imbalance in the demand and supply equation. Each year 4, 50,000 (Four Lac Fifty Thousand) engineers with little knowledge of the modern trends in their relevant industry are thrown in the market. Universities need more and more new entrants in newly offered programs to ensuring their sustainability. They are least pushed about what happens next to their undergrads in the job market.
    We need to have a survey conducted as to what is required by the market against we our universities are producing. Secondly the CV writing skills of our undergrads are painfully horrible (I too being blunt here). All that they want is a job. Well your employer can train you in your technical field but he will nerve let you learn communication skills at his cost. Resumes that are well written, visually attractive (good formatting and not the coloring) and error free are skimmed for detailed scrutiny.
    Kindly shun this notion of reference and networking it is basically the skill set and a polished personality that matters to the employers notwithstanding the choking job market. Will you hire an engineer from a non-accredited institution – put yourself in the shoes of an employer. Getting a degree is one thing and preparing yourself for the job market is another.
    Go read success stories on the LUMS website where graduates are hired by the Microsoft in one year prior to their commencement. I know very few can afford LUMS. Such stories are replete in other institutions as well. One has to best of the best.
    Let me say today even the CEO of Mobilink cannot give a job to engineering graduate. Let me conclude with the statement from Jack Welch-Former CEO General Electric – “You have got to be on the cutting edge of change. You can’t simply maintain status quo, because somebody’s always coming from another country with another product, or consumer tastes change, or the cost structure does, or there’s a technology breakthrough.”
    “If you’re not fast and adaptable, you’re vulnerable. This is true for every segment of every business in every country in the world”


    • Bro I have only a little knowledge ISP’s Organizational Structure that’s I haven’t talked about it. And I guess ISP’s doesn’t hire Sub-Cons to do their Dirty work. Its only the Operators :D

      • I am not talking about sub-cons, all I am saying is that isps also comes under the category of Telecom. But anyways you have got this superb information. Don’t lose hope and keep trying. You will succeed InshAllah. Best wishes for you!

  • Networking or reference they both are same in both cases means you have a “PAWA” …if not than follow the tips of butt there is no place for fresh graduates this is reality and we have to accept this reality.

  • The main reason which all of you are missing that in Pakistan Telecom industry is just like a School. There is no research and Development. So all they do in offices is mostly sitting in front of screens and monitoring systems or just checking faults. so they dont need too many people for this kind of job and there is no need to be a professional degree for such work.

  • It should be the responsibility of universities and institutes to recommend their students as part time worker or internee in corresponding fields. So we can get industry experience and social contacts for future growth. Unfortunately most of universities in our country are not 100% capable to give education of modern world technologies even proportion of teachers do not know what is going on in market.

    Last thing which is not directly concern with this topic is that an evaluation test should be held on every year for teachers to check whether they are updated or outdated :-)

  • Hello mates, my all symapthies to fresh blood graduated and hunting job. Let me say something on this article. for every descison either job / business you sould consider PESTL(political,economical,social,legal & technological) factors first and unfortunately all 4 factors except technological is worst in our blessed country… As one said arrounf 5lacs graduates qualifies every year from different universities of Pakistan and is there any 5Lacs job available ? just analyse if you targeting 5 operators how many technical jobs they offering. Point to mention is tht telco sector is also on maturity phase (since 3G not announced) why you stick on only teleco sector only ? If you unsuccesful to get job in Pakistan , then world is yours and calling you just visit dubai/singapore/malaysia/europe and get a start and start minting monies for yourself and your family.. why you not come our from box P.S i bet you if you get job in pakistan and then after 5 years ytou will be de-motivated due to pakistani’s mentality and start exploring other options to go abroad so why not now , why dont you think now… think big and get big.. May prays and wishes to all job hunters… abdul !

  • I have read a lot of aspects on the given topic. But in my view of of the most important aspect is that there are so many telecommunications institutes nowadays with no standards and are recognized by PEC since they pay them for it, and they are just giving degrees.

  • Dear Author, No wonder you were not hired in any decent company, you are not in tune with the market, for instance, did you know that motorola ceased to exist in start of 2011 when NSN bought it.

    Learn the difference between link/sifarish/pawa & just having a network. Its an ugly reality, but lets not exaggerate it.

    Please learn to work on your weaknesses, become a more acceptable candidate by bringing something extra on the table (that would be skills & attitude, not sifarish / pawa or a bag of cash)

    I speak with authority on the subject, because I have recruited 100s of telecom engineers at all levels in Pakistan & internationally.

    • Sir this is what really happens in the Job Search, I am telling you exactly what i have been through and what I am seeing because many of my class fellows are still jobless. Everyone wants to survive and many many students are doing other courses like CCNA, RF Planning, MW Surveys etc. but they are still job less. Why? Because they don’t have any Reference/Pawa/ whatever you name it. and those who have any reference they don’t even need these extra courses.
      Well I am still hopeful that the Time with Change :)

  • I am working in USA in Telecom sector and I make $16000 per month.I worked in Mobilink (2000-2003).I hold a BE-NED and MBA degree.If I return to pakistan I will not get a good job there.Pakistan’s Telecom market is in crisis and its completely saturated.In Pakistan only Bank is the way to go.Banking sector of Pakistan is still getting good investment whereas Telecom have no scope anymore.

  • One of the very very informative topic. I have done BE Telecom with 89% but I am unemployed since last 10 months. And now it was becoming a horrible situation for me to decorate the title of unemployed on my forehead any more.

    I visited all these sub contractors in Karachi. Out of 12 only 2 interviewed me on the spot and continuously asked me for any reference while the rest of 10 companies even did not bothered to look at my Resume.

    I have applied to almost all ISPs as well so no response from them. I have applied to all TV Channels as well no response from them. Finally now I have realized that what if I start coaching students for Mathematics, Physics, Telecom Subjects and few programming subjects. This is the only thing where I can at least earn an amount that can I utilize at least for my survival and then get some programming certifications like PHP, DotNet,HTML & WordPress and yes of course and database SQL as well like Oracle.

    Try to do MS computer science and your job chances will be multiplied many times because you will now have sound knowledge from software engineering as well as telecom engineering side and you can easily do lecturer ship or you can join any software house etc. Well this is my planning for myself after eid and I request you all to think about your future.

    Think to get job so that at least you can do something for your survival. And I am sorry to say that it is against the dignity of an engineer to work unpaid or to work on a salary that is less than a peon or guard. So leave this field and join any other where you can earn money and respect both.. Bye Bye Telecom. No more..

  • @SaadHamid: is saying this cuz i m very sure he got his job by reference or so called according to him networking so he will defend it. Btw even if you have network of friends they dn’t do much for u n for getting job u need strong ref. Wot do u think ref is rite thing. I consider it just like a bribe it’s exactly the same as you are taking seat of a talented person by using your ref. No your ans is not justified in any case. Btw i forgot i cannot blame or anyone here as this country is full of corruption so why can’t people be little corrupt. And it is so true ” We have bad Politicians because we are bad and they are one of us “. I hope everyone got my point.

  • Hello Friends, let me share my personal experience with you, I have done MBA (Telecom Management, IIUI, CGPA 3.9, Gold Medal), I have been called three times for interview on merit basis in one of top telecom operator, I passed all initial interviews, but by God dont know why after final HR interview I get no answer :( i think there is still some place for merit, but individuals in operator pollute atmosphere.

  • everythingu write is ok but one thing i feel regret you dont mention komkonsult in subcon is large subcon u ever mention sir :(

    • u are right, they mentioned turnotech, which is a small subcon, and didnt mention komKonsult and LCC… i think they have mentioned subcons who work for huawie, not ericsson

  • PTCL is another Pakistani telecom provider, and by far the largest of all listed above, and have been skipped in the post.

  • The demand and
    supply curve is very drastically shifted in past five years, these days not a
    single industry is looking for fresh graduates, when experienced one are easily
    available to work at the same salary. Networking is important, but reference always
    supersedes all networking in real life. Never consider yourself misfit for any
    position/company/place, its part of experience in life and that grows with professional

  • I would definitely add my experience as I suffered from joblessness around 2 years. That was my mistake that I was waiting and kept on waiting. But one thing I did that during this period, I go through every telecom training, i.e. on Transmission (M/w + Fiber), RF & other access network trainings. And that really created the difference.

    The educational & industrial gap do exists, but be practical & acquire professional trainings from xpedient, commsolutions, etc. they will tell you the difference.

  • friends, i m frm india , nd accidentaly bumped here,
    but, things are 100% same here.
    all thing starting frm operators, vendors & sub-cons,
    then also nothing is diff about refrences. Only gud refrences can give u job, nothing else.i dont want 2 go in detail but we r also suffering in telecom here a u are

  • Hi Brother and Sister,

    who wants to join me and lets open a Consulting Company in Pakistan (Germany based) providing service > Network Measurement&Tesing, Network Engineering and Security.

    [email protected]

  • assalam o alaikum
    u r right brthr unfortunately in every field, refrenc is required…. there is no job for us…. because we have no refrnc…..

  • Very well written Saif.
    Honesty, sincerity and straight forwardness hold a great virtue and i congratulate you for conveying these successfully through your blog. (Y)

  • what to say of “Leading Universities”. i think they are the real killers of our youth. they take in the “Cream” and then do nothing with them ,wasting their time with ugly course content and shitty schedules.
    I graduated from “NUST”, got an IDEAL GPA, nice set of skills,huge “Networking” grounds, but no “REFERENCE/SIFARISH”. so no JOB.
    Bahe logo , tension na lo idr sab ka yae haal ha, kia NUST aur kia NUML.
    Sub-cons can be real solution to the prevaling job situation if they are run through some strict policies.(Specially the Pay matters)
    Min Wage in Pakistan for non technical person(Mazdoor) was 10,000 in Musharaff time.Sub-cons are insult to all of us ,they are real Terrorists.

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