Finding a job in Dubai can become a crucial point in anyone’s career: if you do everything right it can considerably advance your career prospects. In addition, you can save a good stash of cash using Dubai tax-free policies.
Whether you’re from Britain or India, the US or Asia, the appeal of Dubai is universal – but how easy is it to find jobs in Dubai? The answer is, it depends on the sector you’re interested in and your own qualifications and experience.
In this article, we’re going to take a detailed look at the employment prospects and job market in the UAE, and how you can go about finding a job in Dubai if you’re interested.
Why finding a job in Dubai can be great for you
In Dubai personal salaries are earned tax-free – this is a leading draw for many considering going to the UAE to work.
If you think that tax isn’t such a big deal, look at our list of 10 best countries to work in to make money and see for yourself how the top ten leaders change after the tax is deducted from the average expat salary. It’s exactly why Dubai is such an attractive destination.
Employment packages are also often very appealing – with the best employers offering everything from an accommodation allowance to flights home, and even money for an employee’s children’s education.
The lifestyle in Dubai is as good as you can find anywhere in the world – assuming you can afford it!
There are beach clubs, shopping malls, a ski slope, cinemas, concerts, waterparks, museums, golf courses, riding schools, a grand prix circuit, public parks, mosques, temples, canals, a zoo and of course many of the world’s most stunning buildings and luxurious hotels.
If you like to work hard and play hard then Dubai could be a brilliant choice for your next career move.
The only downside that you really need to keep in mind is that the lifestyle can also be very expensive. Your tax-free salary can be eroded by the cost of housing, and certainly, if you have children because the cost of schools in Dubai is phenomenal.
If you want to work in Dubai, make sure you look carefully at salaries, and whether your likely salary will afford you the lifestyle you aspire to.
Types of jobs available in Dubai
If you’re a skilled worker it’s likely that Dubai wants and needs you. Top sectors that are employing in Dubai right now range from construction to medicine, from hospitality to education.
The UAE wants to come off oil and start mining IT sector
Many middle-east countries are desperate to diversify and reduce their oil dependency, hence the emphasis on developing service industries.
Currently and in the foreseeable future, IT is the hottest sector in the region pushing back even banking and e-retail.
The governments see the future in technology and are frenziedly competing for foreign investors, technology companies, start-ups, and skilled professionals from all over the world.
No doubt, the UAE is a perfect location for a tech company. It boasts a highly developed internet infrastructure and connectivity, making it ideal for connected start-ups.
There are funds and initiatives to support start-ups developing all kind of innovations in technology including alternative energy, robotics and space exploration.
Top paying jobs in Dubai
These are the skills that are most in-demand in the region:
1. Statistical analysis and data mining
2. Public policy and international relations
3. Algorithm design
4. Web architecture and development framework
5. SEO/SEM marketing
6. Middleware and integration software
7. User interface design
8. Renewable and sustainable energy
9. Mining and commodities
10. Corporate law and governance
IT and innovation jobs are dominating the list, and that’s not the end of the good news. Professionals working in these industries can expect to get paid more compared to the previous years.
Popular expat employment sectors in Dubai
To determine where there are likely to be jobs in Dubai why not look more closely at the Free Trade Zones. It’s where the majority of international companies operate and most international employers are concentrated.
You have Dubai Internet City where most jobs are ICT related, Dubai Media City which incorporates companies and therefore jobs in the broadcasting, advertising, publishing and production sectors.
DIFC (Dubai International Financial Centre) is home to banking, finance and insurance type companies and jobs.
Dubai Maritime City is a service centre for the maritime industry.
The Airport Free Zone is where there’s everything from straight airline related jobs to companies specialising in import and export.
Also, what about the Jebel Ali Free Zone which is the oldest of all the FTZs, the Biotechnology and Research Park, Healthcare City, Logistics City or Knowledge Village.
All of these free zones house companies employing expatriates in everything from management to engineering, construction to finance, education to healthcare, information technology to consultancy.
There are even jobs in the tourism industry, there are opportunities for those who teach English as a foreign language, and if you set your mind to it and look more objectively at your own skill and experience set, you will probably find an employment sector that could benefit from your valuable self.
Tips on job hunting in Dubai
It takes time and effort to secure a well-paying job in Dubai and you might find it harder than many people think.
Here is what you need to keep in mind while you are looking for your dream job in Dubai
The job market in Dubai is saturated
You are not an exception in your pursuit of a professional career in Dubai. Thousands of professionals are trying to get a job there. As a result, there is an oversupply of candidates in some industries. Many of the candidates are prepared to accept lower salaries to win the bid for the job.
The competition is especially high and fierce especially for those working in Finance, IT, HR and Administration.
It can be a bit easier for those skilled professionals working in Healthcare, Education, Consumer & Industrial Products and Engineering & Construction.
Make yourself stand out
Make it easier for your potential employer to choose you over other candidates. Make sure you advertise your skills and experience that differentiate you from the masses of other applicants.
Your chances of getting a job will improve greatly if you speak multiple languages, have worked for big multi-national companies, have had the experience of working outside of your home country and have acknowledged qualification or certifications.
Your CV is important
Your CV should be honed to perfection: no bad formatted, spelling or grammar errors or irrelevant information. It should be professional, correct and to the point.
Look for online resources to help you craft a good CV. Also if you have a professional agent helping you to find a job in Dubai, they usually consult on CVs and cover letters.
One step at a time
Many Dubai employers will prefer somebody with job experience in the Middle East (especially in Dubai) over a candidate who has never worked in Dubai. Or they will offer such candidates a lower salary.
Accepting a lower salary for your first job in Dubai is ok. Consider it the first step in your career in Dubai. It will help you to get a better job offer in future.
Use job portals
Check out and sign up for major regional job portals. The ones worth trying are Dubai Task, Naukrigulf, Khaleej Times Jobs, Dubizzle, Gulftalent, Efinancial Careers, and don’t forget Indeed.
Is your LinkedIn profile up to date?
Make sure your LinkedIn profile states your country of residence, your visa status especially if you have a valid work visa, all major info about you and your skills.
Be active on Linkedin. Check the recruitment pages of Dubai companies. Approach the right people in the right way. If you send a Linkedin request it has more chance to get accepted when you send it with a personal note. You can mention about your skills, visa status, etc. in the note.
Try recruitment agencies
It’s worth sending your CV to as many recruitment agencies as possible. Your best chance is those recruitment companies that have strong track records in the Middle East and are specialised in your industry.
Here are some of them:
- Jivaro Partners (marketing and communications jobs)
- Education 1st Recruitment (eduction jobs)
- ESP International (conferences, events, hospitality)
- MCG & Associates (PR, publishing, marketing and communications jobs)
- Robbert Murray (development, construction, engineering and public sector jobs)
- Robert Half UAE (finance, law, technology )
- BAC Middle East (engineering, marketing and management jobs)
The important thing to remember when looking for a job through an agency is to find companies that take a commission on the employer’s end, not yours. Be wary of recruiters that collect high fees from job-seekers: these tend to be scams.
Check Dubai major companies’ websites
Visit the websites of the major companies in Dubai and check their vacancies pages. If you find a suitable vacancy, it’s worth applying directly through a company’s web-site.
You’ve been offered a job in Dubai. What’s next?
Next is an all-important visa. You will need a visa to work in Dubai, and it’s your employer’s responsibility to sponsor your work permit and residency permit. You will find all you need to know about visas and residency in our working in Dubai guide.
Do everything in the right order: get a secure job offer first. It is not advisable to travel to the emirate on a visit visa and speculatively start seeking work, before taking up a job and trying to get an employment visa.
The thing to keep in mind is that Dubai isn’t seeking to embrace you for life however; it wants temporary workers who leave at the end of their contract or when they are ready to retire.
In other words, Dubai isn’t your typical expat destination where you can set up a new home for life…it’s a relatively transient place with a fast turn over of workers.
Having said that, if you’re happy to earn a tax-free salary for a fixed term, or work to advance your career and experience before moving on, Dubai can make for a very happy temporary home.