Jobs in the UAE

As the economic troubles continue to blight Europe and good full-time work remains hard to come by in the UK more and more Brits are looking to the UAE and other Arab countries for work. The UAE allows plenty of foreigners into the country to work but all of these arrivals are almost exclusively on temporary contracts. You should be aware that the demand for foreign workers may gradually come to a halt over the next few years as the UAE has made major investments into education and welfare that they hope will one day lead to the country becoming self-sufficient in terms of labour.

The majority of jobs available in the UAE are for multinational corporations with oil, gas and international commerce being the main sectors for employment.

Recruitment agencies

The best way to find work in the UAE is to sign up to a recruitment agency. The distance between the UK and the UAE means that it is often necessary to use agents to act as middlemen. Private recruitment consultants and head-hunters in western countries, particularly in London and New York deal with most managerial jobs in the country.

Agencies tend to specialise in particular areas of work e.g., medical staff, computer experts, accountants etc… Recruitment agencies in the cities are useful for placing expats in local employment and can help expat wives get a job. Be aware that there are numerous regulations controlling the employment of spouses with separate work visas being needed.

Here are links to a few agencies;

Women workers

Special mention has to be made of the way women are treated in the work place. For a long time women were often not allowed to work but these days that is slowly changing. Most women work as nurses, doctors or in the finance sector. It is extremely tough for native women to gain promotion at work and it’s near impossible for a foreigner. Most expat workers are male with their wives often having a restriction in their passport preventing them from getting a job. Those few expat women that can get a job are generally safe in the workplace but must be careful to not be too friendly with Arab men as this can be mistaken for flirting.

Working conditions

Salaries in the UAE are similar to those found in Western countries but the big draw is that a worker does not have to pay any personal taxation, meaning that income is a lot higher. This lack of taxation is the main draw of the UAE for foreign workers. The working week in the UAE varies between 40-48 hours with office hours being from 8.30 or 9am to 5.30 or 6.00pm, some companies opt to split the day from 8am to 1pm then 4 to 7pm. Friday is the UK’s equivalent of Sunday being the Muslim day of rest and companies use Friday and Saturdays as the weekend.


There are no state pension schemes in Dubai for foreign expatriates, although certain state institutions and some international companies have corporate pension schemes. If you were paying into a state pension scheme while working in your home country, you should continue to do so, even if in a reduced form.