United Arab Emirates

  1. About United Arab EmiratesUAE
  2. Working conditions
  3. Sectors and companies that are recruiting
  4. Applying for a job
  5. Major recruitment pointers
  6. Recruitment Resources and networks

1. About United Arab Emirates

The UAE has an open economy with a high per capita income and a sizable annual trade surplus. Successful efforts at economic diversification have reduced the portion of GDP based on oil and gas output to 25%. Since the discovery of oil in the UAE more than 30 years ago, the UAE has undergone a profound transformation from an impoverished region of small desert principalities to a modern state with a high standard of living. The government has increased spending on job creation and infrastructure expansion and is opening up utilities to greater private sector involvement. In April 2004, the UAE signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement with Washington and in November 2004 agreed to undertake negotiations toward a Free Trade Agreement with the US, however, those talks have not moved forward. The country’s Free Trade Zones – offering 100% foreign ownership and zero taxes – are helping to attract foreign investors. The global financial crisis, tight international credit, and deflated asset prices constricted the economy in 2009 and 2010. UAE authorities tried to blunt the crisis by increasing spending and boosting liquidity in the banking sector. The crisis hit Dubai hardest, as it was heavily exposed to depressed real estate prices. Dubai lacked sufficient cash to meet its debt obligations, prompting global concern about its solvency. The UAE Central Bank and Abu Dhabi-based banks bought the largest shares. In December 2009 Dubai received an additional $10 billion loan from the emirate of Abu Dhabi. The economy is expected to continue a slow rebound. Dependence on oil, a large expatriate workforce, and growing inflation pressures are significant long-term challenges. The UAE’s strategic plan for the next few years focuses on diversification and creating more opportunities for nationals through improved education and increased private sector employment.

Read more: Information about United Arab Emirates at www.cia.gov

Population: 5.2 million

GDP per inhabitant (2010): USD 49,600,-

Unemployment rate (09/10): 2.4%

2. Working conditions

Salaries in Dubai are usually similar to or greater than those paid in western countries. But because the region has no personal taxation, net income is usually much greater, which is one of the major attractions of working in Dubai. In the past, remuneration packages were split into various elements: basic salary, car provision or allowance, housing provision or allowance, medical cover, education for children and air tickets for home visits. Today, however, employers tend just to pay a salary, which covers all these expenses, although in some cases there are performance or other bonuses.

In addition to their salary, contract workers are awarded an ‘indemnity’ at the end of the contract period. The indemnity is usually based on basic salary excluding any bonuses. The indemnity can be a significant amount of money if you’ve been working in Dubai for a long time, and many people manage either to accumulate a reasonable financial cushion or to live the high life. If you’re clever and disciplined, you should be able to do some of both. The indemnity has nothing to do with insurance but is an end-of-contract bonus which is required by law to be paid to expatriate workers as a sort of ‘thank-you’ for being of service to the state. (It’s also known as ‘end of service benefits’.) Indemnity scales usually amount to 15 (in some cases 20) days of basic pay per year of employment for the first three years and thereafter a month’s salary per year of employment.

Note that some Arab companies regularly delay the payment of salaries, cash flow problems being passed on to their staff. In this event, you have little alternative but to wait.

Office hours are usually from 8.30 or 9.00 am to 5.30 or 6.00 pm, but some companies also split the working dayin two, usually from 8.00 to 1.00 and 4.00 to 7.00. There are no differences in time keeping between summer and winter. In the month of Ramadan, the working day is reduced to six hours and legally this should apply to all staff, but many companies only apply it to Muslims, who fast during daylight hours. Friday is the Muslim rest day and, if your company has a five-day working week, the other day off will probably be either Thursday or Saturday. Saturday is the more popular choice for international companies, as taking Thursday off would mean a reduction in the number of operational days in common with much of the rest of the world. Conversely, other companies insist on Thursday, as the school ‘weekend’ is Thursday and Friday.

Read more: Information about Working conditions in United Arab Emirates from prospects.ac.uk.

Legal working hours : 40.0 – 48.0 hours per week.

Length of trial / notice period: 6 months max probation period / 3 months notice maximum.

Employment formalities: Nationals of UAE and GCC citizens don’t require a visa to work. Expats need to have a visa and work permit.

3. Sectors that are recruiting

Primarily Oil and Gas, Banking, Engineering, Construction, Retail and IT are prominent sectors.

Companies that are recruiting: ADNOC, Emirates Airlines, Emaar Properties, ALDAR, DP World, E MAL, Mashreq Bank, Emirates Bank, ADCB.

4. Applying for a job

Usually a CV of 2-3 pages in English. Nationals may have a CV in Arabic. A cover letter is not a must.

Advice regarding the CV: Should have professional experience details and personal information including nationality, marital status, date of birth, language proficiency etc.

5. Major recruitment pointers

Business Etiquette/knowing how to behave during interviews:UAE and GCC Nationals can attend interviews and business meetings in their national dress(dish-dasha). Expats are expected to be dressed in formals with a tie or jacket. Avoid shaking hands with women folk.

Languages you must be able to speak: English and Arabic.

Flagship training: Higher Colleges of technology, Zayed University, University of Wollongong, American University of Dubai, Institue of Applied technology, American University of Sharjah, Abu Dhabi University.

Compensation&Benefits / Taxes: Total package comprising of Basic + Housing + Transport . Medical insurance, airfare to home country per annum.

6. Recruitment resources and networks

Important business networking sites:

Where to network:
For young graduates, the recruitment offices of the universities, the municipalities, and other public organizations. Also, the “career days” organized by private firms. For the others : professional networks or associations, recruitment agencies and executive search firms, ads in newspapers and jobsites.