Working in the UAE: a guide for expat job seekers

Working in the UAE: a guide for expat job seekers

This guest blog has been written by Anshuman Kukreti, a professional writer and a keen follower of the job market in the Gulf:

When it comes to searching for international jobs, working in the UAE is increasingly becoming an exciting option. This can be attributed to the immense growth that the UAE employment sphere has witnessed in the past few years. Since 1973, UAE has undergone major transformation from a sandy desert to a modern state with high standard of living. From being a cluster of states in which the oil industry was the predominant revenue-generating sector, the UAE has found various other avenues including finance, construction and manufacturing, which have contributed immensely to the growth of its GDP.

Employment prospects

  • The market in the UAE has boomed largely in the past few years, providing expats who possess the right skills and qualifications with job opportunities. With a relatively small percentage of Emirati nationals actively taking part in the workforce, professionals from all over the globe find the UAE a suitable destination to work in.
  • With many of the major firms like DHL, Ericsson, Microsoft and others shifting their operations to the Gulf, the private sector in the UAE has seen immense growth.
  • Jobs in education and teaching have also become abundant in the UAE. For jobs at primary level, a Bachelor’s degree is the main pre-requisite, while for secondary and tertiary levels, postgraduate specialisation is often required.
  • The construction sector in the UAE offers a number of job opportunities too. With the government announcing numerous building projects to commence in the coming year, the industry is in need of skilled architects and engineers from across the world.

What is it like to work in the UAE?

Here are some important things to know about working in the UAE:

  • Passport and visas: Employers usually organise your work visa and will act as your sponsor forthe duration of your stay in the UAE. You need to keep your passport and visa updated to avoid any legal obstructions in your job.
  • Employment contract: Employees in the UAE are entitled to an employment contract before starting work, including information such as salary, commencement date, job description and work location.
  • Working hours: Working hours in the UAE are typically nine hours a day (usually 8.30am-5:30pm or 9am-6pm). According to a recent survey, people typically work a 47 hour week in the UAE.
  • Salary: In 2012, a survey found the following average salaries in the UAE: engineering sector – 25,000 UAE Dirham per annum; finance sector – 55,000 UAE Dirham per annum; real estate sector (architecture) – 35,000 UAE Dirham per annum; facilities management – 40,000 UAE Dirham per annum; healthcare – 55-80,000 UAE Dirham per annum; and information technology – 20,000 UAE Dirham per annum
  • Vacations: Employees in the UAE are usually allowed 30 calendar days of leave per year. These generally account for 22 days of paid vacation in a year.
  • Sick leave: Employees are not entitled to paid sick leave during any probation periods. After probation periods, employees are entitled to full pay for the first 15 days and half pay for the next 30 days. Employees are required to provide evidence of their sickness by way of an official medical certificate.
  • End of service gratuity (ESG): An employee working for more than a year is entitled to claim ESG payments, which are 21 days’ salary for each year of the first five years of service, and 30 days’ salary for each additional year of service.
  • Ethics: The ethics followed in the UAE are quite different from those in other countries.From the conservative clothing style to the specific ways to greet your colleagues, working in the Gulf demands you to get accustomed to these norms. Customs include greeting fellow workers by the title Sayed (Mr.) or Sayeda (Mrs.) and avoiding meetings on Fridays.

As long as you bear in mind the points stated above, the UAE can be a wonderful place to work.

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