Careers in UAE

Made up of seven emirates - Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Sharjah, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah and Umm Al Quwain - the UAE's relentless growth over recent years has made working there look impressive on any CV.

Rich in cultural heritage it's a place where tradition meets modernity. English is the main language of business and around 85% of the population comes from abroad so you'll have no trouble fitting in.

Opportunities exist all over this culturally-diverse country, but most jobs in the UAE are found in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The cost of living is fairly expensive, especially in these two cities, but you get your money's worth as the standard of living is world class.

Living and working in the Gulf region you'll be able to explore Islamic culture but to avoid getting in trouble with the law you'll need to respect local laws and customs. There can be severe penalties for breaking these. For example, there is a zero tolerance policy towards drugs and drink driving. Relationships outside of marriage are illegal as is same sex marriage. You'll need a special licence to consume alcohol and women should dress modestly when out in public. Also be aware that swearing in public and public displays of affection are arrestable offences.

On your days off you'll be able to enjoy red-hot weather in summer and warm days in winter. You can visit idyllic sandy beaches and cosmopolitan landmarks such as the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the tallest building in the world and the Dubai Mall.

Major industries in the UAE include:

  • aluminium
  • boat building and ship repair
  • construction
  • fishing
  • handicrafts and textiles
  • petroleum and petrochemicals.

Many expats find jobs through international companies in their home countries and where possible it's best to try to secure work before making the move. Thousands of British companies have operations in the Gulf region so securing a position with one of these organisations before requesting a transfer might be an option.

In the UAE many positions are advertised via recruitment agencies or online and, while it may be unusual practice in your own country, don't be surprised to find job adverts specifically asking for a particular gender, age or nationality. Networking is important but this may be difficult to do from afar. However, once you’re in a job in the UAE successful networking could help you get promoted.

Speculative applications are not unwelcome but securing a job through this method often relies on strong personal contacts.

Most applications are made online via an application form or CV. Make sure to attach a photograph and a short cover letter.

You'll usually undergo a face-to-face interview and a medical examination before being offered a job.

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