Dubai is a hot destination for expat job seekers even though the pay packets are a little thinner than they were a few years ago.
Despite the economic problems of the United Arab Emirates following the global credit crunch, Dubai has been a beacon for expats looking to broaden their horizons and add to their bank balances.
According to a recent survey by recruitment firm BAC, expats are jetting in from other Gulf States, the Asia Pacific and Britain.
The firm’s commercial manager in the Middle East, Cliff Single, explained Dubai is an international city with cosmopolitan tastes, like London, New York and Singapore.
Although the top three recruitment regions provide most of the expat workers in Dubai, a growing trend is for employment firms to receive applications from European Union countries in financial crisis and with high unemployment, especially the Republic of Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Greece.
Salaries and benefits may have remained static in Dubai in recent years, but compared to austerity measures and high unemployment elsewhere, the desert city pays well in comparison.
As well as a lack of movement in pay packages, the Dubai government is keen to lower dependence on foreign workers in common with other Gulf States, like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. This means fewer posts, and those that arise often going to UAE nationals.
Meanwhile, expats already in Dubai have seen the line in the sand and are more likely to stay with their employer than move for improved salary packages that are few and far between.
Dubai and neighbouring UAE city Abu Dhabi also have a better pool of expat applicants to pick from as they are considered the prime places to live and work in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
Taking on staff
A recent consumer confidence survey showed a fifth of Dubai professionals felt their finances were dipping, compared with the previous six months, 44% considered them worsening but 50% claimed they could see money improving over the next six months.
Nevertheless, another survey of employers delivered good news for expats – two-thirds of Dubai employers plan to take on staff in the next six months.
“If you look back four or five years, expats could negotiate packages and offers — but expats expect less movement now. Budgets are applied more strictly. Packages in general are still fairly flat, I’m not seeing above inflation increases,” said Single.
“Dubai may not see big salary increases; it is faring reasonably well with other parts of the world facing economic challenges.”