With a washed-out British Summer and a constant diet of reality TV shows highlighting the glitz and glamour (and HUGE potential earnings) of life in Dubai – it is easy to see why the Inspire Selection inbox is full of messages from people looking to make the move to this vibrant city.
The UAE is undoubtedly a great place to live and full of opportunities – a global hub for business and innovation. With its modern infrastructure, tax-free salaries, and diverse opportunities, it is no wonder that job seekers from around the world are drawn to this desert paradise.
However, landing a job in Dubai or Abu Dhabi from overseas is not without its challenges. In this article, we will explore the difficulties job seekers may encounter and provide valuable advice on how to overcome them and secure a position in this bustling city.
1. Be prepared to put in the work whilst job hunting
Any job hunter in this market needs to be prepared to spend time and energy pursuing new opportunities. For those not yet in the region and looking to relocate, you need to do the groundwork. The job market is busy and tough right now and unless you have unique and desirable skills you are likely to find it hard going.
Before embarking on your job search, conduct thorough research on the industries that are thriving in Dubai, the in-demand skills, and the companies that are hiring. It’s crucial to align your qualifications and experience with the needs of the local job market.
Tailor your CV to match the specific job you’re applying for. Highlight relevant skills and experiences that make you a strong candidate for the position. If you truly believe that you are the perfect person for the role, track the recruiter down (whether they are agency or in-house). If you are the right fit they will want to hear from you – but you need to be prepared to demonstrate why.
2. Be realistic
The role of a recruiter is to find candidates for their clients. It is not possible for recruiters to find a role for every candidate who gets in touch. For every role a recruiter advertises we get hundreds of responses. Please don’t apply for roles unless you know you meet minimum criteria. The negative impact of candidates applying for unsuitable vacancies is bigger than just clicking the APPLY button.
Read the requirements of a role carefully. Check for specific language and industry requirements, this is a common request in the Middle East – our clients know what they want, and so should you. Do you research to see if your skills and experience are even sought after in the UAE, and if the salaries paid for such roles meet with your expectations.
3. Retraining and transferable skills
Unfortunately, this is not the place to retrain. Yes there are lots of people who have pivoted their career in the Middle East and have done so successfully, but for people looking to relocate, unless you have a niche skill that can’t be found easily amongst the existing labour force, finding work will be difficult. Dubai is home to a diverse and highly skilled workforce, and in our experience, wherever possible companies will always choose locally based candidates first.
Choosing an overseas candidate can be seen by employers as risky – the costs of relocating and the likelihood of someone not settling are high – so if a locally based candidate pool is available this will often be the first point of call.
4. Standing out
To stand out, emphasise your unique skills, international experience and cultural adaptability. Prepare thoroughly for any interviews, research the company and culture practice common interview questions, and be ready to discuss your qualifications and experiences.
Consider taking a trip to the region. It’s often easier to secure a job when you are physically in the city. However, packing up and moving to the city without employment is very risky as the UAE is very expensive and it is difficult to access essential services such as health insurance, tenancy contracts, and even phone contracts without sponsorship.
Networking is vital in Dubai. Attend industry-specific events, join professional groups on social media, and connect with professionals in your field. Personal connections can often lead to job opportunities.
Having a good profile is not enough. You need to be growing your network, commenting and liking industry relevant information. This shows that you are connected with the industry/market and engaged with your profession. Create a strong LinkedIn profile. Many employers in Dubai use LinkedIn to find and vet candidates. Make sure your profile is complete and consider reaching out to recruiters or hiring managers directly.
Like anywhere, finding a job in the UAE requires time and a great deal of patience and persistence. You are competing with the whole world for a job. Do your research, grow your network and remember that the days of huge salaries and generous relocation packages are over.
Make sure the skills you have are in demand and you have a plan to connect with as many relevant people as possible to demonstrate just why you should be considered for their organisation.
Don’t get discouraged by rejections; keep refining your approach building your network and do not give up hope that your efforts will be rewarded with an enriching experience and the opportunity to contribute to one of the world’s most exciting business environments.