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Guide To Employment in the UAE

Guide to Employment in the UAE

Welcome to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a nation sitting in the heart of the Arabian Peninsula. Not only is the UAE known for its bustling urban lifestyle and stunning scenery, but it is also a magnet for those seeking employment opportunities. From the urban marvels of Dubai and Abu Dhabi to the cultural richness of Sharjah, the UAE has a wealth of industries for ambitious individuals to thrive in. 

As with any new area, understanding the employment landscape is crucial to gaining successful employment. In our guide we’ll share the secrets to success, providing valuable insights on how to secure your dream job in the UAE. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a graduate taking your first steps into the corporate world, we’ll equip you with the knowledge and confidence you need to stand out and make your way in, whilst following the necessary requirements to do so.

Work Culture in the UAE

The United Arab Emirates is an Islamic country, and therefore the work culture is more conservative than other international destinations. Despite this, your day-to-day work life there will not differ too much from your home country. Most employees generally work between 8-9 hours per day for five days a week. During Ramadan, this is sometimes shortened to 6-7 hours per day. 

The main difference is the weekends. In the UAE, ‘weekends’ are classed as Friday and Saturday, as opposed to the usual Saturday and Sunday you may be used to at home. 

Dubai city landscape after sunset

When it comes to time off, you will typically receive 30 days of paid annual leave on your first year of employment, as well as 14 public holidays. 

Given the country’s conservative culture, it is crucial to dress and conduct yourself appropriately in the workplace. Additionally, it might be helpful to learn about the cultural norms by engaging with expats who are already living in the UAE.

Industries in the UAE

The economy of the UAE is very diverse. While the country has depended heavily on oil and gas in the past, the government has now shifted its focus to equally prioritise all other sectors. Some of the leading industries include:


The retail industry has seen significant growth in the UAE, particularly in Dubai, with a number of global retailers establishing their headquarters there. The industry is set to thrive in the coming years.


The hospitality industry has witnessed rapid growth over the past decade, particularly in Dubai. This city attracts visitors from all around the world and has become one of the most popular tourist destinations globally.


Manufacturing stands as the country’s second-largest contributor to the economy and plays a significant role in Dubai’s non-oil trade. Within the manufacturing sector, key sub-sectors include processed food and beverages, plastics and rubber, electrical machinery and equipment, chemicals and chemical products, and minerals.

1. Determine Your Eligibility

Before you start searching for your dream job, it is essential to ensure that you meet the necessary requirements to work in the UAE. This involves checking the visa regulations, work permits and ensuring you have the specific qualifications needed for your chosen profession.

Business meeting in the UAE

2. Research The Market

When it comes to finding the right job for you, the first step is to identify the industries or sectors that align best with your skills and experience. Spend time researching companies you’d like to work for, exploring opportunities through means such as:

  • Recruitment agencies 
  • Company websites
  • Online and print publications
  • Online job fairs
  • Job portals
  • Networking events

You can find a full range of useful links on the UAE Government Website to assist with your search.

3. Prepare Your CV

When you’re ready to apply for a role, tailor your CV to highlight relevant skills and experience, ensuring that it is up-to-date and formatted appropriately for the UAE job market. We’d suggest emphasising any international experience that may be of value to employers. 

Remember that finding a job can take a lot of time and effort, so be patient in your search. It’s important to remain realistic about your earning potential and to be open and honest with your potential employer. Other tips for securing a job in the UAE include:

  • Try to learn the local language, Arabic. Whilst this is not essential for most roles, having a basic understanding of the language may be helpful in your line of work.
  • If your hiring company asks you for money to process your visa or medical test, it is not a genuine company. Do not pay any fees.
  • Grow your professional network using social media platforms such as LinkedIn.
  • Learn about the region and its social and cultural value system.
  • Be regular in your search and do not give up!
Museum of Future in UAE

If you’d love to work in the UAE, take a look at our moving to the UAE country guide. Our guide covers everything you need to know, including visa information, currency and exchange, home search and culture. Please do not hesitate to get in touch should you require any more information about relocating to the UAE and the employment opportunities there.


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