The Middle East has always been championed as a paradise for those who want to work hard and live a luxurious lifestyle. The number of expats in the UAE is high, with 88.5% of the population hailing from overseas. The Middle East as a whole has always been a first-choice location for many people wanting to work abroad and with foreign investment increasing across the nation, as well as the Dubai Expo 2020 and the World Cup in Qatar in 2022, there is no doubt that more and more migrants will want to secure a role in a Middle Eastern Country.
Recruitment in the Middle East
Recruitment in the Middle East is big business and recruiters will often warn prospective candidates that the market is highly competitive. Job applications in for roles in the UAE can often triple that of other Middle Eastern countries so landing a position in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al-Quwain, Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah can be particularly hard. Many recruiters warn that, due to have a huge pool of talent, the interview process can be intense and lengthy when applying for a job in the UAE. Many expats look at Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and Saudi Arabia as other options.
Finding a job in the Middle East
Some expats are lucky enough to have extensive connections in the Middle East. Others are offered relocation packages by their current employers to move to the country. In these situations the stress of finding a job is alleviated.
The majority of expat roles in the Middle East tend to be in the obvious such as power, oil and gas, as well as pharmaceuticals and Dubai healthcare. Whilst there tend to be more roles readily available in these industries it does not mean there aren’t more available in your field, it will just take more hunting.
Many expats succeed in finding a job using online search portals, whereas others contact companies in the Middle East they’d like to work for directly. LinkedIn also has a job search functionality which many prospective migrants find useful, as well as expat forums.
Work and business culture
Generally speaking, working in the Middle East as an expat is an enriching experience. Whilst you are expected to knuckle down during working hours and go above and beyond to succeed, most employers welcome a healthy work life balance. The evenings and weekends are strictly your time and unless there is a huge catastrophe, workers can rest assured they won’t be contacted during their free time.
Whilst forging relationships with co-workers is important, the majority of interactions in the workplace are very polite and small talk is rife. However, many expats claim they do not tend to mix with their colleagues due to this and often have a separate group of friends outside of work hours. This is not to say that work is miserable, things tend to be very professional and appropriate.
The best paying jobs in the Middle East for expats
Money isn’t everything, but it certainly can help. Like any location in the world, there are jobs in the Middle East that tend to have higher salaries than others. Engineers, teachers, medical professionals, finance executives, marketing specialists and journalists tend to fare well in the Middle East when it comes to renumeration.