There are plenty of jobs in Dubai for Americans, and conditions in Dubai are better than ever for skilled, enthusiastic foreign workers. Fantastic pay rates, tax-free income, generous living allowances and consistent bonuses mean that more Americans than ever are heading to Dubai to explore a new lifestyle and check out the job market.
There are many factors that will determine how easy it is for an American to land a good job in Dubai. The culture is different than what many Americans expect, but overall the change is normally positive. People in Dubai are genuinely warm and open-hearted, enjoy long friendships, and reward loyalty and ability with an open-handedness that’s often surprising to foreigners. On the other hand, the hierarchal system and relatively conservative approach to many things can be a shock to more liberal Americans. As with any international work, a brief study of social norms will help ease culture shock and get you settled in quickly and easily.
Finding Jobs in Dubai for Americans
Consider working on your Arabic. While it’s not necessary to get a job in Dubai, with most employers preferring their foreign workers speak fluent English, speaking Arabic at least to a conversational if not fluent or technical level will make you stand out from the pack.
Make sure your credentials are top notch, up to date, and certified internationally. Remember that you’re competing not only against the best that America has to offer, but the best from Dubai and pretty much every other country. Make sure your resume is tailored to each position. We don’t mean a brief going-over, we mean writing your resume out from scratch if necessary, with each application, carefully highlighting the most important areas and tailoring your language to suit the job description.
Remember that your credentials may not be recognised in the UAE unless they come from a respected, internationally recognised academic institution. Internet colleges and correspondence courses, regardless of how important or official-sounding, are on most Dubai HR blacklists and should be avoided. you know the difference between a real degree and a phony one, grant your potential employers the same intelligence.
When you’re considering a job in Dubai, remember that there’s going to be more than just the job that you need to consider. There’s the logistics of getting there, settling into a new country with an admittedly fairly extreme weather system, adjusting to an inevitable amount of culture clashing and culture shock, and making new friends and adjusting to social life in Dubai.
If you’re lucky, your employers will help with some aspects of this. It is not uncommon for Dubai employers to fly their new employees to and from Dubai for the length of their contracts, or to provide subsidised accommodation. Be aware that if your company provides accommodation for you, you may be sharing an apartment with other employees, although the UAE’s cultural sensitivities mean that this will never be of mixed gender.
Rent can be prohibitively expensive if you have to pay for it yourself. Luckily, jobs in Dubai, in addition to being relatively well paid, also come with benefits. One benefit of being employed by the large, rich companies in Dubai is that there is a lot of room to negotiate things like having your rent paid for or a cost-of-living allowance paid in addition to your normal salary.
Being willing to share accommodation with other people will make your life a lot easier. Often jobs are filled in batches, so you should be able to talk to the company hiring you and see if there are other employees you can share with.
Job Interviews for Americans in Dubai
It can be hard to prepare well for interviews in Dubai, if only because companies vary tremendously on how they conduct interviews. Assume that your resume will be screened and that your references will be checked thoroughly, so don’t be surprised about questions relating to your last employers. However, the interview may range from a full-on, stressful, exam-style rapid-fire scenario most commonly experienced in law and accounting firms to a relatively informal chat, sometimes with only HR staff instead of your supervisors or managers.
Feel free to sound out what you want to know about the jobs. Everyone wants to make sure that both parties are happy with the arrangement, as ending contracts early in Dubai is a messy and awkward process for both sides. If you do leave a job early or break a contract, expect word to spread quickly. Sometimes it may be worth ‘sticking it out’ if you’ve only got a short while to go on a job in Dubai rather than getting a black mark and potentially ruining your chances of future employment in the UAE.
Alternately, the company may put you through multiple interviews and a rigorous screening process. The more senior the position, the greater the attention is paid during the interview process.
Dubai companies pay well to attract the best employees, and gear their organizations to build long-term, loyal employees, so they want to make sure they’re putting the right person into the job. Video interviews are becoming more frequent. As with any job interviews, make sure that you are well presented and prepared for common interview questions.