“Dubai, or not Dubai…”

Dubai, or not Dubai, that is the question. This week we attempt to Sheikh off the myths behind salaries in Dubai, with a little help from Cath Arnold, our partner for the markets in the Middle East.


We did try and find a picture of Cath from one of her trips in Dubai but no dice, so we had to subtly Photoshop this imagine

Aside from the lifestyle, a lot of people move there for the money. I wanted to know from Cath whether the streets really are paved with gold and to dispell a few of the myths about the earning potential over there.

0% Tax.

“Yes the tax rate in Dubai really is 0%,” begins Cath. Sure beats 30-40% you hand over to HMRC every month “Plus the cost of living is comparable to London” she adds, “Even if the weather isn’t.”

Money, Money, Money.

Salaries work differently over there.

“Firstly UAE law means they talk about ‘remuneration’, rather than ‘salary’ and it’s broken down like this:

70% Salary
20% Rental Allowance
10% Travel / Mobile

These can vary slightly and above is the ‘guide’ to how you should spend your remuneration not where you have to!

Remuneration is paid as a lump sum each month, and it’s often quoted as a monthly sum, rather than an annual salary.

What are you worth?

Dubai’s market is young and growing, budgets are smaller, clients are a little greener when it comes to digital and RTB has only just raised its head. They do need to import experience to move the market forward, however local skills are also highly valued – especially Arabic speakers. “I think a lot of people underestimate the level of local competition” Cath remarks “This has an impact on the remuneration offered – you can’t just convert your UK salary to Dirhams and double it!”

Below is a rough guide to give you a better idea of realistic remuneration bandings in the Dubai market:

Dubai conversion

A few additional perks include your flights, Visa and temporary accommodation paid for by the employer and private healthcare from day one.