Abu Dhabi at a Glance
Working in Abu Dhabi
Due to its strong economy and modern cityscape, expats often get the impression that working in Abu Dhabi is a lucrative option. However, expats from Western countries often earn less in Abu Dhabi than they would in their respective home countries. Only those with special skills in the technical sector or management may indeed be able to receive a generous salary when working in Abu Dhabi.
The city’s free trade zone, the Industrial City of Abu Dhabi HCSEZ, especially welcomes foreign investment and business, thus creating new jobs. International companies or branch offices of foreign businesses are among the top employers for expats working in Abu Dhabi.
The Economic Climate
Foreigners in Abu Dhabi enjoy the benefits of the growing economy in the wealthiest emirate in the UAE and the strongest contributor to the UAE’s total GDP.
The economy relies mostly on income from natural resources like petroleum, with the petro-chemical industry offering plenty of employment options for those working in Abu Dhabi. At the same time, the importance of newly emerging sectors such as real estate, business services, construction and tourism is increasing.
To boost the tourism sector and create new job opportunities, hotels and entertainment facilities offer visitors all kinds of luxuries. A branch of France’s Louvre, a Ferrari theme park and numerous shopping malls do not only provide an additional source of income but are also major leisure-time attractions for foreigners working in Abu Dhabi.
Expat Employment in Abu Dhabi
In the past few years, many large corporations and international companies have relocated their business to Abu Dhabi. Expats with specialized knowledge and good language skills often find work with these companies.
However, thorough research is a necessary prerequisite for working in Abu Dhabi. Embassies and consulates can provide further information and advice to prepare expats for their job search abroad. As both Arabic and English are spoken in business, expats need to be fluent in at least one of these languages beforehand.
Looking for a Job
A good place to start is the job site of the government of Abu Dhabi, where companies can recruit employees. Expats can also make use of this resource to find open positions in the emirate and conduct a comprehensive job search.
In addition to that, different government entities advertise open positions directly on their websites. The Ministry of Presidential Affairs’ website offers an e-recruitment service (in Arabic) for submitting applications.
Expats who feel that their Arabic is not sufficient to use this system can apply the old-fashioned way and turn in their CV and application documents (passport, family book, academic and educational certificates, work experience) at the local Reception Office.
Private recruitment agencies in Abu Dhabi which specialize in recruiting foreign personnel are an alternative to the traditional job search. Here, applicants submit their documents via email and will be contacted for an interview when the agency has found a suitable job opening. The recruitment agency charges companies a fee for the successful placement of a candidate. For applicants, however, the service should be free of charge.
Unfortunately, some agencies take the unprofessional route and try to make some extra cash on the back of those eager to work in the number one expatriate destination in the world. Therefore it is important to be alert if a recruitment agency tries to collect additional fees. Expats should report this agency to the labor department immediately.