Dubai: Did you know that when people across the world look for a city that they would like to relocate to for work, Dubai is by far the top search?
A study published this month by Givetastic, a UK-based company that makes it easier to give group gifts at work, revealed that based on online search data, Dubai is the top-searched city to emigrate to for work in 69 out of 150 countries across the globe.
If you are one of the many people who wish to move to the UAE but don’t know where to start, here is a step-by-step guide, to help you better understand the recruitment market in the country and how you can increase your chances of getting hired.
How do I start looking for a job in the UAE?
“For candidates who are interested in making the move to the UAE to live and work, it’s so important to do research first. Due to market dynamics, employers often prefer candidates who are ‘on the ground’. This can make it challenging for overseas job seekers to secure a role before relocating,” Eamonn Hart, senior manager at Hays Middle East, told Gulf News.
If you do plan to come to the UAE to look for a job, you can apply for a jobseeker visa, which gives you the chance to visit the country for a period of two, three or four months and explore options.
For candidates who are interested in making the move to the UAE to live and work, it’s so important to do research first. Due to market dynamics, employers often prefer candidates who are ‘on the ground’. This can make it challenging for overseas job seekers to secure a role before relocating.
Employ a two-pronged approach
“While candidates can search for jobs using job search portals and company websites, a more productive approach is to build a professional network in the region by connecting with a recruitment company and by making direct connections with professionals within their industry. For those candidates who are looking to make the move but want to secure a job first, they could consider visiting the UAE to meet with recruiters in-person. Of course, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional social network which candidates should leverage, ensuring their profile is up to date,” he added.
Charbel El Fakhry, a UAE based Human Resources expert and career consultant, also recommended a two-pronged approach that jobseekers could benefit from – using resources that have a wider reach as well as more focused platforms and resources. He provided a list of resources that jobseekers can refer to get kickstart their hunt.
After developing a job search strategy, the job seeker will need to decide on the tools he will utilise to find the openings. I often like to group these tools into two groups: those meant for a wide audience and those that require a certain level of customisation and a targeted personal approach.
Bulk Search - wide audience
1. Online Job Portals:
2. LinkedIn: “Currently an indispensable tool for networking, connecting and engaging with potential employers. If you are not on LinkedIn in 2023, you might be missing out,” El Fakhry said.
3. Social media: “It is highly recommended to follow UAE-based companies and job boards on platforms like Twitter and Facebook,” El Fakhry added.
4. Job fairs and events: He also advised jobseekers to attend job fairs and recruitment events in their home country as well as in the UAE.
5. Local newspapers and magazines: You can also look for job opportunities in the classifieds section in UAE newspapers and magazines.
6. University career centres: These can also be a great place to get leads.
7. Freelancing platforms: “Use platforms like Upwork and Freelancer for remote work opportunities with UAE-based clients,” El Fakhry said.
Tailored search - specific and personalised
1. Company websites: Apply directly through the career pages of UAE-based companies. I highly advise applicants to engage with the company’s website they want to work for, especially on their career page.
2. Recruitment agencies: Research and contact specialised recruitment agencies in the UAE. This is still highly efficient in the UAE. There are many firms out there that can help. Please note that you may not always receive a reply due to the high demand recruiters face, but it is always a channel worth pursuing.
3. Networking: Network with professionals in the UAE through platforms like LinkedIn. Networking, for me, is still the best way to secure a job due to the personal and subjective nature of the relationships.
4. Language centres and cultural exchange programmes: Explore teaching opportunities in the UAE through language centres and cultural exchange programmes.
5. Consulting firms: Apply to consulting firms operating in the UAE for diverse job opportunities.
“I encourage [jobseekers] to utilise all the available tools and methods listed above simultaneously to widen your reach and increase your chances. Job hunting is a game of odds and probability. By casting a wide net and exploring various avenues, you enhance your chances of finding the right job opportunity. Stay proactive, persistent and open to different possibilities. Remember, every effort you put in enhances your likelihood of securing a job in the UAE,” El Fakhry said.
How do I know if my profile is in demand?
There are also chances that you have not yet started a focused job search because you are not sure of your likelihood of getting employed. Or perhaps, you are not sure if it would be possible to get job roles that are suited to your skills, expertise and experience.
According to Hart, a good indicator would be the type of job vacancies that are posted on recruitment sites.
“Start by researching job listings on various job portals and company websites specific to the UAE to see which skills and qualifications are commonly required. Search trusted local media such as Gulf News for recent updates on the employment market. Additionally, job seekers can visit the UAE government’s official website – u.ae – as they often publish reports and information about the skills and industries in demand. Finally, industry-specific reports and publications can provide insights into the demand for certain skills,” he said.
El Fakhry added that jobseekers should also feel confident in the fact that the UAE market is constantly expanding, and most jobs are quite often in high demand.
“One of the recommendations I have for newcomers to Dubai is to familiarise themselves with the local culture by connecting with expat groups who are already here, a lot of this information can be gathered and discussed online. Some Arabic skills would definitely go a long way if they can grasp the basics of the language,” he said.
Skills on your CV that can help
While knowing whether or not your skills and expertise are in demand in the UAE is helpful, it can also boost your chances of getting hired if you better understand the recruitment trends for your specific industry, as well as certain skills that can make your CV more attractive to recruiters, according to El Fakhry.
“The UAE is an attractive market, but it has its own dynamics and a specific set of rules and regulations for each industry and type of job. I encourage every applicant to research these regulations before landing in the country,” he said.
Hart added that, typically, the job market in the UAE demands mid-to-senior level professionals with proven expertise and industry qualifications.
“The demand for specific technical skills depends on the industry – in the Tech industry, for example, data analytics skills are in high demand and short supply. In terms of ‘soft’ skills, essentials include communication, problem-solving, and collaboration. Additionally, having a strong work ethic will make a candidate seem more reliable and dependable, which improves credibility in the workplace,” Hart said.
I just found a job opening online, what should I do next?
Step 1: Verify the job opening.
The experts who spoke with Gulf News advised job seekers to always check the veracity of the job opening and employer before taking any other steps.
Hart said: “Online scams are becoming more elaborate and job scams exist. It is wise to do due diligence before pursuing any job vacancy. Some practical actions to authenticate a vacancy include researching the company to verify its legitimacy and seeking recommendations from connections who may have experience with the company. Always be cautious if the job posting has spelling or grammatical errors, asks for personal financial information, or offers unrealistic salaries.”
El Fakhry, too, advised jobseekers to always have a discerning attitude, to make sure they do not fall for job scams. He laid down six simple ways in which you can verify the authenticity of a job opening being advertised:
1. Research the company: Look for information about the company online. A legitimate company should have a professional website, social media presence, and reviews from employees and clients.
2. Contact the company directly: Reach out to the company's official contact information (email or phone number) obtained from their official website. Avoid using contact details provided solely in the job advertisement to prevent potential scams.
3. Check for red flags: Be wary of job postings with spelling or grammar mistakes, vague job descriptions, or requests for personal or financial information. Legitimate employers do not ask for money upfront from job applicants.
4. Cross-check job details: Ensure that the job details provided in the vacancy match the information on the company’s official website and other reputable job portals.
5. Verify contact information: Cross-verify the contact information given in the job posting with the official contact details provided on the company’s website.
6. Look for official job postings: Check if the job vacancy is also listed on the company's official website or reputable job portals. Scammers often avoid posting on well-known platforms.
Step 2: Make the necessary changes to your CV
Once you have verified the legitimacy of the vacancy, Hart advised readers to spend some time updating their CV and tailoring it to the position they are applying for.
“This means giving a holistic view of their employment history, while highlighting the experience, qualifications, achievements, and skills they possess that are particularly relevant to the job. Candidates should only apply for jobs that are relevant to their area of expertise. They do not need to tick every single box, but they should possess the necessary skills and/or qualifications required for the role,” Hart said.
El Fakhry advised applicants to understand what an ATS-compliant CV is - Applicant Tracking System (ATS) refers to scanning software that are used by recruiters and employers during the hiring process, to sort through multiple applications. To ensure your CV is ATS-friendly, El Fakhry recommended jobseekers to tailor their resume and cover letter in a way that capture their skills and experiences.
“Do not underestimate the need for a well-written CV that is ATS-compliant and user-friendly. I cannot emphasise enough: the main reason for failure often lies in a profile and resume that lack the proper structure to accurately reflect the applicant’s skills and experience, and does not allow for quick reading by the recruiter,” he added.
If you are looking for tips on how to make your CV more effective, you can read our detailed guide here.
Step 3: Follow application instructions
“Carefully follow the application instructions provided in the job posting. This may include submitting documents, filling out an online form, or sending an email with specific subject lines,” El Fakhry said.
Step 5: Prepare for interviews
“If the company expresses interest, be prepared for interviews. Research common interview questions, practise your responses and be ready to discuss your qualifications and experiences. Also, make sure you cover the role in its details and match it with the job post. Any discrepancy needs to be clarified with the recruiter,” El Fakhry added.
Step 6: Be professional
“During interviews and communications, maintain a professional demeanour. Promptly respond to emails or calls and show enthusiasm for the position,” El Fakhry said.
However, he once again advised jobseekers to balance out enthusiasm for the job post with being aware of any red flags, if they pop up.
“At the cost of repeating myself, be cautious about providing personal information such as passport details or bank account information. Legitimate employers do not typically request this information during the early stages of the application process,” he said.
Step 7: Negotiate wisely
“If you receive a job offer, carefully review the terms and conditions, including salary, benefits, and job responsibilities. It is acceptable to negotiate, but do so professionally and within reasonable limits,” he said.
Finally, experts advised readers to stay persistent in their job hunt and always be aware of their rights and responsibilities.
“Be patient. The recruitment process in the UAE can sometimes take a little bit longer in comparison to some European countries but, don’t fret. A good recruiter will keep you updated throughout the recruitment process,” Hart said.
El Fakhry also gave jobseekers some perspective on what to expect once your application goes through.
“Once a job offer is accepted, work with the employer to understand the visa and work permit process. Legitimate employers will guide you through the legal procedures. It is the employer’s duty and at his cost to issue for you the work permit and turn it into a residency,” he said.
If you do get a job offer in the UAE, there are some clear guidelines that you should keep in mind, to be aware of your rights and responsibilities as a new worker in the UAE. You can check out the details in our guide here.