Three tips for recruiting in the Middle East

The Middle East is becoming an increasingly attractive region in which to live and work in the eyes of jobseekers. In addition, some of the world's leading brands are setting up shop in the area, making the Middle East a veritable hive of recruitment and employment. As a result, more and more jobseekers fed up with the domestic job market are packing up and searching for employment abroad. 

The proliferation of big business in the Middle East is giving recruiters a great opportunity to promote vacancies in the area. We have considerable experience with Dubai recruitment agencies. So here is a handful of great tips recruiters should be using in order to drive jobseekers to the region...


As the Middle East is one of the world's economic powerhouses, it makes sense to work in a region that has a significant stake on oil and gas, politics, sovereign wealth funds as well as other subjects that have a bearing on almost all international businesses. Working in the Middle East often means you're taking your career to the next level in terms of professional networking and ambition as being able to cite working in a 'difficult' regions like the Middle East will benefit your career no end.

Jobseekers tend to find more opportunities available to them in comparison to domestic jobs. For instance, experience in the field may only put you at an entry-level position at home but in the Middle East, you may be given more responsibility due to the different cultural and commercial norms. Working in the Middle East is a valuable badge of experience.


Recruiters should also advertise the fact that salaries in the Middle East - certainly in Arabia - tend to be inflated as personal incomes, including all forms of salary and capital gains, are not subject to taxation in any of the Emirates, Qatar or Saudi Arabia. In addition, many major firms tend to offer the usual benefits - bonus, medical insurance, life insurance, flights home, pension etc. making the Middle East an attractive place to work.

Other benefits if living in working in the Middle East is that companies tend to offer six weeks' annual holiday and many employees get paid a yearly service award. Some firms also offer free accommodation too which, combined with the tax-free lifestyle- means employees are able to earn a lot more in the Middle East than they could in other areas.


The lifestyle and culture of the Middle East, particularly in Dubai, is one of the biggest reasons why people are moving to work in the Middle East. The year-round temperature, luxury accommodation and world-class facilities make the Middle-East an ideal place for people who like to but also for people who like to play.

Sand skiing, dune buggy racing, deep-sea fishing, golf, racing and more are just some of the great sporting activities available in Dubai while, for those who prefer spending over sport, the Middle East - especially Dubai - has a surfeit of shopping opportunities available. With traditional markets and super-sized shopping malls standing side by side, there is definitely no shortage of shopping outlets for workers to spend their tax-free income on.

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Comment by Richard Peterson on September 16, 2013 at 3:10pm

Working and Living Carries a Host of Issues to Consider.

The challenge with candidates taking jobs in the UAE is that every business or entity is connected or owned by, "The Royals!" Progress in the workplace is always influenced and hampered by their Government.

I've done a lot of search work in the UAE. Mostly, Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

I placed many senior level executives in Burj Al Arab. Ranked as the "World's Only 7th Star hotel." The structure mirrors the look of a sail of a ship.

I did a lot of work with Developers, Construction and Design companies.

Dubai is the most expensive city to live in the Middle East. It has also been rated as one of the best places to live in the Middle East.

The UAE ranked as least-friendly nation for expat workers. There will always be a call for foreign workers in the UAE, the way its growing you could never fully staff it with Emirati's. Over 80% of the population is made up by expats. There are few actual Emirati's around, They are all mostly employed in the Public Sector, unless they are in the "Executive Ranking" of any one company. In the UAE, there over 150 nationalities  that contribute to the UAE’s modern society. The streets, shopping malls and business areas are alive with numerous languages and cultures.

Check the Expat Explorer Survey.

 Candidates need to be mindful that they are in a different country with a different cultural and belief system to the majority of westerners, we can seem as strange to them as they might sometimes appear to us.

But, with all that said, their customs and laws truly differ from the USA's. As for alcohol in public, you can be deported. At home, you need a license.

Physician  prescribed medications? It is advisable to carry a doctor’s note. If you are bringing prescription drugs into the UAE you may need to seek prior agreement from the authorities.

Dancing is allowed in the privacy of your home or at licensed clubs.  But dancing in public is classed as indecent.

Porn on the web is BANNED and can result in imprisonment as is the case with Gay folks self-identifying or showing signs of affection in public. Same goes for:

Dress Codes. Emirati dress conservatively in traditional dress and can be offended when people dress inappropriately or not in accordance with Islamic values.

Holding hands for married couples is tolerated but kissing and hugging are considered offenses against public decency. Open displays of affection are not tolerated.

Driving: The UAE has a zero-tolerance policy towards drinking and driving. You can be charged and imprisoned if you are caught with even the smallest amount of alcohol in your system; If you're going to drink walk, get a cab our use the metro.  

Bouncing a check: it's illegal in the UAE. If a check is presented without adequate funds to cover the amount, you will face criminal and civil charges. After you have served your jail sentence you will not be able to leave the country until the funds have been paid in full.

Offensive language, spitting and aggressive behavior (including hand gestures) are viewed very seriously and can result in imprisonment and deportation. This includes “road rage”.

So,  “When in Rome…” - it is just common courtesy to respect your hosts as we expect visitors to our country to respect our laws and traditions.


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