Bubble or not, Dubai is the land of opportunity in the Middle East. With an infrastructure that’s second to none and access to a wealth of foreign investment and talent, Dubai still attracts thousands of expats every year.
We can sort through the pro’s and con’s all day, but judging from its past record, Dubai’s rockstar status isn’t fading anytime soon. Yet, peculation and doubt are ever present, and it’s important that you know what to expect when you start your career in the country.
To that end, here, we debunk the top 5 myths about working in Dubai:
1. Tax-free income equals big bank accounts
Just because the government is generous enough to not ask for money doesn’t mean you can go laughing all the way to the bank. Being one of the best cities in the world has it’s price. The city has a very high standard of living, for one that’s so young.
Make sure you earn a salary that fits your lifestyle.
Do your research, and learn to be frugal. Or else you’ll be packing you bags soon enough.
2. Being part of an Islamic nation means all sorts of restrictions
Dubai, arguably, is one of the most diverse cities in the world. A melting pot of cultures, it’s an easy place to call ‘home’ away from home and many people do. There are rules and customs that most certainly have to be respected, like every other country. You can see religions being practiced here, without fear. With regards to personal life, the general rule is ‘live and let live’.
As far as the business environment goes, the infrastructure is quite supportive and the culture [depending on the company you’re in] is warm and inviting.
If you’re new here, you should know: Socializing plays a big part in work relationships.
3. You won’t move up the ladder if you don’t know the local language
To be clear, the B-Change team strongly endorses learning Arabic. However, it is neither mandatory nor a hindrance to your career if you don’t speak Arabi. Home to over 200 nationalities, with at least 71% of the population being Asian, means you’ll get by just fine.
Majority of the locals are also fluent in English [and some in Hindi too].
4. Your qualification is enough to move on to better prospects
While it’s universally respected to have degrees from reputed universities under your belt, it’s not everything in the Dubai job market. Being an introvert won’t help you either.
You most definitely have to pick up networking skills. Get on Linkedin, attend industry events and market yourself well [Connections help get you the interview, not the job].
Make sure people know the real you.
5. You can only live in Dubai if you like a glitzy lifestyle
Ugh, I hate this one. The rest of the world seems to categorise Dubai residents as the ‘Work all day, party all night’ crowd. Sure, Dubai may have more Skyscrapers and supercars than most cities, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised to know there are plenty of normal people here.
Moving past the bling and the luxury, you’ll find plenty of soul in streets and alleys- art markets, marathons, BBQs, road trips and social/professional gatherings. With the rise of interest group communities on social media, many expats find it easy to settle in with likeminded colleagues, owing to monthly meet-ups.