How Far Does Learning Arabic Really Affect Employability in UAE?

employability in UAE

Ameena Abbas Career ,,,,,,,,

It’s a dreaded criterion for non-Arabic speakers looking for lucrative job opportunities in the Middle East.

In a competitive market, where one candidate edges the other out by a hair, native speakers are seemingly at an advantage.


The question is: How much of an advantage?

Can learning Arabic boost your employability in UAE?

While job-hunting, it’s no surprise Arabic-speakers have a larger pool of application options available, are preferred over other candidates with the same level of skill, and have extra arsenal for salary negotiation.

Infographic box: According to a survey published by,

Several non-technical and people-interactive roles require Arabic speakers, namely Marketing, Sales, Customer Service, & Communications. However, the requirement to be proficient in Arabic is limited to specific professions, typically involving customer interactions.

In a city like Dubai, where only about 20% of the population makes up the local citizens, learning Arabic may not seem necessary.

Read on.

Can it make business easier?

While UAE fosters a multicultural working environment, in certain business scenarios, when dealing with Arabic clients, the interactions become more comfortable when preceding small talk is in their native language.

It provides a sense of familiarity, especially in UAE culture, where social relations and networking play a key role in business.

According to an article written by Swati Srivastava from, there are numerous opportunities for Arabic speakers in the form of flexibility, salary benefits and much more.

Other key advantages

Knowing Arabic in Dubai is an advantage, you will be more familiar with the culture, you know how things work better and you know how to get your job done easier. Also, Waasta (clout or “who you know”) is above everything here.

says a Junior Communications Manager at an MNC (name withheld)

For one, almost all the legal procedures are in Arabic; therefore it helps when you are dealing with the authorities or ever get in trouble. It can also help foster better social relationships with your sponsor and landlord [He might even shave a bit of your rent].

Read: 5 Ways to Talk Money Like a Pro

Learning Arabic:

295m native speakers of Arabic as of 2010. 

You are likely to bump into a few common challenges if you choose to amp up your employability by learning Arabic. The most common challenge is the lack of opportunity for consistent verbal practice.

One way around it is to take this project up with a friend for social support and ease.

Enlist at any of these Arabic Learning Centers, which have flexible timings or use these mobile apps to teach you everything down to pronunciation.

With its numerous implications in everyday life in the UAE, it is a worthwhile endeavor to take up learning Arabic, giving your epiglottis some much-needed exercise.

You might like: Editor’s Note: Why I’m Always Busy or Are Recent Graduates in Dubai Expecting Too Much?

Tell us what you think in the comments below – Do you think knowing Arabic increases your chances of being hired or the opportunities available to you? Is there a significant pay difference?