Is working in the Middle East still worth it as an expat?

Ben Carter our consultant managing the role
Posting date: 25 February 2021

Ben Carter is a Maritime recruitment industry expert located in our Dubai office.  He has spent over seven years recruiting globally for Maritime companies. He works on complex and confidential searches for Middle Eastern and international clients. Ben provides clients with first-class services such as; direct hire, temporary/contingent recruitment and executive search.

Ben shares his story on being an expat in the Middle East, the perception of the relocation, what has changed over the years and what the region is like now.


The perception of working in the Middle East

There is a common misconception that expats working in the Middle East are enjoying high tax-free remuneration packages which are much larger than comparable job salaries in their home countries. More often than not, when we are recruiting people from outside of the Middle East, who have not worked in the region they tend to have high and unrealistic monetary expectations.

Prior to my move to Dubai, I was working as an engineering apprentice in the UK.  There was always talk of going to the Middle East, working for several years, and then having the ability to save enough to pay off your mortgage back home. I had this conversation with my mentor in engineering who knew several people who had done it before and it was a possibility. However, this scenario has changed. It’s no longer true for several reasons explained below.


Things change as developments grow

Since I arrived in 2013, modern cities such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha have been further developed and it has become a region with a very high standard of living. The population of expatriates moving to the region continues to grow at a fast pace and with that, it is much easier to hire people currently within the region. Therefore, apart from niche and unique job roles, employers no longer need to entice candidates to work in the region by offering high salaries.


What is it like today?

The Middle East has a growing number of local and foreign companies operating in the region. There are plenty of major projects in the pipeline and there is an ongoing demand for specialists to work on them over the short to long term.

 

Salaries and the standard of living

The remuneration factor is still very important, the most in-demand jobs pay much better than the majority of worldwide project locations with similar demand. Additionally there is the attraction of zero tax on your income and the high standard of living enjoyed in the region.

Renting property in the region is still expensive in comparison to some parts of the world with landlords requiring large deposits or full payment. However, since 2015 there has been a sharp decline in rent prices. Construction has been aggressive and the demand has become much less, bringing the prices down almost 50% in some areas. You can now get very reasonable prices with flexible payment schedules and negotiable landlords.


Is it worth the move?

With the right company and package, absolutely, as you will enjoy a tax free salary and a high standard of living!

Using Dubai as an example; you will live in one of the most advanced cities in the world with a moderate cost of living compared with the UK. You will have access to everything and more which you would have back home. There are 10 months a year of beautiful weather, rarely a cloud in the sky and plenty of leisure activities to keep you occupied. It is also very well connected (flying almost anywhere in the world several times a day) so you are always able to get home at short notice. You will locate yourself in one of the safest places on earth with almost a zero crime rate.


Recommendation

When looking at a move to the region always do your due diligence, by researching the company offering you a job or find your job using a trusted recruiter with a good reputation. Find out as much as you can about the company and their circumstances. This can be done via online research, your network of contacts, or the recruitment agency you are applying through.

At TRS Staffing Solutions we only work with reputable employers in the Middle East who we trust. This keeps us as one of the leading agencies in the region enjoying the trust of both clients and candidates.

For further information on opportunities for roles that may interest you and details on salaries and the cost of living in the region, please contact Ben Carter (ben.carter@trsstaffing.com) for a friendly and confidential chat.


TRS Staffing Solutions?

TRS Staffing Solutions, established in 1984 is a global engineering recruitment agency, specializing in sectors covering maritime, oil, gas & chemicals, construction, manufacturing, technology, automotive, mining, power and renewable energy. We staff many of the world’s largest projects. TRS offers clients temporary, contingent and direct hire recruitment solutions. Regionally, our offices were established in the Middle East in 2006.


If you are a client looking to hire permanent or contract staff get in touch with us at via TRS Staffing Solutions or +971 4 446 6198.

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