Tuesday 23 April 2019 (UAE)

Salaries and wages in Dubai

Average salaries and wages in Dubai and UAE

Table of average wages and salary ranges for jobs in Dubai. Similar pay scales and wages paid in Abu Dhabi companies and jobs (or higher), similar or lower in other emirates. All salary figures are monthly in UAE dirhams (AED) (3.67 dhs = US$1). Actual amount will depend on qualifications, experience, employee nationality, employment history, employer mood, and other random factors. Suggest corrections or additional professions and salary ranges in the UAE salaries forum topic. Comments about nationality and qualifications are not intended to be opinions, judgements, or moral statements of what is good or bad, but observations of how it is. There are exceptions to the generalisations also.

Job title 2005-2006 2007-2008 2009-20104 2011-2012 2013-2014 2015-2016 2017-2018 20198
Figures in AED, monthly           AED, monthly    
Abra driver 700              
Accountant 3,000-10,000     3,000-15,000   3,000-20,000    
Accountant, Chief             35k-60k7 4k-20k
Accountant, General Ledger             20k-40k7 2k-8k
Accountant, Management             20k-40k7 4k-20k
Accountant, Senior               10k-20k
Admin Assistant, Office         1,500-5,000      
Air Hostess, see Cabin Crew                
Airline Pilot (Captain) 25,000-35,000     30,000-45,000   30,000-50,000    
Airline Pilot (First Officer) 15,000-25,000     20,000-30,000        
Auditor, Internal             15k-25k7  
Bank - management 8,000-30,000 10,000-30,000 15,000-40,000 15,000-50,000        
Bank - teller         5,000-12,000      
Bar Manager       5,000-15,000   5,000-25,000    
Bus driver - Indian school           1,500-2,500    
Carpenter 1000-4000              
Cashier, money exchange         1,500-4,000      
Cashier, supermarket, fast food, etc       1,000-2,500   1,000-3,500    
Cabin Crew 4,000-7,000 4,000-8,000 5,000-10,000 5,000-11,000   7,000-14,000    
Chief Executive Officer (CEO)                
CEO, prestigious company         100k-1m+      
CEO, small company 15,000-30,000 15,000-35,000 15,000-50,000 15,000-40,000        
CEO, large company   50,000-100,000 50,000-150,000 50,000-150,000        
CEO, banking sector       100,000-150,000        
CEO, construction industry       60,000-150,000        
Chief Financial Officer (CFO)             60k-180k7  
Chief Legal Officer             75k-140k7  
Cleaner         800-1,300 (?)     800-1800
Compliance Manager             25k-40k7  
Construction worker 500-1000 500-1000 500-1500 500-1500       500-1500
Cook, Chef       1,000-10,000        
Country Head (banking)       130,000-170,000        
Customer Service Agent       3,000-10,000        
Doctor 15,000-50,000 15,000-60,000 15,000-75,000 15,000-75,000        
Driver (not taxi) 1000-2000 1000-2000 1000-2000 1000-2500        
Editor, newspaper       10,000-75,000        
Electrician   1500-5000            
Engineer           8,000-30,000    
Engineer, Civil       10,000-75,000        
Executive Assistant           15,000-25,000    
Fast food (sales, preparation, etc)           1,500-3,500    
Finance Controller             40k-60k7  
Finance Director             50k-120k7  
Finance Manager             35k-60k7 5k-30k
Financial Analyst             15k-30k7  
Flight Attendant - see Cabin Crew                
Front Desk Staff (hotels)       5,000-15,000        
Gardener 500-1500 500-1500 500-1500 500-1500        
General Manager (hospitality)       25,000-45,000        
Instructor (tertiary level)         6,000-25,000      
Instructor (HCT)   10,000-25,000         8,000-18,000  
Investment Banker   50,000-100,000 50,000-100,000 should be zero        
IT - too vague, wide range         3,000-50,000+      
Kindergarten Supervisor (Indian)       5,000        
Kindergarten Supervisor (Western)           12,000-20,000    
Kindergarten Teacher, see Nursery                
Laborer 500-1000 500-1000 500-1200 600-1500   600-1500    
Lawyer     25,000-200,000          
Legal Assistant             13k-20k7 5k-12k
Legal Counsel             20k-70k7  
McDonald's         2,500-5,000      
Maid, Nanny2 700-2000 700-2000 700-2000 700-2500   700-3000    
Manager, mid-level 5000-15,000 5000-20,000 5000-20,000 5000-30,000        
Manager, senior 8000-25,000 8000-30,000 10,000-40,000 10,000-50,000        
Nurse 2,500-8,000 2,500-10,000 2,500-10,000 2,500-10,000 2,500-15,000      
Nurse - Nursery, Preschool       2,500-5,000        
Nursery School Director, Manager       10,000-20,000        
Nursery School Teacher   1,000-5,000   1,000-8,000   1,000-10,000    
Nursery Teaching Assistant       2,000-3,000        
Office Manager           8,000-16,000    
Office Worker 2000-5000 2000-5000 2000-6000 2000-6000 1500-7000      
Paralegal             18k-30k7  
Payroll Manager             25k-40k7  
Personal Assistant (PA) 2,000-10,000 2,000-15,000 2,000-20,000 2,000-25,000   2,000-25,000    
Pharmacist       5,000-8,000 6,000-9,000      
Pilot, see Airline Pilot                
PRO   2000-10,000            
Product Officer (banking)       10,000-20,000        
Professional1 5,000-40,000 5,000-60,000 5,000-80,000 5,000-60,000   5,000-75,000    
Project Manager 10,000-30,000 10,000-50,000 10,000-60,000 10,000-50,000   12,000-75,000    
Propery Sales Agent, see Real Estate                
Quantity Surveyor (junior)       10,000-14,000        
Real Estate Broker3 0-millions almost nothing see Janitor shawarmas 0-100k+ 0-100k+ 0-not much 0 again
Receptionist 2000-5000 2000-6000 2500-8000 2500-8000        
Receptionist, bilingual       10,000-15,000        
Reporter, newspaper       10,000-25,000        
Research Assistant           8,000-12,000    
Restaurant Manager   3,000-10,000   5,000-15,000        
Sales, commercial           5,000-25,000    
Sales assistant, shop           1,500-2,500    
Sales supervisor, supermarket       1,500-2,500        
School Headmaster (Indian School)       6,000-10,000 7,000-15,000 7,000-12,000    
School Principal (expensive school) 20,000-30,000 20,000-30,000   25,000-40,000   25,000-45,000    
Secretary - see Receptionist                
Security Guard 1000-1500 1000-1500 1000-2000 1000-2000 1000-2000      
Shop Assistant 1000-3000 1000-3000 1000-4000 1000-4000        
Taxi Driver 1000-3000 1000-3000 1000-6000 1000-4000     1000-5000  
Teacher, Indian school 1,500-5,000 1,500-5,000 1,500-5,000 1,500-5,000 1,500-5,000      
Teacher, Emirati, government school           24,000-34,0005    
Teacher, expat, government school 2,000-6,000 2,000-6,000 2,000-6,000 2,000-6,000        
Teacher, expat, PPP school Abu Dhabi     5,000-20,000 5,000-20,000        
Teacher, preschool, KG, see Nursery                
Teacher, university 3,000-16,000 3,000-18,000 3,000-20,000 3,000-22,000   5,000-30,000    
Teacher, western school 4,000-15,000 5,000-18,000 5,000-20,000 5,000-22,000     5,000-22,000  
Teaching Assistant (TA)       2,000-4,000        
Technician, Etisalat 10,000 10,000 10,000 10,000        
Technology - too vague, see IT                
Telesales and Marketing       3,000-10,000        
Waiter, Waitress 1,000-3,000 1,000-4,000 1,000-5,000 1,000-5,000 1,000-5,000   1,000-4,000  
Window cleaner (Burj Khalifa)           2,2006    
  1. Professional means a profession for which a higher level qualification is required, e.g. lawyer, architect, engineer, etc. Salary range is for those employed by a company. Professionals who work for themselves can earn between 0 (or less until going bust) and $lot$ per month (>100k is possible).
  2. Minimum salaries for maids set by the respective governments of the country they come from are: Bangladesh AED 750, India AED 1,100, Indonesia AED 800, Philippines AED 1,400, Sri Lanka AED 850 (figures not confirmed). It's not clear if these minimum salaries are supported by labour law in the UAE. Some maids are paid less than the minimum.
  3. Real Estate brokers mostly work on commission with a range is so variable as to be almost meaningless. Many were easily earnings tens of thousands of dirhams per month at the height of the property boom in 2007-2008, some were earning AED 100,000s per month, and even more if they were trading properties themselves. At the end of 2008 and into 2009 as the Dubai property market crashed and burned, they're probably the same ones we saw in a report of ex-property brokers in jobs such as offering private taxi services so they could scrape by and earn enough money to feed themselves.
  4. Some salaries for new employment categories for 2010 based on Gulf News / Charterhouse report 06 February 2010. Others based on vacancies advertised in the press, online, or with recruitment agencies in the UAE.
  5. Public school teacher salaries in Abu Dhabi - comment by teacher ("I used to get Dh24,000. Now I’m getting Dh34,000 ...") reported 06 Feb 2014 (The National), not confirmed.
  6. CNN report 22 Feb 2014.
  7. Based on Robert Half 2018 Salary Guide. Assume figures are for higher level executives and other positions in prestigious companies, salaries for Western expats or Emirati and GCC nationals, not necessarily your average shawarma stand in Deira. For example, their survey gives a salary range of AED 20,000 to 40,000 per month for a General Ledger Accountant. However, a quick search of UAE job websites lists 10s of jobs, none of which offer more than AED 7,500 per month, and most are less than AED 5,000 per month. All that the survey really seems to illustrate is that for a limited number of highly qualified and experienced workers of certain nationalities and professions, it is possible to find some astronomical salaries in the UAE. The majority of shop assistants, sales workers, construction workers, delivery drivers, teachers, etc are not likely to find useful salary information in a Robert Half guide.
  8. Ranges for 2019 reflect salary range for most workers, not the very high end jobs as surveyed by recruitment consultants such as Robert Half (see 2018 figures). If you fall into the high level category, you are quite likely to know your worth and unlikely to be basing your salary negotiations on a random internet website table of values.
Salary surveys Abu Dhabi, Dubai, UAE, Middle East
Salaries and Nationalities in the UAE

Salaries can vary substantially amongst different nationalities and appear to depend on nationality. Many jobs are are qualification dependent, and for some professions, western qualifications are regarded as worth more than non-western qualifications resulting in higher salaries for westerners or western trained employees. Another factor is that the salary level is not necessarily determined by the nationality but by the demand-supply equation for the job markets - some jobs attract less interest from some nationalities because of the high workload and/or low salary level - often nationalities that have more options because of a better (perceived) reputation, and/or coming from a better (perceived) education system. And sometimes the salary might just be dependent on passport and/or DNA of the job applicant.

Average salaries for men are higher than for woman according to various surveys, but that might be the result of a greater proportion of men in higher paying jobs distorting comparisons rather than men getting paid more because of their gender or genes.

If there is wage discrimination based on nationality, assume the range will decrease in this order, with the top paid nationalities getting 2 or 3 times as much as the bottom paid nationalities for the same job. The order of list is not set in stone, there will be some overlap and some fluctuation depending on various factors, especially between groups 3 and 4.

  1. Westerners (Europe, North America, Australasia) and GCC Arabs will be paid the most.
  2. Japan, South Korea, and Singapore nationals are paid similar to Westerners.
  3. South Africa, Eastern Europe, Russia, Taiwan, Central and South America, and non-GCC Arabs.
  4. Philippines, Thailand, China and other Asian countries but not sub-continent; and non-GCC Arabs.
  5. India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, China, Africa (except for South Africa and the MENA region).
Jobs and salaries in Dubai and UAE

There is a range of Dubai jobs much the same as in any city but a larger range of incomes than many expats are familiar with for several reasons. Apart from teachers and maids, there is no minimum salary so market forces determine a fair (or unfair wage). As the UAE, and Dubai in particular, has a mixture of nationalities, market rates tend to be governed by what is enough to lure foreign nationals away from their home country, not what is a fair wage relative to what others are earning for the same work in the UAE. Hence Indian teachers end up getting paid a tenth of what Western teachers do, and manual laborers and maids are paid what seems to be a pittance in the eyes of patronising Western journalists (who cleverly demonstrate their ignorance of basic economics), but is a kings ransom in the eyes of all their compatriots lining up at home trying to get a visa to come and work in the UAE. That comment isn't intended to dismiss the very real difficulties facing the working class in the UAE but there are other issues that are more important than the actual salary level - the non-payment of wages for months at a time, the extortionate fees charged in their home country to bring them to the UAE, the difficult living conditions in some of the camps, the harsh and unsafe working conditions on some of the construction sites.

Add a comment to the Dubai salaries topic in the forum, or contact us, if you think this information is incomplete and/or inaccurate, or even just to send a tirade of abuse if you're an investment banker or western journalist.

Salaries and Benefits - transport, housing, medical, travel, pension, tax

Benefits can include company housing, housing paid for by the company but found yourself, a housing allowance (usually not enough to find something suitable), a car or transport allowance, private medical insurance - check carefully who with and the terms and conditions, and a yearly or more frequent return ticket to your home country (or sometimes cash in lieu of a ticket).

A gratuity is paid at the end of employment and depends on various factors. The law specifies a certain minimum but your own contract can improve on that. Not everyone is automatically entitled to a gratuity - it depends on the type of contract (fixed term or unlimited) and under what circumstances you terminate your employment. It is intended to compensate for the lack of a pension for expatriates (the government does provide pensions, but only for UAE nationals).

There is no income tax in the UAE, although occasionally the possibility is discussed. It's unlikely to happen in the near future, and very unlikely unless somewhere like Saudi Arabia considers it seriously. Depending on where you come from, and how long you stay in your Dubai job, you may have to pay tax in your home country. Every country is different and you should speak to either your tax department or a tax lawyer/accountant to get definitive information.

Salary increases in the UAE
References
Last update Saturday 23-Mar-2019
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