Dubai has established itself as one of the most prominent cities in the world. It has become a renowned travel destination due to its towering modern architecture, luxurious accommodations, fine cuisine and a shopper’s paradise of everything from traditional marketplaces to high fashion malls.
It’s no wonder, then, that professionals from every industry are searching for the job opportunities in Dubai. Not only is the country boasting a booming job market, but it is also a gorgeous place to live in.
One of the fundamental tips to working abroad is to secure a job before making the move. This is especially true in Dubai, where a sponsoring employer is essential to getting both your residency visa and work permit. To make the move worthwhile, you’ll want to find a job that not only suits your skillset and adds valuable experience for your career but also rewards you financially.
To that end, we’ve put together a list of the highest-paying jobs in Dubai. It should give you an idea of which industries are the most lucrative, as well as whether your blend of education and skills will help you secure one of the best positions.
10. Marketing director
Average annual salary: AED349,200 ($95,090)
Dubai is a city of innovation and new upstarts. Hence, there are significant job opportunities for marketing directors across different sectors for those with the proper work experience.
A bachelor's degree in marketing, finance or a related subject might be required. Additionally, having two to four years of experience working will also be essential. Having experience with design, art and computing is also a plus.
Networking can give you access to numerous marketing jobs as many of openings are not even advertised. Marketing directors in Dubai can make good money and enjoy an lavish lifestyle. The position may involve some traveling, too.
Average annual salary: AED388,800 ($105,870)
Dubai is a hub for international travel; the Emirates airline operates the highest number of long-distance flights, and Dubai is the place for most layovers for trips to Europe, North America, Africa, and Asia.
As the aviation industry is constantly expanding in Dubai, there is a constant need for experienced pilots. A pilot’s job in Dubai is lucrative, exceptionally well-paid, and comes with many work-related benefits.
However, to be considered, having 5 to 10 years of commercial flying experience will be a must. It goes without saying that you must also have the required training and licensing certificates to work as a pilot in Dubai. All pilots are given a proficiency test and a simulator exam to ensure they are adept for the role. Meanwhile, new pilots can expect to start at a junior position and move up the ladder gradually.
8. College professor
Average annual salary: AED469,200 ($127,760)
Dubai has numerous colleges and universities that cater to both home and international students and offer courses across several disciplines. As such, the demand for college professors to teach at all levels is quite high.
As for any academic teaching role, you must have a master’s degree or a PhD in your subject of interest. Meanwhile, experience in teaching will also help you stand out from other candidates. It goes without saying that college professors in Dubai can expect excellent pay rates as well as numerous benefits.
Average annual salary: AED529,200 ($144,100)
In Dubai, most orthodontists work in private group practices where a wide range of dental services is offered. Fluency in English and Arabic is preferred, and you will also need to get liability insurance and apply for a license in the UAE before being able to practice. The pay is lucrative and will also increase based on your experience.
6. Chief financial officer
Average annual salary: AED549,600 ($149,650)
With an ever-increasing number of companies and startups in Dubai, the demand for chief financial officers (CFOs) has never been higher.
A CFO is responsible for overseeing and managing a company's finances. You will need a degree in accounting, finance, management, or business with at least three to seven years of experience working for a well-established company to be considered.
In Dubai, most CFO jobs are in the financial sector. The pay scale depends on experience, but it also comes with many benefits. CFOs in Dubai also need to travel extensively, and fluency in Arabic is an asset.
5. Chief executive officer
Average annual salary: AED589,200 ($160,440)
A chief executive officer (CEO) is the highest-ranking executive manager of an organisation; it is a job that is associated with prestige, great salary, and big bonuses. CEOs have many duties, but their primary role is to enhance the company’s performance, set goals, and improve revenues.
Dubai is a major hub for many industries, hence the need for qualified CEOs. The majority of C-suite jobs in Dubai are with airlines, banks, and other financial institutions. You must have a bachelor's or master’s degree in finance, accounting, marketing, or business with at least 5 to 10 years of experience to be considered for this position.
4. Bank manager
Average annual salary: AED628,800 ($171,220)
Dubai has a thriving financial sector with a plethora of job opportunities. One of the most well-paid roles is that of a bank manager.
You should have a degree in accounting, finance, marketing or business and at least three to seven years of experience working in the financial sector in order to be considered. Fluency in Arabic will be an additional advantage, too. Most bank managers begin their careers as tellers or customer service representatives in before progressing in a managerial role.
Average annual salary: AED669,600 ($182,330)
Lawyers are in significant demand in Dubai due to the city being a major financial capital. A solid understanding of the judicial system of UAE is a must, and fluency in Arabic could be a prerequisite.
Most entry-level lawyers in Dubai start their careers as junior associates, either in a private firm or a government agency. Knowing the practice of Labor Law, Contract Law, and Commercial Law in Dubai is vital if you want to advance further. Meanwhile, job opportunities for lawyers are available across every industry including finance and banking.
Average annual salary: AED829,200 ($225,790)
Getting a job as a judge in Dubai is no easy task as the number of judges in the government is restricted. At the same time, it is an extremely prestigious and lucrative career.
Fluency in Arabic is mandatory as judges work with work with people from all over the Middle East. Meanwhile, it’s essential that you are well-versed in local laws and the judicial system and that you have over five years of experience as a lawyer. As judges are appointed by the government, for the most part, you might need to work in the governmental departments to have a chance in eventually becoming a judge.
Average annual salary: AED988,800 ($269,250)
Dubai has numerous private clinics and governmental healthcare facilities that constantly need great surgeons. That said, this is a competitive field; candidates for surgeon positions must have extensive experience and training but also have basic competency in communicating in Arabic.
While the application process may be lengthy, you can expect to receive a lucrative compensation package along with other benefits.
Whether you are a university graduate wanting to break into their chosen industry or a seasoned professional looking to widen their career scope, Dubai is certainly one of the best places you can work and live abroad.
While it might need some time to acclimate, the culture, people, and climate can undoubtedly make for quite a compelling experience in the school of life.
Join the conversation! Do you live and work in Dubai? What was your experience? Let us know in the comments section below.
This article is an updated version of an earlier article originally published in July 2014. Currency conversions are based on rates supplied by XE.com on 30 March 2022.