7 Myths About Job Hunting In The UAE

Learn about the reality of finding your next job in UAE.
Anam Javed
Reviewed by:
Faye Ameen
February 20, 2024
0 min read time
Anam Javed
Marketing Operations Manager

The UAE has become a leading global hub for many business and employment opportunities. Its strategic location, business-friendly environment, and tax-free salaries make it an attractive prospect for those looking to advance their careers or explore new job options outside their home countries.

However, the UAE job market has unique challenges and misconceptions. Today, we will debunk some common myths about finding top in demand jobs in the UAE and provide tips on how to boost your chances of landing your dream job.

Myth 1: There are No Jobs Available Due to Saturation

Reality: While competition has increased in recent years due to more expatriates moving to the UAE, there are still ample jobs across most sectors and career levels. The UAE government is actively boosting private-sector jobs and reducing reliance on public-sector employment. Dubai alone aims to create 500,000 service, tourism, and retail jobs leading to Expo 2020.

Flexible work permits also make hiring foreign talent easier for UAE companies. With new visas such as the Green Visa and Golden Visa now available, skilled professionals have more employment options opening up across sectors like technology, health care, and education.

Myth 2: Wasta is Essential to Get Hired

Reality: Personal connections and networks do help, there’s no doubt about it. However, they are not essential for expatriate job seekers in the UAE. Many multinational companies have standardized application and screening processes where your skills and experience matter more than “who you know.”

That said, networking remains essential. Attending industry events, conferences, and mixers to expand your professional network can increase your chances of hearing about openings. Social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook groups focused on UAE employment are valuable for making connections.

Myth 3: Applying Online is Useless

Reality: Submitting applications online is now the standard for most UAE companies. While some roles may require in-person interviews later, applying directly through a company’s website or job portals like Bayt.com, GulfTalent, and Monster Gulf is typically the first step.

Ignoring online mediums like Qureos closes the door to many potential opportunities. You can boost success rates by customizing CVs and cover letters for each application instead of sending generic templates to all employers. Following up directly with recruiters via email or LinkedIn after applying also helps.

Myth 4: Age Discrimination Makes Job Hunting Impossible After 30

Reality: While some UAE employers prefer younger candidates, various sectors now actively seek out more experienced professionals, usually over 30. These include fields like health care, education, engineering, finance, and management consulting that require specialized expertise.

However, professionals over 50 may face more age bias in the UAE job market, but this is a global issue. A McKinsey report indicates that workers aged 45 and over face significant bias worldwide, hence age discrimination prevails worldwide.

Prospective employees can help overcome employer concerns by expanding their network and showcasing up-to-date skills on their resumes. This will not only emphasize energy levels but also boost motivation. Options like freelancing, consulting, and entrepreneurship also open up more choices.

Myth 5: Unemployment is Sky High

Reality: While unemployment rates in the UAE previously topped 12% after the 2008 global financial crisis, the current rate hovers under 3% - on par with unemployment rates in countries like Japan, Singapore, and Australia.

For educated and skilled expatriates willing to be flexible, ample job opportunities remain. However, securing employment can take longer without hands-on support. This is where AI-powered matching platforms are transforming hiring across the Gulf region. Advanced algorithms instantly match candidates to jobs they are qualified for and interested in pursuing. This results in higher application conversion rates and minimizes effort for employers and job seekers.

Myth 6: High Salaries Come Easy

Reality: The UAE does offer attractive tax-free salaries with higher pay compared to many other countries globally. However, only specific industries like tech, finance, aviation, and engineering offer exceptionally high packages to foreign professionals.

Salaries are directly linked to your skills, qualifications, and work experience. Those willing to take middle-management positions can enjoy a better quality of life in the UAE but may not automatically earn the highest tier salaries. Understanding the pay scale expectations for your industry and role is essential.

Also read: What is minimum wage in UAE?

Myth 7: Low-Skilled Jobs are Abundant

Reality: While the retail, hospitality, and construction sectors create jobs for low-skilled workers, most openings now require at least a high school diploma or technical skills training. Many service jobs also prefer those with UAE experience and English or Arabic fluency.

For unskilled or semi-skilled workers like drivers, cooks, cleaners, cashiers, etc., finding employment typically requires applying through an agency or company already based in the UAE that can then sponsor your visa directly. 

Bonus: 13 Tips to Boost Your Job Hunt

Follow this strategic blueprint to accelerate your job search in the UAE:

  • Target companies already sponsoring work visas for your profession
  • Emphasize transferable skills gained locally and internationally
  • Get your CV professionally edited - customize it for each application
  • Tap into alumni networks of UAE universities
  • Attend job fairs and industry events
  • Join niche Facebook groups and WhatsApp channels
  • Post on LinkedIn using relevant hashtags
  • Set up email alerts for openings in your field
  • Consider freelancing to gain UAE experience
  • Be open-minded about initial job location & salary
  • Prepare for competency-based & technical interviews
  • Learn basic Arabic phrases to stand out
  • Work with a hiring platform like Qureos to get matched faster


While finding a job in the UAE as a foreign professional comes with unique challenges, ample opportunities await across diverse industries for those who approach the process strategically.

Debunking common myths about the job search and leveraging the right platforms like Qureos to access a tailored matching service minimizes effort and uncertainty.

With an open-minded, patient, and persistent mindset, your dream job in the UAE is closer than you think. The possibilities are endless - and now you have the tools and insights needed to manifest them into reality.

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