Average salaries by profession in the UAE

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Salaries in the UAE are recognized as some of the highest in the world. Unskilled workers can expect to earn between $1,100 to $2,000 per month, with the average salary being $3,500, while above-average income ranges from $7,500 to $8,500. The income of experienced professionals engaged in specific fields and working in their profession may be even higher. The level of income also depends on the place of residence; for example, salaries in Dubai are higher than in other cities in the UAE.

The picture will be more objective if we break down the income level for each sector and correlate it with the expenses required for living in the Emirates.

Economic Situation in the UAE

High salaries are provided by a steadily growing and developing economy. Strong growth persisted in 2023, with growth in the first quarter reaching 3.8% compared to 2022. The total GDP reached $113.9 billion, according to the report of the Ministry of Economy of the Emirates. The transport and warehousing sector is particularly highlighted, contributing AED 21.8 billion to the country's economy and showing a higher percentage increase.

Non-oil sector growth reached 4.8%, driven by strong domestic demand in key sectors of the economy such as tourism, real estate, construction, transportation, and manufacturing. International experts maintain that economic growth will continue in 2024, reaching 3.2%.

The UAE economy demonstrates stable growth for several key reasons:

  • Diversification: The UAE actively implements a policy of economic diversification, developing the oil and gas sector while investing in other areas such as tourism, finance, transportation, innovation, and real estate. This helps mitigate dependence on oil and gas prices and creates a stable economic foundation.
  • Foreign investment attraction: The Emirates attract an increasing amount of foreign assets by creating favorable business conditions.
  • Infrastructure projects: The country actively invests in the construction of transport arteries, airports, ports, and technology parks. This not only stimulates the economy but also creates jobs and attracts expatriates.
  • Political stability and security also create favorable conditions for business and tourism.
  • Flexible tax policy: The country has a 5% VAT, and in June 2023, a 9% corporate income tax was introduced.
  • Tourism development: Investments in tourism, the development of entertainment complexes, high-class hotels, and events attract international tourists, which is an additional source of income for the state.

In the conditions of a stable economy, businesses are often more successful and profitable. This allows companies to increase employee salaries. The unemployment rate in the UAE is lower than in many major countries, standing at only 2.75% for 2022-2023, creating more favorable conditions for job seekers. The rate has been steadily declining since 2015. For comparison, in 2016, the unemployment rate was 3.69%.

In-demand Sectors and Professions

The Emirates is an advanced tourist destination where the service sector thrives alongside IT technologies, finance, and programming. There continues to be a high demand for real estate – both commercial and residential. From this, the following conclusions can be drawn regarding promising sectors and professions:

  • Real Estate: Demand for housing is predicted to continue growing steadily, reaching 12.3% by 2026, with interest in property purchases from both locals and expatriates.
  • Logistics: The demand is associated with the convenient geographical location of the UAE.
  • Construction Industry: Growth in the sector is directly linked to the increasing demand for real estate.
  • Manufacturing: The most developed sectors include oil and gas, manufacturing of building materials, and modern computer technology.
  • Investments and Finance: The UAE is a major global financial center.
  • Tourism: The Emirates remains a popular destination for well-off Russians, with Dubai being the top choice for most tourists.
  • Trade: The Emirates are attractive for business creation and entrepreneurship, leading to high levels of trade turnover and exports.
  • IT Industry: International universities in the country provide education in Computer Science.
  • Food and Beverage Industry: The market volume is expected to reach $43.98 billion by 2029, with an average growth rate of 17.26% over the forecast period.
  • Services: The UAE is famous for its luxury hotels, spas, beauty salons, private beaches, and high levels of personal service.

According to the latest information, the real estate market in Dubai continued to grow in November 2023, with prices increasing by 1.17%, reaching a record level of 1,271 dirhams per square foot, exceeding the previous record by 3%, which was set in September 2014. Against the backdrop of real estate growth, other industries are logically growing, including the influx of expatriates, foreign investment, students, and young families from other countries. All of them need housing, stable jobs in developed and in-demand sectors, and the Emirates strive to provide this.

Minimum and Average Salaries in the UAE in 2023

The exact salary level depends on the industry, the prestige of the company, and the position held. For example, in programming, the salary will differ for Junior and Senior specialists.

Most citizens start their professional careers with salaries of around $1,400, while qualified specialists can already expect an average salary in the UAE ranging from $8,000 to $10,000 per month. Additionally, the average salary in Dubai will be higher than, for example, in Abu Dhabi, differing by several hundred to a thousand dollars. Other factors also influence salary levels:

  • Education Level:

Higher education: +10–20%.

Additional qualifications or certificates: +5–15%.

  • Work Experience:

For each year of experience: +1–5%.

Experience in the relevant field of more than 5 years: +10–20%.

  • Specialized Skills:

Knowledge of additional languages: +5–15%.

Expertise in specific technologies or areas: +10–25%.

  • Sector of Work:

Work in high-tech industries (IT, finance): +10–25%.

Specialized sectors (oil and gas, aviation): +15–30%.

  • Geographical Location:

Work in Dubai or Abu Dhabi: +10–20%.

Work in less developed regions: -5–10%.

  • Economic Conditions:

Period of economic growth: +5–15%.

Economic downturn: -5–10%.

When considering salary levels, it is worth taking into account taxes and living expenses.

Taxation on Income

Taxation in the UAE is primarily based on two main taxes: a 5% Value Added Tax (VAT) and a 9% corporate tax. VAT does not apply to companies registered in free economic zones if the organization trades outside the UAE. Both taxes apply on the mainland if a company's turnover exceeds 375,000 dirhams. If a company's profit does not exceed 3 million dirhams in the first three years of operation, it may be exempt from paying corporate tax. There are no taxes on personal income.

Until 2018, the absence of taxes was part of the Emirates' official tax policy. The state still seeks to maintain low tax rates, and the system is significantly simplified compared to that of Russia.

Visas and Government Support

The most straightforward ways to obtain a visa include investing in the country's economy, entrepreneurial activities, official employment, education, or property acquisition.

The majority of the Emirates' population are foreigners, so there are plenty of job opportunities for expatriates.

The responsibility for obtaining a visa for foreign employees lies with the employer, who submits an application to the ministry. After the application is approved, the employer can then apply online for an Entry Permit, which is a residency visa for the foreign employee.

Conclusion: Salary Levels and Cost of Living

Most top management positions are held by citizens of the country, but with active work and demonstration of abilities, one can expect career growth. Salaries in the UAE are high by CIS standards.

Approximate percentage breakdown of expenses:

  • Housing: 30–40%. For example, renting a one-bedroom apartment in Dubai can range from 2,000 to 4,000 dollars per month.
  • Utilities: 5–10%.
  • Transportation: 15–20%.
  • Automobile expenses: 8–12%.
  • Groceries: 10–15%.
  • Household goods: 2–5%.
  • Insurance: 3–7%.
  • Medical services: 2–5%.
  • Education: 5–10%.
  • Education fees (if there are children): 3–7%.
  • Entertainment and leisure: 5–10%.
  • Savings and investments (if desired): 10–15%.

The high salaries in the Arab Emirates, diverse career opportunities, and modern living standards create a unique environment for those aspiring to successful careers and a comfortable lifestyle.

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