December 19, 2023

Exploring UAE Employment and Salary Trends & Projections

The UAE's Employment Landscape: Shifting Sands and Soaring Sectors

The UAE's economy is no stranger to dynamism, and its employment landscape is reflecting that very spirit. While some sectors, like construction and hospitality, are experiencing a boom, others, like retail and manufacturing, are navigating the currents of change. Let's dive deeper into these contrasting trends:

Soaring Sectors:

  • Construction: As Dubai prepares for Expo 2024 and beyond, infrastructure projects are taking off, propelling construction sector growth to "exponential" levels. This translates to a surge in demand for skilled professionals across the board, from architects and engineers to skilled tradespeople. Companies are actively seeking talent in areas like project management, sustainability, and automation.
  • Hospitality: With its world-renowned tourist destinations and ambitious expansion plans, the UAE's hospitality sector is a magnet for job seekers. Hotels, restaurants, and leisure facilities are constantly on the lookout for qualified individuals in everything from customer service and event management to culinary expertise and hospitality leadership.
  • Healthcare: The UAE's commitment to healthcare excellence, coupled with a growing population, is fueling major expansion in this sector. Hospitals, clinics, and research facilities are actively recruiting doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals across a wide range of specialties. Opportunities abound in areas like telemedicine, genomics, and preventive care.

Navigating Change:

  • Retail: Automation and evolving consumer trends are shaping the retail landscape, necessitating a shift in the skillsets required. While traditional cashier roles may decline, demand is growing for professionals with expertise in e-commerce, data analysis, and digital marketing. Adapting to changing consumer preferences and embracing technology will be key for retail businesses to thrive.
  • Manufacturing: Similar to retail, automation is playing a significant role in the UAE's manufacturing sector. However, this doesn't spell doom and gloom. The focus is shifting towards higher-value jobs requiring technical expertise in robotics, artificial intelligence, and advanced manufacturing processes. Upskilling and reskilling will be crucial for workers to stay ahead of the curve.

Beyond the Sectors:

  • Focus on Emiratization: The UAE government is placing a strong emphasis on increasing Emirati participation in the workforce. This means initiatives and programs are being implemented to equip Emiratis with the skills and experience needed to excel in various sectors.
  • Gig Economy: The rise of the gig economy presents both challenges and opportunities. While traditional, full-time jobs may decrease in some sectors, freelance and contractual work opportunities are on the rise. This flexibility can be appealing to younger generations and those seeking more work-life balance.

The Takeaway:

The UAE's employment landscape is experiencing a dynamic shift, with some sectors soaring and others navigating change. As automation and new technologies reshape the workplace, the focus will be on adaptability, up-skilling, and embracing new opportunities. While challenges exist, the overall outlook for the UAE's job market remains positive, offering exciting prospects for both local and international talent.

What About Salaries? What Industries are Earning the Most?

Forget just the average, let's decode the intricate tapestry of salaries in the UAE's diverse industries!

Prepare for a 4.5% overall rise in 2024, but remember, beneath that number lies a fascinating landscape of peaks and valleys depending on the industry in question:

Peak Performers

Oil & Gas: This liquid gold-fueled sector, with its intense skill demand and global impact, takes the crown, offering annual salaries potentially exceeding AED 500,000. Engineers, geologists, and data analysts, take note!

Tech Titans: From AI wizards to cybersecurity gurus, the tech sector beckons with salaries ranging from AED 250,000 to AED 750,000. Hone your code and innovation skills, the future is digital!

Finance Finesses: Financial wizards, rejoice! Your expertise in navigating the market's ebbs and flows can earn you up to AED 400,000 annually. Master your numbers and climb the financial ladder!

At the Lower Earning End:

Retail Rhythms: While vibrant, the retail sector operates on a different beat. Customer service superstars and savvy marketers can expect average salaries around AED 80,000.

Hospitality Harmony: From welcoming guests with a smile to whipping up culinary masterpieces, the hospitality sector offers an energetic, service-oriented environment with average salaries around AED 75,000.

Understanding Salary Differences

The gap between these sectors arises from a variety of factors:

Skill Tango: Specialised knowledge in technical fields like oil & gas and technology makes those skills precious, elevating their value and the salaries they command.

Economic Cha-Cha: Industries like finance play a central role in the UAE's economic heartbeat, and those who keep it pumping deserve a competitive rhythm in their paychecks.

Market Mambo: In sectors like retail and hospitality, an abundance of talent creates a competitive dance for roles, often leading to lower salaries.

Unmasking Your Worth

Understanding these dynamics empowers you to make informed career decisions in 2024. Invest in skills that make you a coveted partner in high-demand sectors. Leverage your expertise to negotiate your worth in sectors with strong economic influence. And remember, even in dynamic sectors like retail and hospitality, your unique talents and dedication can make you a standout performer.


We hope this little look back (and forwards!) helps you make great decisions about your career goals and ambitions heading into 2024. If you need any help with the next steps for your career or to take your prospects to the next level, make sure you speak to the Prism 7 Resourcing UAE team, we can help make your career dreams a reality!

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