Working In Finance In Dubai

More and more financial workers are thinking about making the move to Dubai, where the weather is hot and the scenery is beautiful. The tax-free salaries and means of escaping from the UK climate and current economy are deciding factors too, admittedly. But is the allure of moving to Dubai all it’s cracked up to be?

Once you’ve landed a job in Dubai, you’re likely to settle in well and feel you have a good dose of job security, but securing the job in the first place is the hard part. Just what does it take?

Getting a Job in Dubai
The first thing to note is that law in Gulf States allows employers to advertise based on nationality and – if they can – most employers will want to hire locally. That’s not to say it’s impossible for an expat to get a job in Dubai though; if a company is advertising audit jobs in Dubai but can’t find the right person locally, then expats obviously stand a good chance.

It’s often considered easier to get an interview if you’re actually in the country at the time, so it may be worth taking a trip over there for a few weeks to boost your chances; this would also give you time to experience the culture and get a feel for whether you would truly enjoy living there. But the most important tool you have for landing a finance job in Dubai is a good CV.

Crafting a Dubai-Friendly CV
With fewer jobs available and more applicants than ever applying for each one, stricter and brusquer hiring policies are being put in place. If your CV doesn’t grab attention within the first few seconds, it’s likely headed straight for the bin. Here are a few tips for applying for jobs and jazzing up your CV to meet Dubai standards:

  • Including a photograph is standard practice, so take the time to have a professional one taken.
  • If the job specifically states a preference for locals, you could be wasting your time applying as an expat.
  • Explain any career gaps, as employers want to see a linear career progression.
  • Look for jobs similar to your current position, as relevant experience is highly regarded and switching between sectors and job roles is becoming infinitely harder.
  • Keep it short. Attention-grabbing bullet points stating your most valuable skills will get you further than a rambling diatribe about why you’d be good for the job.
  • Brands matter. If you’ve worked for a reputable firm such as Morgan Stanley or HSBC, or you gained your education at Oxford or Cambridge, you stand a much higher chance.
  • This is a given, but you should hold a relevant financial degree.
  • Speaking a second language is highly desirable, especially if it’s Arabic or Chinese.

Is Dubai Right for You?
It’s important not to base your decision purely on the beautiful weather or the tax-free benefits. If you feel you’d be happy staying in your current sector and job role and you have plenty of experience to back up your expertise, then taking your work over to Dubai could be the right move for you, but you should think seriously about the pros and cons before making your final decision.

Ursula Jones writes on a number of subjects including audit jobs in dubai which you can find at

Leave a Reply