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Dubai Salary and Pay Scale

30 May 2019

Salaries vary widely in Dubai, depending on your qualifications and negotiation skills. Dubai has no minimum wage rates or standardized salaries, and salaries are usually similar to, or greater than those paid in western nations. Salaries also vary widely depending on nationalities, qualifications, experience, employee history and other random factors.

Salary packages are mostly dependent on your negotiation skills. For instance, an executive secretary may be paid more than a product sales representative within the same company, and even two secretaries working on same jobs can have different salary packages.

The UAE Federal Labour Law and the Emirate of Dubai does not have the provision for minimum wages, and your basic salary is what is a negotiated rate stipulated in your labour contract. The amount is important, as it is the basis of calculation for your end-of-service gratuity pay.

Range of salaries for various jobs

There are a range of jobs in Dubai that are much the same as in any city, but the range of incomes are larger than those otherwise familiar by expats for several reasons.

Manual labour type jobs are demanding and are poorly paid. Majority of workers in this type of employment are from the Asian subcontinent, particularly, India, Pakistan, Philippines and Indonesia. Labourers work for 12 hours a day and 7 days a week. Maids, nannies, gardeners, drivers, and security guards fall under this category. Minimum salaries of maids are set by their respective governments of the country they come from. It is, however, unclear, if these minimum pay scales are supported by labour law in UAE.

average dubai salary

In the year 2013, the Labour Ministry in the UAE approved certain rules for minimum salaries for various categories of workers. However, these are different from minimum wage, as they are not universally applicable to all full-time workers in Dubai, and are particularly for those who meet certain criteria. According to these rules:

  • University graduates should be given a minimum monthly salary of Dh.12,000
  • Skilled technicians should be offered a minimum monthly salary of Dh.7000
  • Skilled labourers should be offered a minimum monthly salary of Dh.5000, provided, they have a Secondary School Certificate with them.

Note: In the UAE, it is illegal to form labour unions, which leaves one with few outlets for employees to exercise any control about their payscales.

Table of average wage ranges in Dubai (based on job titles) - 2019

Job titles that have a smaller salary range are more likely to pay taking into consideration the qualifications and sometimes, the size of the company, and are less dependent on nationality. But, nationality may be a factor in determining whether or not a person actually gets hired for high paying jobs.

At present, an individual working in Dubai on an average earns about Dh.16,775 per month. This average monthly salary includes housing, transport and other benefits.

However, salaries can wary considerably between different jobs. Hence, if you are interested in knowing the salary of a particular job, check for specific salaries for specific job titles.

Job Title

Avg. monthly salary in AED (2019)

Accountant

11,393

Administrative Assistant

8,773

Architect

15,009

Attorney

24,020

Biomedical Engineer

14,118

CAD Drafter

12,558

Cashier

9,932

Chartered Accountant

14,208

Chef

13,605

Chief Executive Officer

37,445

Chief Financial Officer

35,092

Civil Engineer

15,313

Computer Technician

13,205

Creative Director

17,535

Dentist

39,123

Developer / Programmer

14,916

Electrical Engineer

16,226

Elementary School Teacher

11,185

Engineer

15,770

Executive Chef

15,420

Flight Attendant

14,587

General Manager

29,480

Graphic Designer

11,092

Hotel Manager

24,447

Human Resources Manager

22,698

Internal Auditor

16,746

Journalist

16,886

Legal Assistant

12,219

Mechanical Engineer

16,919

Nurse

13,852

Pharmacist

18,418

Photographer

11,485

Pilot

20,688

Police Officer

12,706

Project Manager

19,522

Receptionist

9,340

Sales Manager

25,740

Sales Representative

10,993

Secondary School Teacher

13,303

Secretary

9,363

Teacher

13,514

Teller

11,713

Travel Agent

13,275

Waiter / Waitress

10,067

Average salaries for various job sectors - 2019

The table below mentions average salaries for various job categories in Dubai. All salaries are in UAE Dirhams.

Job Category

Average monthly salary in AED

Accounting and Finance

16,241

Administration/Reception/Secretarial

10,096

Advertising/Graphic Design/Events

14,695

Airlines/Aviation/Aerospace/Defence

16,441

Architecture

14,231

Automotive

11,664

Banking

18,970

Bilingual

15,430

Business Planning

19016

Care Giving and Child Care

13,581

Cleaning and Housekeeping

8,829

Construction/Building/Installation

11,902

Counselling

17,919

Courier/Delivery/Transport/Drivers

11,315

Customer Service and Call Centre

14,697

Electrical and Electronics Trade

11,859

Engineering

14,926

Environmental

16,294

Executive and Management

22,762

Facilities / Maintenance / Repair

11,780

Factory and Manufacturing

13,135

Fashion and Apparel

15,613

Fitness/Hair/Beauty

15,338

Food/Hospitality/Tourism/Catering

13,821

Fundraising and Non Profit

14,163

Gardening/Farming/Fishing

11,239

Government and Defence

18,571

Health and Medical

23,353

Human Resources

17,107

Import and Export

16,301

Independent Jobs

14,467

Information Technology

16,241

Insurance

16,702

Law Enforcement / Security / Fire

14,704

Legal

18,436

Marketing

19,658

Media / Broadcasting / Arts / Entertianment

15,861

Oil/Gas/Energy/Mining

15,824

Pet Care

13,157

Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology

17,867

Photography

13,825

Public Relations

17,866

Publishing and Printing

14,733

Purchasing and Inventory

15,935

Quality Control and Compliance

17,141

Real Estate

18,455

Recreation and Sports

14,246

Sales Retail and Wholesale

17,951

Science and Technical Services

18,414

Teaching / Education

17,475

Telecommunication

16,542

Note: The average salary levels mentioned here for various sectors will deviate, as different companies will have different pay structures, internal grading and salary bandings.

Some points to remember:

  • In case of a salary hike, you should ensure that you are given a formal written notice of the same and the Labour Department has to be duly notified.
  • It would be good to learn salary negotiation techniques, and how to sell yourself effectively and convincingly.
  • Hence, do your research to get a feel of the going rates. But, be aware that what you finally get will depend on what the employer perceives to be your value to the company. When negotiating, do remember that salary rate stipulated in your contract will remain true all through the term of that particular contract.
  • Salary increase rates are not guaranteed. Not all employers in Dubai give compulsory annual increases, as is the case in other countries, where minimum wage laws exist.
  • Before accepting the job offer, it is good to check with your employer if you are eligible for free accommodation in Dubai. There are several companies in Dubai that offer lodging in personnel houses free-of-charge, depending on the rank of the employees. It is good to join organizations that offer free accommodation, as housing always comes with food and transportation services. Apart from financial comforts, it also saves you the trouble of having to make all these necessary arrangements yourself.

Other employment benefits and pay package

A basic employment package in Dubai consists of several items which are mandated by law. Your employer must guarantee a return flight back to your homeland when employment has ceased. Your basic salary must be outlined in the contract and any gratuity pay must be discussed as well.

An annual paid leave of 21 days (for the first year) and 30 thereafter is appropriate. After the completion of your probationary period, medical insurance can either be supplied by the government or some companies employ private coverage. Here are basic items that the law mandates to be included in compensation package of the employee:

  • Basic Salary
  • 30-day annual paid leave (21 for the first year)
  • Medical Insurance (some companies offer private insurance coverage after probation)
  • Recruitment and visa-processing fee and associated costs
  • Gratuity Pay
  • Return flight to your home country at the end of your contract

In addition to these, there are a number of things that can be negotiated as well; they are:

Allowances for food, accommodations, transportation, furnishings (for your accommodations), vehicle, and cell (mobile) phones are issues that are NOT required, but can and should be discussed.

Also, any assistance with relocation costs, Annual return ticket reimbursement, Medical insurance - check if they supply private policies or whether you will be covered by the Government of Dubai.

Gratuity

Gratuity or end-of-service benefit is the equivalent of severance pay in other countries. It is the end-of-service benefit granted to employees who have successfully completed the term of contract under which they were hired. The fact that this gratuity pay is mandatory is yet another positive benefit of fulfilling your contract obligations. As there are no provisions for pension contributions for expatriate employees in the UAE, gratuity pay is mandatory. However, if you are terminated for good cause under Dubai law, your gratuity is no longer mandatory.

As with most things, there is a limit to how much gratuity pay you can receive in Dubai. It cannot be in excess of what would be the equivalent of your salary for 24 months. A gratuity is paid at the end of employment, depending on several factors. The gratuity also depends on the type of contract -fixed term (limited) or unlimited, and under what circumstances you terminate your employment.

Gratuity Calculation

If your employment has been lawfully terminated, you are not entitled to any gratuity pay. Gratuity calculation in UAE is based on your average salary, dearness allowance and number of working years. Gratuity is basically a tip/allowance given to an employee for their total period of service.

To put in a nutshell, this is how Gratuity is calculated:

If leaving within a year - No Gratuity

More than a year, but, less than 5 years - 21 days of basic salary

More than 5 years - 21 days basic pay for up to 5 years, apart from remaining 30 days basic salary per day wage.

Article 138 stipulates that if a worker under a definite term contract, abandons his employment at his own initiative before the expiry of his contract period, he shall not be entitled to severance pay unless his period of service is extended by five years.

Disclaimer: The Gratuity calculation is to be used as guidance and should not be taken as final calculation.

Income Tax

There is no income tax in the UAE, but, depending on your nationality and your duration of stay in your Dubai job, you may have to pay tax in your home country. As each country is different, you may have to speak to your income tax department or a tax lawyer/accountant to get definitive information. As the region has no personal taxation, net income is usually much greater, and this is one of the major attractions of working in Dubai.

Indemnity

Apart from salary, contract workers are awarded an indemnity, which is usually based on basic salary excluding any bonuses. An indemnity may accumulate into large sum of money, if you have been working in Dubai for long time. This indemnity is in no-way related to insurance, and is an end-of-contract bonus required to be paid by law to expatriate workers as a sort of thank you for being of service to the state, and can also be known as end-of-service benefits. Indemnity is calculated on basis of 21 days of basic pay per year for first five years of employment, and 30 days salary per year of employment.

Salary Forecast 2019-20

Salaries in Dubai are on the rise each year, according to salary reports submitted every year. For instance, the average salary in Dubai in the year 2016 was Dh.15,580, while there was a 4 percent rise in average salary in 2017 when the average salary touched Dh.16,156. The Average salary in the year 2018 was Dh.16,560 while that in 2019 is 16,1775 marking 1 percent growth in comparison to the previous year.

Overall, the trend indicates a slow, but continuous growth in salaries in 2020 and in the future years, although these figures may differ slightly based on the industry.

Conclusion

Earlier, remuneration packages in Dubai were split into various elements- basic salary, car allowance, housing allowance, medical cover, education for children and air tickets for home visits, mobile phone allowance, furnishing allowance and food allowance. Today, however, most employers just tend to pay cash packages to cover all these expenses, although in some cases, there are performances or other bonuses.

What it all boils down to, really, is your ability to negotiate not only a good wage but some desirable (if not necessary) perks along with that salary. To plan your life in Dubai based on your salary, you need to align your expectations with reality. Try to do some salary research online or offline or both. You could also check out listings of Dubai recruitment agencies, check Dubai jobsites, use Dubai salary calculators, cost of living report or read salary survey reports.

Now, this kind of salary research may be sufficient to give you a fair idea of what you are likely to be paid in Dubai, so that you can plan your job in Dubai more safely and accurately.

Robin Vinod

Writer/blogger who writes on topics such as travel, real estate, employment and everyday life on GCC countries.

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