Equal Opportunities haven’t arrived in Dubai yet.
But I’ve realised that using Western definitions and ideals to describe Dubai doesn’t work.
Dubai is built on a different system to Western Democracies – over here the locals are immensely patriotic, you will find no Saturday night entertainment show satirising the ruling family. Tradition and honour plays a large part in the governance systems.
Dubai has a population that is around 90% expat and the myriad of nationalities that make up Dubai stamp their own belief systems, cultural priorities, superstitions, behaviours and traditions on the very fabric of the Emirate.
While expats come from all over the world, the vast majority are low income workers from developing countries such as the Philippines, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
This creates an environment where:
- Stereotypes about nationalities become the yardstick by which you are measured.
- Certain job sectors are dominated by nationalities who will accept significantly lower wages and are prepared to work and live in conditions that other nationalities are not.
- Attracted by the prospect of saving on salary costs, employers often employ unexperienced workers and give them “make-do” on the job training. Health and Safety is still in its infancy.
- Employers actively seek out nationalities that they or their customers can relate to.
- Nationalities have a “pecking order” that translates in the salary they can command.
- Some jobs are only allowed to be held by certain nationalites. For example, Maids can only come from 6 countries.
Job adverts here can be very specific about who should apply.
The more professional and highly skilled the job is, the less likely that nationality, age, beauty will be specified in the advert. The automatic assumption is that Westerners will apply as they’re the ones who have had the necessary education/experience.
Here are 7 adverts from todays classifieds – how would they go down in your home town?