Your Nationality Matters When Looking for a Job in Dubai

Your Nationality Matters When Looking for a Job in Dubai

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.

Job Environment

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

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?

Job Description


Job Description


Job Description


Job Description


Job Description


Job Description


Job Description




5 Responses to “Your Nationality Matters When Looking for a Job in Dubai”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. Jinee Ardeza says:

    I happened to cross this blog as I am currently checking on “What is Life in Dubai”. I guess finding a job in Dubai is also as hard as finding a job here in the Philippines. It is just that one of the best things in Dubai is that they hire people even without a college degree unlike here in the Philippines that in order for you to land in a good job or a decent job, you must have a degree, and worst, some companies would like to hire someone who graduated from the Top 10 University.

    Even a decent job doesn’t mean having a decent pay. Well, it doesn’t go hand in hand. Anyways, I can say that I am lucky that I have a decent job and decent pay here in the Philippines. As an HR practitioner, I also know what it is like to screen applicants and deny or reject their applications because they did not meet the qualifications/ requirements, which sometimes it is the magic word, “PLEASING PERSONALITY”. But that is reality and it is really happening, it is hard to find a company which gives/offers an equal opportunity.

    I have a friend who decided to leave Philippines and try his luck there in Dubai. He graduated cumlaude in University of the Philippines (the number 1 university) and is really a good employee. He has a heart in everything he does, but the funny thing is he had a hard time finding a decent job and a decent pay there. Actually, what is he getting there is just as the same with what he was getting here. It is sad but I always hope for the best, I know that he can still find a great company which will give him a decent job with decent pay.

    I, myself, would also like to know what is it for me in Dubai. Reading blogs like this will definitely help me think and make up my mind, I guess, life is really like a gamble, sometimes we really need to try and bet and loose and win, but in order for one to win, one must bet and gamble.

    Thanks for sharing things like this. :)



  2. Happywitchie says:

    Hello Jinee, one nice thing about being an employer here is the opportunity to give chances to promising people looking for a chance to excel.

    It’s a funny old situation. While there are plenty of unscrupulous employers who will take advantage of people’s desperation to find a job, there are also too many job seekers who let themselves down in interviews or in their applications or by their attitude after the process.

    There are good companies here – I like to think that we are one of them :-) We’re a small company though and don’t need an HR practitioner otherwise I would ask you to send your CV over.

    I wish you and your friend the best with your Dubai experience. Just keep looking, be careful about what you compromise and stay open to opportunities wherever they come from.

    Thanks for reading :)

    • Jinee Ardeza says:

      Hi Reeta,

      I just read your reply. :) Yes, I would like to send my CV. An opportunity is still an opportunity and I would like to grab it.

      I agree with you. One thing that is great is being an employer because you have a chance to give GREAT opportunities.

      So where do I submit the CV?



      • Jinee Ardeza says:

        Errr. I overlooked the message, I was just skipping. Forget the reply I sent regarding the CV thing. HAHA. Anyways, I don’t know how to retract the reply so I am commenting again.

        I am subscribing. Have a good day.


        Jinee Ardeza recently posted…Isang UsapanMy Profile

  3. Olu says:

    What a great article!

    I tell my friends this all the time and they hush me as if I’m confessing to something illicit. I’m Nigerian and despite 2 degrees and years of job experience, I haven’t been able to get a job in Dubai in the field I studied. So I work as a receptionist in my alma mater. I was fortunate to be considered before the job only because I was wise enough to intern during school!

    Its so disheartening to see great job postings and you get to nationality and its either Indians only or GCC nationals.

    Oh well!

Leave a Comment:


CommentLuv badge