18 Jun 2024

Finding a Job in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates as an Expat

Find a job in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi is one of the most important cities in the MENA region. The capital of the United Arab Emirates, it offers lucrative work opportunities in the setting of a modern city.

Tax-free salaries and a high standard of living attract many expats to Abu Dhabi. However, just how easy is it to find a job in Abu Dhabi for a foreigner?

This guide will help you understand the job market in Abu Dhabi. It also provides useful information about where to find work in Abu Dhabi.

By end of this guide you'll have a better understanding of living an working in Abu Dhabi and your career prospects in the Middle East.

In this article: ๐Ÿ“

Understanding Salaries in Abu Dhabi

The economy of Abu Dhabi is extremely strong. From the outside looking in, this makes many expats see the Emirati capital as a lucrative option.

Salaries in Abu Dhabi can be exceptionally high if you possess the right skills.

The technology sector in Abu Dhabi in particular offers high wages. With management, programmers, data scientists and technology sales teams commanding the highest rates of pay.

However, outside highly technical or leadership roles, the rate of pay could be lower than in your home country.

With this in mind you need to identify the average salary for your occupation before seriously considering the UAE.

A good place to start is my own Software Engineer and Tech Worker Salary Calculator. Whilst I made this tool for Dubai, wages in Abu Dhabi are similar and my tool should give you a good idea of what you can expect to earn in the capital.

In addition to my own tool there are sites like Salary Expert and Levels.fyi which have decent salary estimates. Be sure to visit these sites and look up your specific role.

The Growth of Job Opportunities in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi offers a vast number of job opportunities in sectors like real estate, technology, and healthcare.

More recently companies specialising in machine learning and artificial intelligence have grown rapidly in the city. One of best examples of this is G42, an artificial intelligence developer.

These AI organisations are bring cutting edge technology to Abu Dhabi's traditional industries. Clients in government, healthcare, finance, oil and gas, aviation, and hospitality are embracing these new technologies.

In turn, the modernisation of these industries is resulting in more high level job opportunities in the capital.

Key Employers and Sectors

Expats can find the highest quality positions at local startups and local branches of foreign businesses.

To give an overview of key employers and sectors, review the list below.

It lists the top providers of high paid office work in Abu Dhabi. These organisations offer positions across various indusites and for various level of experience from junior roles to senior management.

Company Sector
Bayanat Digital Transformation
Callsign Digital Security
Core42 Artificial Intelligence
Emerson Engineering & Industry
Hightouch Data Platform Solutions
Huawei Multinational Technology Company
Google Big Tech Company
G42 Artificial Intelligence
LocAI Artificial Intelligence
Presight Artificial Intelligence
Trend Micro Information Security
Unikie Embedded Software Engineering Systems

The Economic Landscape

Oil production has been central to Abu Dhabi's wealth.

Abu Dhabi has reinvested its oil wealth into other industries in the MENA region.

The result is strong growth outside Abu Dhabi's traditional industries. Indeed, our top companies list in the last section shows there is more to Abu Dhabi than oil and gas.

In addition to the technology sector, Abu Dhabi has seen rapid growth in real estate, construction and tourism.

These sectors also offer numerous job opportunities, making it easier for more people to find work in Abu Dhabi.

The result is a wealthy economy which can offer a high standard of living for many of its residents.

Boosting Tourism and Jobs

To further boost the tourism sector and create job opportunities, Abu Dhabi has developed world-class hotels and entertainment facilities. Attractions like the Louvre Abu Dhabi and a Ferrari theme park enhance the cityโ€™s appeal, whilst creating more work opportunities in UAE, Abu Dhabi.

Finding Jobs in Abu Dhabi

You have several methods available to you when searching for a job in Abu Dhabi.

Company Pages

Here on Zero Tax Jobs, we keep company pages for most of the top companies in Abu Dhabi. Simply browse the list and click the company name to read more and see any open jobs at the company.

You can also visit the company home page from each company's page and check their careers page for more listings.

Job Portals

At Zero Tax Jobs we are focused on listing high quality tech jobs for expats. We have a specific page here that you can visit to see all the best jobs in Abu Dhabi right now.

You can also find our list of jobs in Abu Dhabi and Dubai here.

If you're looking for non-technical jobs then another good place to search is the Abu Dhabi government job site. Many companies in Abu Dhabi recruit using the page and it gives a comprehensive view of available positions.

Recruitment Agencies

Private recruitment agencies are a valuable resource for expats.

These agencies specialize in placing international personnel in Abu Dhabi and offer their services free of charge to applicants.

However, be sure to keep and eye out for agencies that attempt to charge extra fees and report them if necessary.

Language and Business Culture

If you're moving to Abu Dhabi it's important to understand the language and business culture.

English is the most widely spoken language, facilitating business interactions and daily communications.

That said, more traditional roles, such as in the government sector will require Arabic.

It's also not uncommon to see regional sales roles having a preference for conversational Arabic.

Working Conditions and Laws

Understanding local labor laws is crucial for expats wanting to work in Abu Dhabi. The UAE Labour Law of 1980 regulates employment, outlining the rights and responsibilities of both employers and employees.

The local labor law prioritizes UAE nationals for jobs. This sounds like a negative, but we actually find no shortage of opportunities in Abu Dhabi. This is because, the requirement for highly skilled workers far outstrips the local supply.

Employment Contracts and Legal Considerations

Every employment contract in Abu Dhabi must comply with local labor laws, including a probation period that allows both parties to assess the suitability of the employment arrangement.

Expats also need to obtain a residence visa which is linked to their employment status. However, for skilled expats obtaining a visa is quite straight forward.

In terms of your contract, you should always take time to fully understand its terms. In some cases, the contracts are English translations of the original contract in Arabic.

It's best to verify the translation of the contract against the Arabic original to avoid any misunderstandings.

Culture, Lifestyle and Religion

Living and working abroad often means adapting to a blend of languages and cultures.

However, with English so widely spoken, daily life and business in Abu Dhabi is easy for expats.

The cityโ€™s international schools and diverse communities also support a smooth transition for families.

The cost of living in Abu Dhabi is lower than in nearby Dubai, or major cities like London, New York or Singapore. However, Abu Dhabi can become expensive quickly for those who want the finest lifestyle.

Regarding religion, Islam is influential in both social and professional settings. When living in Abu Dhabi, it's important to show respect and religious sensitivity.

This is also true when doing business in the UAE.


For those prepared to navigate its job market, finding work in Abu Dhabi is a rewarding experience.

With a tax-free salary, high standard of living and numerous job opportunities it's a realistic choice for many.

However, it's important to do your research and find job opportunities that suit your skillset.

To make living in Abu Dhabi work long-term, it's important to commit to the local way of doing things. This means showing respect to Islamic culture and ideas.

If you're a skilled expat who is comfortable adapting a little to local customs, Abu Dhabi is a great place to be.

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