Difficulties in Finding a Candidate: IT Specialists in Dubai

1:22 am  |  26.04.2024

The UAE is a country that, due to its favorable tax legislation, developed economy, and powerful IT infrastructure, has become an attractive hub for IT specialists, startups, and branches of IT companies from all over the world. This created non-trivial conditions for finding qualified personnel.

Market Situation

The UAE is now one of the most technologically advanced and developed regions in the world. According to a US Chamber of Commerce study from November 2023, investment in the UAE technology sector is growing: IoT, AI, Cloud, cybersecurity, 5G, telecom, and many other IT sectors are actively developing. For example, in 2019, Microsoft chose the UAE as the second region to open a data center; in 2021 and 2022, Oracle and Amazon followed the company’s example.

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Because the UAE not only allows cryptocurrency transactions in the country but also actively promotes the development of the industry, the country is an attractive region for cryptocurrency and blockchain-based products. The central office of the ByBit cryptocurrency exchange is located in Dubai, and the world-famous Binance has a hub. It was here that the founder of the exchange, Changpeng Zhao, permanently lived before his arrest.

High technology, the UAE’s loyalty to creating a wide variety of products, as well as the region’s openness to foreigners encourage companies and specialists from all over the world to move to the country.

The fact is that almost 60% of the population of the Emirates comes from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and other South Asian countries. Many of them are looking for work, and therefore actively respond to vacancies in the region, even if the offer does not fully match their qualifications. Therefore, HR specialists and hiring managers have to sift through an order of magnitude more resumes and look for valuable candidates among thousands of unsuitable applications.

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In addition, since the IT market in the UAE is attractive for starting a business, a large number of IT companies are concentrated here, which are developing rapidly and, of course, are actively hiring IT specialists. 

Salaries in IT Sector

Although there are expats in the UAE who are willing to work for relatively low salaries, paradoxically this does not help IT employers save much on hiring specialists in the region. This is primarily due to the cost of living in the UAE. 

  • The cost of living index in Dubai is 64.1. The average salary in the UAE is $3,407.
  • IT specialists who know English, and therefore are able to work for an international company with a hub in the UAE, cost on average 30% more than specialists without these skills.
  • Due to the specifics of the industry, its incredible speed of development and the need to constantly master new technologies, salaries in IT in general have only been growing recently, especially when it comes to senior+ positions.

It is difficult to give specific figures on salaries in the UAE; everything very much depends on the industry in which the IT company operates, the position itself, the specialist’s skills, and the financial capabilities of the company. So, for example, a Senior Java developer can receive either $5,000 or $15,000 on different projects.

Tip: if you have an open vacancy in IT and you don’t know what remuneration would be fair for a specialist under your conditions, we recommend clarifying this question with the candidates.

Remote Work or Relocation

In the UAE, both office work and remote employment are common, and the trend will not change in 2024.

In addition, when compared with the same EU countries, the UK or the USA, the conditions for relocating employees to the UAE are quite favorable, which creates an additional incentive to transport specialists to the country. In order to transport an employee to the UAE, you only need fairly simple documents. There is no need to pay employee taxes, go through complex procedures, or face difficulties in obtaining visas. Everything is fast and inexpensive, with no unnecessary bureaucracy.

Therefore, relocation and subsequent work in the office is becoming a more common practice for natural reasons. However, even though relocation is often more attractive for both companies and candidates, there are cases when this condition becomes a barrier to hiring a specialist.

Modern Job Market

If we talk about vacancies, the UAE is now actively looking for specialists in all IT areas, from developers, QA, ML, and AI engineers to specialists in management positions, including CTO, Product Owner, Head of IT, and many others.

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As is usually the case in IT, where they are actively hiring for almost all positions, it is impossible to identify the most or least in-demand specialties. It should be noted that the conditional top 5 includes classic developers in Java, Python, C++, and Golang, as well as QA engineers and ML engineers.

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