The common question is, Is living and working in Dubai in 2024 worth it? Dubai is a cross between Las Vegas and Disney World.
However, this is only sometimes true as the pay in Dubai varies depending on the industry, experience, and qualifications. Dubai’s average gross hourly wage is $10.10, lower than many other cities worldwide. Dubai is one of the more open cities in the Middle East.
Dubai has plenty of nightclubs and bars one can go to if they want to unwind on the weekends and have a few drinks. The legal drinking age in Dubai was changed to 18 years of age in 2023.
You can do anything you can in any other place, from enjoying the nightlife to skiing at their indoor ski slope. This all comes at a price, though.
Dubai has a higher cost of living than most places where an expat will find work. Their apartment prices are some of the highest in the world, and some landlords expect you to pay for the whole year’s rent upfront rather than pay month to month like most other places. A furnished four-room apartment will run you between $7,090 and $3,950; an unfurnished three-room apartment costs between $4,930 and $2,880.
If you are going to take a job in Dubai, make sure you stay out of debt because if you lose your job and still owe money to a Dubai business, you will be put on a no-fly list and be stuck in the country until you can pay it off.
Read with me while I show you some facts about living and working in Dubai in 2024.
Things to Consider Before Living and Working in Dubai
Many companies that will hire you to work in Dubai will either place you in company housing or give you a housing allowance. With the price of apartments so high in Dubai, I do not suggest working with a company that does not provide you with a cost of living housing or a vehicle allowance.
The UBS Prices and Earnings Report 2023 has $2,160, as locals typically pay for rent. The most affordable housing in Dubai will be the smaller apartments and may cost the same as a more prominent place in Middle Eastern countries like Kuwait, where you can get a three-room villa with a vast second room set up to be an office for under $1,800.
The average price for a Villa in Kuwait runs about $1,225, and you can find a two to three-room apartment for around $875. The pay in Kuwait is usually higher than the pay in Dubai.
With the high cost of an apartment in Dubai, if you are responsible for your housing, make sure your salary is high enough to cover the cost of your apartment and that living in a more liberal country is worth the extra money; you will be forking out to live in Dubai.
Living and Working in Dubai: Food Prices
Dubai is ranked as the 27th most expensive city to buy groceries on the UBS report covering the cost of living in 73 cities worldwide. It is far cheaper than Tokyo, ranked the most expensive city on the UBS report, but is still a little on the high side compared to places like Brussels, Toronto, Sydney, and Bangkok.
A woman’s outfit, including shoes, costs about $510, and a man’s outfit costs about $720, including shoes according to UBS report 2022 – The Agent Dubai. these costs are over the global average, so if you have a cost of living allowance that covers your apartment and vehicle expenses, it should make up for any differences in the price of clothing and food.
The average wage in Dubai is about $10.10 an hour, but with the cost of living in Dubai, you will need to make much more than that if you want to build up your savings or pay off debt and still have a comfortable standard of living.
A cost of living allowance or company housing and a company car is a must if you take a job here. The tax ramifications of working here are excellent, with no local income taxes, but plenty of costs are tacked onto Dubai services.
The cost of Services in Dubai is higher than any other city on the UBS report that polls 73 cities worldwide. This cost can hit you pretty hard once you put all of the services you will use monthly, like Cable, DSL, haircuts, dry cleaning, and other similar services that you will use monthly or weekly.
Electronics and Appliances
Regarding Electronics and Appliances in Dubai, the price tag on these items will be considerably cheaper in Dubai than where you are from. Unless you are from Mumbai, Jakarta, Bogota, Sofia, Santiago de Chile, Doha, Bucharest, Shanghai, Barcelona, Lisbon, Bangkok, Los Angeles, Delhi, or Miami, these items will be cheaper in Dubai than in your home country.
The cost of transportation in Dubai is very low compared to most places worldwide. A popular car, the Honda Civic, costs about $17,400, and an annual registration cost of about $136 makes owning your vehicle manageable in Dubai.
With the low fee of $0.40 a liter for gas, if you can swing owning your vehicle, the gas prices will be significantly lower than what you are paying in your home country or for almost any other country you may decide to live in.
Public transportation is just as cheap when it comes to getting around in Dubai as the price for gas is if you are filling up your vehicle. With a bus ticket only costing you about $0.73 for a 10 km journey or at least ten stops and a taxi ride that will take you about 5km within city limits for about $4.27, Dubai is on the low end of transportation costs.
View from an Expat
With your ability to net your gross income, the lack of income tax boosts the value of your salary compared to other countries worldwide. If you can get your company to cover your housing and vehicle costs, Dubai is an excellent place to work if you are making Middle East money.
You have to be careful of companies out there who try to get you to work in Dubai for less than you are worth. Dubai may be a more liberal country where you can enjoy the same things as your home country, but it is still in the Middle East.
If you want to work in the Middle East to have a big paycheck and go without alcohol and nightclubs, Kuwait may be a better option. You will make more money in Kuwait, and the cost of living will be lower.
So, if you can land a nice job in Dubai, stay out of debt, as mentioned at the beginning of the article.
Dubai is not a place to be in debt when you lose your job. Stick to Credit cards from your home country and do not take out loans you cannot pay in cash if you had to.
If you take a vehicle loan and halfway through, you lose your job, you better be able to pay the rest off, or you may find yourself on a no-fly list.
- UBS Prices and Earnings Report 2023
- Dubai Laws and Customs
- Dubai Alcohol Laws 2023
- Dubai Rent Trends 2023
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