Dubai isn’t just a popular tourist destination with skyscrapers.
It’s also a city with a booming business economy.
And if you’re wondering what Dubai’s average salary is or how much it’ll cost to outsource a workforce in the city, we’ve got you covered.
In 2021, the average salary in Dubai is about 21,500 AED (United Arab Emirates Dirham) per month. That’s 5,853.54 USD per month, according to the exchange rates in July 2021.
Although this number is quite high, Dubai’s average salary is significantly lower than in developed countries like the USA (7,900 USD) and the UK (8,163 USD). That’s why outsourcing to Dubai could be the right move for businesses ready to expand.
This Article Contains:
(Click on the links below to jump to a specific section)
- What is the Average Salary in Dubai?
- The Average Annual Salary Increment in Dubai
- The Minimum Wage in Dubai
- Salary Comparison in Dubai
- Employee Benefits in Dubai
- Cost of Living in Dubai
- Top 3 Industries Commonly Outsourced to Dubai
Let’s get started.
What is the average salary in Dubai?
The average salary in Dubai is 2,58,000 AED per year (70,280 USD as per exchange rates in 2021).
This figure can help you get an overview of Dubai’s economy and its standard of living.
However, we’ll also be covering more salary information, including the median salary and the average salary range in Dubai, to give you a clearer picture:
Note: All salary estimates mentioned in this article are only guidelines. Individual salaries may vary based on education, experience, location, and job title.
1. Median salary
The median salary in Dubai is 21,500 AED per month.
This means that half of Dubai’s population earns less than 21,500 AED while the other half makes more than 21,500 AED.
Wondering how the median salary is different from the average salary?
Let’s say employee A earns 10,000 AED, employee B earns 20,000 AED, and employee C makes 40,000 AED.
The average salary is the sum of all salaries divided by the number of people — here it’s 23,333 AED. On the other hand, the median salary is the middle value between all salaries. That makes the median salary 20,000 AED.
2. Average salary range
Dubai has a good average salary range, extending from a monthly salary of 4,810 AED (1,309.56 USD) to 99,000 AED (26,953.44 USD) per month.
The average salary range only considers salaries that fall between the average minimum salary and the average maximum salary in Dubai.
Because of this, the actual minimum salary can be much lower. Similarly, the highest paying job in Dubai would have a higher pay scale than the given figure.
The average salary, median salary, and average salary range can help you understand Dubai’s economy, wage expectations, and more.
The average annual salary increment in Dubai
An annual salary increase is an important component of any salary structure around the world. Dubai is no different.
According to Salary Explorer, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has an average salary increment rate of 8% every 17 months. The world average is 3% every 16 months.
1. Average annual increment rate by industry
Every industry in the UAE has an average annual increment rate of its own.
Here’s a breakdown of the increment rates as of 2020:
|Industry||Average Annual Increment Rate|
2. Annual increment rate by experience level
While annual increment rates depend on various industries, they also typically increase with an employee’s work experience.
Like in most other cities, recruiters in Dubai give their experienced staff more increments to retain them.
Let’s take a look at how average annual increment rates increase with work experience in Dubai:
|Work Experience Level||Average Annual Increment Rate|
|Junior Level||3% – 5%|
|Mid-career||6% – 9%|
|Senior Level||10% – 15%|
|Top Management||15% – 20%|
The minimum wage in Dubai
A region’s minimum wage is legally binding, and it decides the minimum base salary you have to pay any employee in that region.
The UAE Federal Labour Law doesn’t have provisions for minimum wage. This means that, unlike most cities, the Emirate of Dubai doesn’t have a fixed base salary for employees.
However, in 2013, the Labor Ministry of UAE approved minimum salaries for certain categories of employees. These salaries aren’t universally applicable to all employees in Dubai, and that’s why they aren’t the same as minimum wages.
As per these rules, the minimum base salaries are as follows:
|Employee Categories||Minimum Base Salaries (per month)|
|University Graduates||12,000 AED|
|Skilled Technicians||7,000 AED|
|Skilled Labourers||5,000 AED|
Salary comparison in Dubai
While it’s easy to determine the average income in any country, what you actually pay an employee depends on several variables.
The type of profession, education, work experience, location, etc., are key parameters that determine an employee’s salary.
Let’s compare the average salaries in Dubai based on these parameters:
1. Salary comparison by profession
Salaries in Dubai vary across key industries such as finance, medicine, energy, and more. However, even within these industries, salaries vary for different job roles.
Let’s look at how salaries across popular professions vary in Dubai:
|Profession||Average Salary (per month)|
|Investment Banker||45,000 AED|
|General Manager||35,000 AED|
|Project Manager||20,000 AED|
|Health Insurance Agent||19,600 AED|
|Human Resources Manager||18,000 AED|
|Operations Manager||15,000 AED|
|Software Engineer||11,000 AED|
|Business Development Manager||14,000 AED|
|Teaching Jobs||10,400 AED|
|Tax Consultant||9,500 AED|
|Investment Analyst||8,333 AED|
|Graphic Designer||7,000 AED|
|Civil Engineer||7,000 AED|
|Mechanical Engineer||6,000 AED|
|Customer Service Representative||5,554 AED|
|Legal Assistant||5,500 AED|
|Domestic Worker||1,830 AED|
2. Average salary by location
The UAE is a part of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a political and economic alliance comprising six countries from the Middle East. Its GDP is second only to Saudi Arabia in the Arab world, making UAE’s economy particularly competitive.
Additionally, Dubai has a more thriving economy than the other Emirates of the UAE. That’s why a Dubai salary is 10% more on average than what an employee would make with the same job title in other parts of the UAE.
Let’s look at how the average salary in Dubai (21,500 AED) compares to the average salaries of other popular cities in the UAE:
|City||Average Salary (per month)|
|Abu Dhabi||21,000 AED|
|Al Ain||19,800 AED|
3. Salary comparison by education
It’s a known fact that a higher education level usually leads to a better salary package.
Let’s look at the difference in income of employees with the same work experience but different education levels in Dubai:
- Employees with a certificate or a diploma earn approximately 17% more than their peers who only finished high school.
- Employees with a Bachelor’s Degree make 24% more than employees with a certificate or a diploma.
- Professionals with a Master’s Degree earn 29% more than those with a Bachelor’s Degree.
- A Ph.D. holder gets the highest salary by making over 23% more than Master’s Degree holders for the same job.
4. Salary comparison by experience
Similar to education level, extensive work experience also positively impacts income.
According to a salary survey by salaryexplorer.com, a person’s basic salary usually doubles when they cross the ten-year experience mark.
Here’s a breakdown of how salaries increase with increasing work experience in Dubai:
|Years of Work Experience||Rate of Increase in Average Salary|
|2-5 years||32% more than freshers|
|5-10 years||36% more than professionals with less than five years of experience|
|10-15 years||21% more than professionals with less than ten years of experience|
|15-20 years||14% more than professionals with less than 15 years of experience|
|20+ years||9% more than professionals with less than 20 years of experience|
Source: salary report by salaryexplorer.com
Employee benefits in Dubai
To make up for the lack of a fixed minimum monthly salary, the UAE’s labor law mandates employers in Dubai to provide their employees with certain benefits.
Here are some of the employee benefits in Dubai:
- Paid leave: Provide annual paid leave of 21 days for the first year and 30 days after that.
- Travel expenses: Must guarantee all employees a return flight to their home country when the employment contract is complete.
- Medical insurance: Give employees medical insurance once they complete their probation period.
- Gratuity: Provide your employees with an end-of-service compensation after they complete the terms of their contract. The compensation can’t exceed the equivalent of an employee’s salary for 24 months.
Cost of living in Dubai
A region’s cost of living impacts the average wage earned by employees in that location.
The living cost indicates the amount of money you need to cover basic housing, education, transportation, and healthcare. It’s a reliable indicator of how much employees need to live a good life.
Let’s have a look at each of these components:
Real estate costs largely depend on where you choose to live in Dubai. The monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center is around 5,528.59 AED (1,505.16 USD) and 3,687.32 AED (1,003.87 USD) outside of the city center.
Dubai has both public and private schools. The fees at public schools are capped at 6,000 AED (1,633.50 USD) per year.
And education is more expensive for expatriates (expats) than Emirati nationals. An expat is a person residing in a country other than their native country.
Dubai has a thriving public transport system with buses and taxis traveling throughout the city. On average, using a taxi costs 2.44 AED (0.66 USD) per km. A bus ticket costs 5 AED (1.36 USD).
Dubai locals are covered under a Government-funded medical insurance scheme. Expats must have a private health insurance scheme according to the legislation by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA).
5. Income tax
The UAE is a popular “tax haven” because the UAE Government doesn’t levy income tax on individuals, and it offers tax-free investments options to all residents of Dubai.
Now that you have an overview of the average salary in Dubai and all the factors that affect it, you may be wondering:
Is outsourcing to Dubai the right move for your business?
While the relatively low average salary and favorable tax laws are key benefits, there are other reasons why you should consider outsourcing to Dubai.
For example, Dubai has a large workforce of over 7.384 million people, and it’s renowned for its technological advancements all over the world.
And apart from initiatives such as Smart Dubai and the Dubai Future Foundation, the government also has a Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence (AI).
These factors have made Dubai a preference for anyone looking to outsource advanced technology services.
Top 3 industries commonly outsourced to Dubai
Let’s look at the popular services that businesses have been outsourcing to Dubai over the past years:
1. Human Resource (HR) services
Dubai specializes in staff hiring, payroll services, and HR consultancy services.
The average salary for human resource services is 7,800 AED (2,123.55 USD) per month in Dubai. This is lower than the average salary in a popular outsourcing destination like Singapore (2,419.41 USD per month).
As a result, outsourcing these key HR services means that you can easily establish uniform hiring practices for your company at lower costs.
2. Information and Technology (IT) services
Setting up an IT outsourcing company requires many employees and experts.
Taking on the task of hiring a large and qualified talent pool on your own can be quite challenging. Fortunately, outsourcing your IT services to Dubai can solve this problem.
Thanks to its straightforward visa policies, Dubai has a diverse talent pool and is also relatively cost-effective.
For example, hiring IT support in Dubai costs you around 5000 AED (1,361.25 USD) per month. Employing the same support could cost you over 4,913 USD per month in New York.
3. Business Process Outsourcing (BPO Services)
BPO solutions refer to a company’s back-office management and operations.
Some BPO services you can outsource to Dubai include:
- Data entry
- Customer assistance
- Accounting services
And the services are reasonably priced.
Hiring a call center representative in Dubai would cost you 4,000 AED (1,089 USD) per month. Employing the same representative could cost you around 2,380.93 USD per month in the UK.
Although Dubai has great technology and infrastructure, the average salaries in the city are relatively lower than in the US and UK.
As a result, you get access to a qualified talent pool at affordable costs, making Dubai a popular choice for outsourcing.
Use the information we covered here to understand the average salaries in Dubai and determine if outsourcing there is the right move for your business.
Andy is a technology & marketing leader who has delivered award-winning and world-first experiences.