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Are Salaries Higher in Dubai vs London & New York

Are Salaries Higher in Dubai vs London and New York

Dubai is the city of opportunity for expats. The tax free salaries, luxury life style and year round sunshine are just some of the major pulls, but so are the salaries. If you’ve found this article you are most likely looking for a job in the UAE and wondering, are salaries higher in Dubai?

To answer your question we have pitted the salaries of Dubai against those in London and New York. We found that your salary IS worth more in Dubai when taking living costs into account.

Here we take a look at ALL of the average salaries across each sector and profession to give you a more accurate view on how much money you can earn by working in Dubai and how much your salary is worth in Dubai.

What is the Minimum Wage in Dubai?

What Is The Minimum Wage in Dubai - Dubai Minimum Salaries | The Vacation Builder

You may have read before that Dubai doesn’t exactly shower itself with good workers rights. Many construction workers die each year from poor health, safety and welfare, as well as low salaries. However, the UAE has improved substantially over the last decade with more of a concentrated focus on looking after the health and welfare of the workforce.

There was once a time in Dubai where no minimum wage existed and you were only paid what the company determined to be fair for the work being produced. This led to a lot of workforce exploitation, especially from poorer countries such as India and the Philippines.

Things altered slightly for the better in 2013 when the UAE Ministry of Labour approved some minimum working wage criteria for specific areas. These can be seen below and is per month:

  1. University Graduates – 12,000AED
  2. Skilled Technicians – 7,000AED
  3. Skilled Labourers – 5,000AED

By taking the above we can see that the average minimum wage in Dubai is 8,000AED per month.

Can You Afford to Live on Minimum Wage in Dubai?

Cheapest Studio Apartment Rental Costs in Dubai | The Vacation Builder

The answer to this one depends a lot on location and living arrangements. For this example let’s take a single person earning the average monthly minimum of 8,000AED.

The lowest cost to rent a studio apartment in International City (Cheapest Place in Dubai for Rent) was 1,166AED per month. So depending on location and living arrangements, yes it can be done.

If you are looking at living somewhere more central though, such as Downtown Dubai, you may be tight for general living costs after paying rent as the lowest cost studio apartment we could find was 2,500AED.

For more information on average property prices in Dubai use Property Finder.

Are All Salaries in Dubai Tax Free?

Yes, there is no income tax in Dubai. However, expats must be careful if they are still residing in another country but working in Dubai temporarily.

If you are a full time resident of Dubai and hold an Emirate Bank Account then there will be no income tax to pay. If you still reside in another country then you must declare your earnings which may be subject to income tax.

If you are living or considering moving to Dubai permanently then you do not need to worry about income tax.

Average Salaries by Profession in Dubai

Below is a list of the average salaries in Dubai for 2021. It is worth noting that the actual highs and lows of a particular profession can vary greatly. In many cases, skilled expats looking to work in Dubai can negotiate a living package on top of their income.

In our table below we have also compared the salaries in Dubai to that of ones in the UK (London) and the USA (New York) so you can see the difference. All salaries are per month. Remember, Dubai’s salaries are tax free.

ProfessionDubai SalaryLondon SalaryNew York Salary
Accountant156,000AED200,000 AED223,000AED
Civil Engineer212,000AED170,000AED300,000AED
Business Development Manager183,000AED190,000AED420,000AED
Admin Clerk72,600AED105,000AED157,692AED
Graphic Designer61,500AED160,000AED196,000AED
Air Traffic Controller249,600AED485,000AED530,769AED
HR Manager372,000AED205,000AED300,000AED
Petroleum Engineer235,200AED260,000AED423,100AED
Hair Stylist99,840AED93,775AED87,500AED
Occupational Therapist148,800AED170,000AED243,698AED
Bar Manager157,200AED143,475AED163,306AED
Real Estate Agent213,600AED262,500AED407,610AED
Web Developer214,800AED169,540AED331,684AED

All of the average salary figures above were put together using the below web tools:

Highest Average Dubai Salaries By Sector

The table above on the average salaries by profession can often be misconstrued. These numbers take into account the very lowest earners in Dubai which may be university graduates in that profession or residents from other poorer countries, who will work for less.

So now we take a look at what salaries you can expect to earn at the highest level when working in Dubai, in each sector.

ProfessionHighest Average Dubai Salary
Accountants & Finance495,600AED
Administration / Reception321,600AED
Teaching / Education463,200AED
Real Estate463,600AED
Oil / Gas / Energy / Mining499,200AED
Information Technology391,200AED
Law Enforcement / Fire372,000AED
Fitness / Hair / Beauty354,000AED
Health & Medical1,081,200AED
Hospitality & Tourism445,200AED
Car Giving / Child Care409,200AED

As you can see from the sectors above, Dubai offers fantastic salaries for those working at the top of their game.

The lowest of the lot was in Administration / Reception / Secretarial which still paid 321,600AED per year which equates to around £64,000 or $83,000.

Is Your Salary Really Worth More in Dubai?

A lot of people get excited about the prospect of earning tax free income in Dubai. But is it really worth more than in the UK or the USA? Now we take a look at some of the top professions and include taxation and cost of living.

Below we have taken the 3 most popular sectors to draw a comparison as to whether the salary in Dubai is worth more than it is in the UK or USA.

Before we start we need to know a few things. The average cost of living in Dubai, London and New York. Then how much tax you would pay on your salary in London and New York.

For this we have used TransferWise Cost of Living Index and TheSalaryCalculator.co.uk which offers take home pay calculations based on UK and US salaries.

Average Cost of Rent Dubai London New York | The Vacation Builder
Average Living Costs Without Rent Dubai London New York | The Vacation Builder

As you can see from the above images, Dubai offers cheaper rental accommodation as well as cheaper living costs.

When adding average rental costs for 1 person with basic living costs, Dubai comes out cheaper than London and New York by far. Combined living costs in Dubai stand at 128,628AED compared with London at 144,924AED and New York at 188,076AED

What is Your Dubai Salary Worth vs London

JobAccounts & FinanceConstructionMedical & Health
Average Salary Dubai242,200AED228,000AED355,200AED
In The Bank After Basic Living Costs113,572AED99,372AED226,572AED
Average Salary Post Tax London260,945AED164,510AED188,310AED
In The Bank After Basic Living Costs116,021AED19,586AED43,386AED

As you can see from the table above, when you take living costs and tax into account, your Dubai salary is still worth a lot more than that of London. The Accounts & Finance sector was very similar but for Construction and Medical, you are worth more in Dubai!

What is Your Dubai Salary Worth vs New York

JobAccounts & FinanceConstructionMedical & Health
Average Salary Dubai242,200AED228,000AED355,200AED
In The Bank After Basic Living Costs113,572AED99,372AED226,572AED
Average Salary Post Tax New York186,446AED166,392AED419,153AED
In The Bank After Basic Living Costs-1,630AED-21,684AED231,077AED

As you can see, living alone in New York is hard to make ends meet! Even with good jobs in finance or construction. In comparison to working in Dubai, these sectors just don’t compete for wages. However, the Medical and Health profession was very similar, but we’d still prefer the sunshine of Dubai than New York as a better place to live!


So there we have it. Dubai salaries are worth more, giving you yet another reason to immigrate to the UAE.

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