Job Offer in UAE - Is AED 35,000 a good salary?

My current salary in the US is $128K ($10,650 per month). I've been offered a position in Abu Dhabi with a basic salary of AED 21,000 and allowances of AED 14,000. Is this a good salary or a comparable salary to my US salary since my US salary is taxed whereas the AED 35,000 is tax free. My family consists of four (wife, 4-yr old daughter, newborn, and myself). I'm a civil engineer with 10+ yrs of experience, including several professional licenses, and an MBA. So is AED 35,000 a good monthly salary and will it allow me to live a good lifestyle in UAE? Child schooling is paid at 50% up to a max of AED 26,000. Also, each family member receives AED 550 per month for flight allowance.

35K AED is a decent salary, but I'm little surprised why are you serious about this offer as you already have a good paying job @ your home country. 10650 USD is around 40K AED. Even if you consider the 30% tax away in US but the benfits of living at your home country (your own house, friends, set job) are worth to be considered.

I was almost in same setuation 2 years back when I decided to move from Singapore, a little more savings, a luxury car but poor life quality compare to SG, overall I regret my move :(

Take your decision wisely.

I appreciate your feedback. The only reason I was considering the offer is because the specific role I have in the construction field is quite specialized. And taking a position in the UAE would allow me to fast track my career so that in 4 to 5 years if I choose to come back to the states I would be at a Director level. So, if i choose to accept the offer do you recommend I counter with an offer of 40k AED at minimum?  Thanks

yes you deserve it. simple rule is don't ever allow your salary to go down unless you are job less..

Not really, as compared to your US salary.  The tax break is not on the entire amount; only the first $97,500, and you must be out of the USA for at least 330 days during the 12 month period.  The conversion rate is 3.675, which means the AED 35,000 value is approximately $9,523.81 per month - so you are actually making less.  From the salary offered, you will need to rent accommodations and transportation.  A 3 BR apartment will cost approximately $30,000 to $35,000 per year, depending on where you live, plus utilities.  You can get by with a modest sedan car rental for approximately $1,000 per month.  You will also have to pay school fees for your children; I don't know this figure as my kids are grown.

Housing & school fees must be paid lump sum in advance.  Housing will also require a security deposit.

If you negotiate, use caution if the company says they will provide your housing - you will probably not get anything close to what you expect.  You will need to specify minimum square feet, location, etc. 

I lived in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi for a combined 8 consecutive years, but moved to Saudi Arabia ealrier this year.  Feel free to email me if you have more questions.

Hi Dweezy,

I live in Dubai but worked in Abu Dhabi for over 3 years. The city is good for a family as its easy to get around and a fairly sedate way of life.

With regards to the salary, I earn 38k a month and am a batchelor, this enables me to live a pretty good lifestyle but would be difficult to make that stretch to cover a family of 4. Housing in Abu Dhabi is pretty expensive, I would expect to pay a minimum of AED 170K a year for decent place that your family will enjoy living in. A car is pretty reasonable to get out here, 700 dollars a month would get you family car on rental easy.

School will be alot - 50% contribution is low. Friends of mine pay circa AED35-45K a year for their kids schooling.

I honestly think you could get more, 10 yrs experience plus Abu Dhabi tends to pay more than Dubai as its a less appealing proposition. If you could get AED 40-45K be good. Also if you wife is intending to work then that would make a big difference.

UAE is a great place to live, full of expats and excellent base for travel.

Good luck!

I've been living in Abu Dhabi for the past 5 years.  Housing and schooling are VERY expensive.  On the salary you have been offered I would doubt you would be able to save anything, unless you are very frugal.  Then again its all about your expectations.  Schooling is crazy here, that's if your lucky and your child can get a place.  These are the first two area's housing and schooling that you should do your research on.  Yes it all sounds great, free airline tickets home, tax free salary and 50% of schooling, but schooling alone for a 4 year old can cost up to 54,000dhs a year (you can do the conversion).  If 100% of schooling is covered then the salary you've been offered is not too bad.  Good luck.


I just returned from Dubai after a 2 year assignment and since your job offer is in Abu Dhabi, you'll have to really consider that the cost of living in AD is much higher than Dubai, especially the rent levels. Not to discourage you, but I personally believe that 21000 (about $5700.00) AED as a basic salary is a bit low for A.D considering that you might end up spending the entire 14000 AED on rent alone; and the schooling can be quite expensive as well.

If you are working through a recruiting firm, they always have room to negotiate a better salary and/or extra benefits (such as more contribution to school payment, transportation benefits...etc). If you are working directory with the hiring company/government agency, it does not hurt to ask if they can offer more (if you are comfortable doing so).

One thing I learn the hard way is to make sure you have a solid work contract that spells-out everything agreed to in writing and I would certainly run it by a lawyer here in the states to make sure it covers all basis.....and if you've agreed to a specified term, make sure the contract specifies remedies (such as the employer's obligation to pay off the term/balance of the contract) in case they decide to terminate the employment prior to those agreed terms.

Good luck and hope the above helps.

To be perfectly honest you would be crazy to leave such a well paid job to come to Abu Dhabi. Most western expats here came because they were unemployed in their own countries or were attracted by the higher salaries. It may be 'tax free' here officially but there are many hidden charges and most things will be more expensive than in the USA. It is not easy adjusting to the different 'culture' here and it is often maddening. Despite all the malls and restaurants service is appallingly bad. Remember too that the UAE is an absolute monarchy and as a foreigner you have no rights whatever.
As a married person with kids it is going to cost you a fortune to feed and school them. It really isn't worth it. People repeat the mantra that 'life is good' here but you won't see much evidence of that. For most expats it is a grind and an expensive one at that. You will be lied to on a daily basis. And contracts are worth nothing. In fact most contracts contain a clause that stipulates that the contract can be changed at any time without notice and without the onus to provide a reason. In fact contracts can, and are, changed without notifying you at all! They are worthless.

"And taking a position in the UAE would allow me to fast track my career so that in 4 to 5 years if I choose to come back to the states I would be at a Director level. So, if i choose to accept the offer do you recommend I counter with an offer of 40k AED at minimum?"

It's worth checking up on this. Be careful. I know that within the field of education experience in the UAE, and any positions achieved, is not recognised in the rest of the world. Certainly not in Europe and North America. There are good reasons why that's the case...

Hi David. It is low to par for the course. Below 25K AED a month you cannot live a western lifestyle so that is the bottom line as at were, some jobs are advertised at humongous amounts (80K AED a month say, I don't know what paragons they hope to get for that). 40K would be fair / honorable / better but you wll be okay on 35K so long as family & medical insurance is included. Make sure you feel the employing company is reputable. And enjoy enoy and get it on your resume. Stuart F


IMO its a good salary, but as others have said, private schools and housing is very expensive in AD.  On the flip side, its a very nice place to live and raise a family, very safe.

I was able to renegotiate to AED 40,000 per month. Recommendations/feedback?

For your experience and credentials they should be offering you twice what they are doing.  Dont forget you are NOT tax free living overseas, you just get a tax break.  In any case, 55,000 aed total salary and allowances per month would be the minimum I would take and dont forget the benefits of business class tickets annually for the entire family and the cost of schooling for your kids up to about 50k aed per child.  Everything is negotiable and it is up to you to seek what you want. 

I have been here 5 years and love it and can agree with the comments of the other posters. Honestly speaking, this is a great place for me in my career field. I was out of work on a regular basis in the US due to the economy and working contract to contract.  It was hard to save any money or advance in my career. Abu Dhabi has been good to me! But there are a lot of stressors you wont be familiar with.  My recommendation is to look into it and perhaps come over here for 3-6 months first without your family and then make a decision. 

Good Luck!

In a large company, allowances are usually easier to negotiate than the salary. (People might get offended if you make too much money. They don't care if your kids schooling is paid for 100%.) So if you have an offer of a salary you are happy with, then leave it, and push the allowances.

The 97k USD tax break includes allowances, so you will pay some tax on the full package. However, much less than in the US, probably around half with your income.

You can live very comfortably here, but it is easy to overspend if you don't know what you are doing. For instance, you can pay 300,000AED a year or 150,000AED a year for a villa, with only small differences to your lifestyle.

Best of luck,

It's a good.

I want  teaching uae under kind control

honestly 35k a month allow you to have a decent life , but with family … i m not sure from a financial aspect (depending on your life style).
as a family man, you ll like it here: safe, servicing, nice accommodation… but boring !

to my mind if it s a nie professional experience you ve been offered , why not bt try to negotiate 40k :-) to make sure you match 10k usd per month and then you can defo make a nice living here. then i m not familiar with your industry standard in terms of salary … hope a engineer will reply and give you some extra info

good luck !

I was able to renegotiate to AED 40,000 per month. Recommendations/feedback?

good salary

I need a Agriculture related job in UAE. Could any body help me?

I need a same type job in the field of AGRIL.. Who could help me?

Hello fellow South Carolinian!
35,000 AED is slightly less than your current salary. (About 9,500 USD). However, your salary is tax-free (up to a certain amount. Check with Uncle Sam! He's a sneaky uncle!!) Schools here can be pricey, so 1/2 is a nice gesture. However, in your profession, many companies offer full tuition for the children. IF you feel the contract is negotiable, it doesn't hurt to ask. When you leave the UAE, your end-of-services benefits will be calculated on the base salary, not the gross amount. Do the provide a housing or is the 14k part of a housing stipend? If you are finding your own place, housing is typically paid for up front in 1-3 (if you are lucky) payments. (It is not monthly like the states.)  Overall, the UAE can be a fantastic place to live. I've been here 6 years and intend to stay longer. If you would like more information, I'm happy to oblige!
Btw: I agree with Br 549's response.

Kindly make arrangement to have a job in the field of Agriculture, if possible

mahaque4 wrote:

Kindly make arrangement to have a job in the field of Agriculture, if possible

I suggest that you start searching online for a job. You can check out the jobs section of this forum which is located at the top of this page. You can also place your CV there too.

so... 2 years later... how did it go for you and your family in UAE ? :) 

I´m looking right now to move over there too... (Mexican Senior Network Engineer based in Dublin, IE at the moment)


sorry i know this is thread hijack..

but can u share with me more on why you regret moving from singapore?

are u still based in Dubai ?

Is there any Dubai company hiring Filipino lawyer?

Hey, I have a question, how would I be able to move to UAE. What are the requirements you were able to fulfill?

sayed101Today 18:23:30
1 post
Hey, I have a question, how would I be able to move to UAE. What are the requirements you were able to fulfill?

You just copy-pasted my question you didn't answer it. Can you please answer it if possible thanks?

Hi Do you still live in Saudi Arabia
how is the life there comparing to UAE?
what is a good salary for family of 5 members (including parents)?
how much is the rent?

I'm working in UAE for 2000 AED🥺🥺

Morning, I'm olive mukeshimana from my country Kigali rwanda
When I get this job , you will be appreciated for my hardworking and I learn so fast
Please I accept what I say and it's not for the fast time in Dubai, I was Sharjah in 2017 business trhope to see you enswer soon
Thank you.

I m olive mukeshimana I have 2 children and husband
Thank you

AED 40,000 is a reasonably good salary. You have a good life to live in Abu dhabi.

I m looking for a job in Dubai

I am also considering moving to Dubai for a work opportunity and the salary is between 35K AED and 50K AED. I have a wife and two young girls (2 yrs and 8months, respectively). I currently do not drive, so I am thinking of hiring a driver. What will be your advice in terms of optimising my finances and which family-friendly areas will you recommend I considered with affording housing and schools with a good standard?

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