UAE jobs: Dubai's software engineers third-highest earners in global tech sector

They make 30% more than their counterparts in London, Amsterdam and Berlin, Mercer survey finds.

Software engineers in Dubai with a minimum of three years’ experience earn the third-highest salaries in the world, according to Mercer. Getty
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Employees in Dubai's technology sector are the third-highest earners in the industry worldwide, according to a survey.

Software engineers in Dubai with a minimum of three years’ experience earn 30 per cent more than their counterparts in global technology centres such as London, Amsterdam and Berlin, consultancy Mercer said on Wednesday.

Technology employees in Silicon Valley and New York earn 35 per cent and 22 per cent more, respectively, than their counterparts in Dubai, the research found.

“Dubai’s status as a global business hub, coupled with its income tax-free environment, world-class infrastructure, safety and high quality of life make the emirate a very attractive market for talent,” said Vladimir Vrzhovski, workforce mobility leader at Mercer Middle East.

“The demand for tech talent in particular will continue to grow in the UAE, given the nation’s drive to be a global capital of the digital economy.”

Software development directors in the UAE earn an average of Dh52,500 ($14,295) a month, according to recruitment company Hays’s 2022 GCC Salary Guide.

Meanwhile, a front-end developer/engineer earns an average monthly salary of Dh25,000, a back-end developer/engineer Dh23,500, a mobile application developer Dh24,000, an engineering manager Dh45,000, while a head of software engineering draws an average monthly salary of Dh55,000, according to Hays.

The jobs market in the UAE, the Arab world’s second-largest economy, has made a strong recovery from the coronavirus-induced slowdown on the back of the government’s fiscal and monetary measures.

The pick-up in economic activity and business confidence spells good news for skilled technology job seekers.

The UAE’s technology sector has dominated demand for new hires since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, driven by businesses hastening their digital plans and global technology companies expanding in the Middle East, according to recruitment specialists.

About 66 per cent of people believe that technological factors, such as digital transformation, automation and artificial intelligence will transform the nature of work in the future, according to a survey on Monday by jobs portal and market research company YouGov.

The survey interviewed 1,625 respondents from countries such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Lebanon.

Initiatives such as the Golden Visa, Talent Pass and National Programme for Coders aim to attract global professionals in the fields of technology, among other areas, to the UAE, Mr Vrzhovski said.

Although Dubai was ranked the most expensive city in the GCC and the 31st most expensive city for expatriates in Mercer’s annual Cost of Living survey, the cost of living in Dubai remains considerably lower than most tech centres, including New York (ranked seventh), Singapore (eighth), London (15th), San Francisco (19th) and Amsterdam (25th), according to the consultancy.

“A key incentive for tech talent is the opportunity for a significant uplift in salary when compared to other tech hubs, where the cost of living is higher in terms of transportation and housing,” Mr Vrzhovski said.

“While inflation and rising fuel costs are a pressure on cost of living around the globe, Dubai is building a nurturing and highly competitive tech ecosystem that pays highly competitive salaries — creating an environment that promises to attract and retain the best talent globally.”

Amid an increasing move towards remote work globally, about 60 per cent of UAE employers offer flexible working, which reduces employees’ transport costs significantly, according to Mercer.

For employees that travel to work, the cost of purchasing a car and buying fuel remain the lowest in Dubai, when compared with other technology centres such as London, New York and Berlin, the consultancy said.

Some of the stats behind the UAE's hiring boom

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, FEB 24, 2016. Jason Leavy, MD of Edelman Dabo. Photo: Reem Mohammed / The National (Reporter: Frank Kane /Section: BZ) Job ID: 27616 *** Local Caption ***  RM_20160224_JASONLEAVY_004.JPG

The cost of public transport is also lower in Dubai, compared with cities such as London and New York, which are more expensive by 152 per cent and 67 per cent, respectively.

Dubai is also cheaper when it comes to housing and rental costs, with the cost of comparable accommodation double in London and New York, and 50 per cent more in Singapore, Mercer said.

However, access to high-speed internet costs significantly more for employees in Dubai, who pay between 50 per cent and 60 per cent more than London, Singapore, Berlin, New York and Lisbon residents.

The flexible working culture where employees often work from cafes or co-working spaces is also more costly in Dubai, where the cost of a cup of coffee can be up to 70 per cent higher than in Berlin, New York and Lisbon, and about 50 per cent higher than in London and Amsterdam, the survey found.


UAE Salary Guide 2022 - in pictures

Updated: July 07, 2022, 3:30 AM