10 future-proof jobs in the UAE with high salaries

As more roles become automated these professions will stay in demand for the next 20 years

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As the UAE paves its way to a more digital future, recruiters have highlighted high-paying jobs that will still be in demand in 20 years.

Initiatives have been launched to reshape the skills base of workers here, including an artificial intelligence university, digital governance, autonomous vehicle strategies and space exploration.

Recruiters said these will open up private sector opportunities for job seekers.

"The UAE is one of very few countries where government is setting an example for private firms to follow, by rapidly adopting digital governance," said Hasan Babat, managing consultant at human resources company Tuscan Consultancy.

If you look at my business, part of recruitment will be taken away from consultants, and AI bots will do that work for them

“It has created an environment that is very conducive to attracting talent from across the world by easing investment rules, providing a transparent legal system and relaxing legislation for residency and citizenship."

David Mackenzie, of recruitment agency Mackenzie Jones Middle East, said automation will make certain job roles more popular.

Artificial intelligence and software engineering roles are among those expected to increase in demand.

"Artificial intelligence engineers will be a massive area for us, because if you think about all those areas that have to be automated, AI is a key component behind that," he told The National.

“If you look at my business, part of the assessment of selecting recruitment companies will be taken away from consultants, and AI bots will do that work for them.”

However, Mr Mackenzie believes traditional roles such as those in finance, marketing and human resources will still be sought after.

With digital transformation picking up pace, The National looks at 10 high-paying careers that will stay in demand far into the future.

The list is compiled based on research, estimates and comments from Mr Babat and Mr Mackenzie.

The 10 high-paying jobs that will stay in demand:

  1. Artificial intelligence engineer, Dh32,000 per month
  2. Data scientist, Dh32,000 per month
  3. Management consultant, Dh35,000 per month
  4. Investment banker, Dh45,000 per month
  5. Principal scientist, Dh38,000 per month
  6. Medical doctor, Dh33,000 per month
  7. Cyber security engineer, Dh30,000 per month
  8. Finance officer, Dh33,000 per month
  9. Software engineer, Dh35,000 per month
  10. Senior human resources officer, Dh30,000 per month

1. Artificial intelligence engineer 

Average salary: Dh32,000 per month

When AI first entered the market, people feared it would replace workers and result in mass unemployment.

Since then, automation has taken over some roles, but there are human skills it cannot replicate.

AI is in use across the UAE, in land and air traffic control systems, government departments, healthcare and education.

The UAE has an AI strategy and recently opened the Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence, which will produce AI engineers.

“AI is becoming the key for large private and government organisations to understand consumer sentiments and make decisions. It is a promising career,” Mr Babat said.

2. Data scientist

Average salary: Dh32,000 per month

This profession is in demand and will be so for many years.

The Golden Visa, a 10-year residency permit for skilled professionals, is available to data scientists. The role also qualifies individuals to be considered for Emirati citizenship, but they have to be nominated by Royal Court officials.

“With so much digitisation across industries, data is the new currency. The UAE government’s vision to provide complete digital government services will also make the jobs of data scientists high in demand,” Mr Babat said.

3. Management consultant

Average salary: Dh35,000

Management consultants help companies solve business problems and maximise growth.

By looking at available data they can help to improve a company's performance.

With entrepreneurship heavily encouraged in the UAE, management consultants will be in high demand.

4. Investment banker

Average salary: Dh45,000

These professionals advise individuals or companies how to invest their money and earn more.

“Oil crash, digital disruption and the pandemic have all kept global markets highly volatile," Mr Babat said.

"These uncertainties have increased demand for professional investment bankers, who help their clients in prudently investing and maximising the value of their money."

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5. Principal scientist

Average salary: Dh38,000

Principal scientists lead a team in planning, conducting and interpreting experiments.

Scientists also qualify for the Golden Visa scheme and notably accomplished individuals can be nominated by the Royal Court for Emirati citizenship.

Their area of work can vary widely, from healthcare to energy research, or even taking part in the space programme.

6. Medical doctor

Average salary: Dh33,000

Doctors are always going to be in demand, but the coronavirus pandemic has reminded governments how important it is to have an effective healthcare system. Naturally, salaries increase or decrease depending on training and specialisation.

With the UAE's strong focus on building its healthcare sector, it is likely more vacancies will open up in the future.

Specialists, surgeons and consultants can earn several times the average figure of Dh33,000.

7. Cyber security engineer

Average salary: Dh30,000

Cyber attacks are growing each year, and companies are looking for experienced cyber security engineers who can protect online information.

Mr Babat said governments and private firms are looking to develop more secure technologies and would need these professionals.

“Due to an increase in cyber attacks globally in recent years, organisations have lost billions of dollars,” he said.

Many of these jobs come with a salary of more than Dh40,000.

8. Finance officer

Average salary: Dh33,000

While the digital world has created many new job roles, some traditional positions will still be in demand 20 years from now.

Mr Mackenzie said finance officer is one of these professions.

An experienced candidate can earn between Dh33,000 and Dh35,000, and would oversee the spending of individuals or companies, advising them accordingly.

9. Software engineer

Average salary: Dh35,000

This is a branch of computer science which includes the development and building of computer system software.

“I think software engineering is going to be a huge market, because there's going to be so many bits of software that will run the world,” Mr Mackenzie said.

“For example; your car. You don't need technical engineers anymore. Teslas need to be serviced once every five years, and that would be done by a software engineer.”

10. Senior human resources officer

Average salary: Dh30,000

Human resources officers both hire and look after employees and those in higher ranking positions can earn a good salary.

It was believed earlier that AI would replace this particular job, but instead the technology has been assisting their roles, rather than replacing them.

What are the highest paid jobs in UAE?

  • Banking - chief compliance officer Dh93,000-Dh115,000, chief operating officer Dh95,000-Dh113,000
  • Legal - managing partner Dh84,100-Dh122,300, General Counsel Dh80,000-Dh130,000
  • Oil and gas - LNG manager Dh38,000-Dh72,000, Petroleum engineering manager Dh38,000-Dh65,000
  • Public sector - Undersecretary Dh125,000-Dh175,000, executive director Dh90,000-Dh130,000
  • Strategy - chief information officer Dh85,500-Dh111,000, partner Dh110,000-Dh162,000
  • Senior finance and tax - group chief financial officer Dh90,000-Dh130,000
  • Sales and marketing - regional commercial director Dh55,000-Dh69,000, head of corporate communications Dh51,000-Dh65,000
  • Manufacturing and supply chain - managing director Dh94,000-Dh130,000, chief operations officer Dh80,000-Dh120,000
  • Investment management - chief investment officer Dh130,000-Dh170,000, head of investments Dh85,000-Dh140,000
  • Technology - chief information officer Dh60,000-Dh105,000, chief technology officer Dh50,700-Dh97,900
  • HR and office support - HR director Dh64,800-Dh109,500, head of HR Dh50,000-Dh90,200
  • Financial services - chief risk officer Dh90,000-Dh150,000
  • Accounting and finance - CFO Dh70,000-Dh130,000
  • Property and construction - general manager Dh60,000-Dh80,000, development director Dh65,000-Dh80,000
  • Secretary and office support - executive assistant Dh24,000-Dh32,000, office manager Dh20,000-Dh32,000
  • Digital - chief digital officer Dh50,000-Dh90,000, head of marketing Dh35,000-Dh60,000


UAE salary guide for 2021: