Working as an SAP Consultant in Dubai

Dubai, the UAE’s largest and most cosmopolitan city, is more than just a captivating place to live. Known for its impressive safety records, wealth, superior quality of life and education standards, it’s the perfect locale for SAP consultants. Moreover, with equality and mutual respect forming the foundation of its workplaces, Dubai’s burgeoning economy offers many opportunities.

Contrary to popular belief, the oil industry isn’t the primary source of Dubai’s wealth — it’s the intelligent investments and vibrant tourism industry.

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The Meteoric Rise of Dubai

Originally a humble fishing village trading in pearls, Dubai metamorphosed into a bustling metropolis thanks to the innovative investment programme spearheaded by former ruler Sheik Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum. Following the discovery of oil in the 1960s, the Sheikh astutely channelled oil revenues into accelerating the city’s development, firmly cementing Dubai’s status as a sought-after destination for businesses and tourism.

Burj Khalifa Dubai a large skyscraper
Burj Khalifa Skyline in Dubai. Image shows a modern sculpture
Atlantis The Palm in Dubai. Image shows a coastline
Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, Dubai image of coastline

The Business Landscape of Dubai

In essence, doing business in Dubai parallels conducting business in renowned Western cities such as London or Paris. Industries spanning construction, tourism, and financial services contribute to Dubai’s extraordinary wealth, and the city’s diverse cultural fabric makes it an exciting place to work.

The etiquette in the business world is considerate and inclusive, with common practices including exchanging business cards (preferably with one side in Arabic) and being punctual for meetings.

SAP Opportunities in Dubai

Numerous industries — from oil and gas to manufacturing, retail, banking, and airlines — are on the lookout for SAP Consultants. The contractual terms may be fixed-term or permanent, with daily rates comparable to those in the UK. Many SAP consultants opt for contract extensions, owing to the appealing work-life balance offered by Dubai. The working pattern usually entails three weeks on-site, with one week to work remotely from your country of origin.

Salaries for permanent European workers tend to surpass those in the UK due in part to the exemption from income tax. Contracts for locals align with the local rates, and most contracts include the reimbursement of all expenses, which can vary based on the contract.

Living the Dubai Dream: Key Considerations

Before packing your bags and jetting off to Dubai, consider these crucial aspects:

  1. Respecting the Dress Code: Public decency is paramount, with modest attire covering shoulders and knees recommended in public spaces.
  2. Local Laws: Familiarise yourself with the local laws concerning public behaviour, alcohol consumption, and language use.
  3. Climate: Temperatures can fluctuate between 20°C and 45°C, but air conditioning is widespread.
  4. Ramadan Observance: During this holy month, refrain from eating or drinking in public during daylight hours out of respect for those who are fasting.
  5. Women in Dubai: Dubai champions gender equality in pay and rights, but women, especially those under their husbands’ sponsorship, should stay abreast of the relevant rules.

Navigating Daily Life in Dubai

Language barriers are virtually non-existent in Dubai. While Arabic is the local language, English enjoys widespread use, making communication hassle-free for expats. However, learning a few Arabic phrases can foster deeper connections with the locals and other Arabic migrants.

Life in Dubai offers something for everyone. From indulging in retail therapy at the world’s biggest shopping mall or standing in awe of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building globally, to experiencing the world’s largest choreographed fountain system — there’s never a dull moment in this city.

Community is at the heart of Dubai, a city that has embraced foreign investment and tourism since the 1960s. With a population mix representing an array of cultures — the locals make up around 15% of the population, while the rest predominantly hail from other Asian countries and a small proportion from Western nations — Dubai is truly a melting pot of cultures.

Metro Station Dubai. Image of some stairs and escalators

Making Dubai Your Home: Practical Aspects

When considering relocating to Dubai, several factors play a crucial role:

  1. Cost of Living and Accommodation: The cost of living in Dubai is approximately 35% lower than in London, a relief for many expats. When seeking accommodation, consider factors like commute times, the level of congestion and noise in the area, proximity to essential amenities like shops and schools, and the potential inconveniences in areas still under construction.
  2. Currency: The local currency is the Arab Emirate Dhiram (AED, Dhs, or DH), with notes marked in Arabic on one side and English on the other.
  3. Work Visas and Permits: Typically, the employer or the recruitment agency arranges visas and work permits. Whitehall Resources, for instance, often facilitates this through visa partners.
  4. Transport: Dubai boasts an efficient and modern transport system, with an air-conditioned underground network and abundant taxis. If you plan on driving, ensure you convert your driving license to a local one.
  5. Tax Implications: As an SAP consultant in Dubai, you enjoy a tax-free income. However, you might be liable to pay tax in your home country or previous country of residence, depending on local laws.
Image of Dubai Frame-a large empty frame
Dubai Marina image showing some palm trees with lights on
Image of Dubai Marina from above
Museum of the future in Dubai. Image shows some steps and some buildings in the distance

Making the Most of Dubai: Leisure and Entertainment

With an expansive range of leisure activities — from world-class restaurants, shopping malls, and nightclubs to even indoor snowboarding — Dubai is a city that never sleeps. For a dose of tradition, the old town offers vast markets and a unique ambiance. Despite strict alcohol laws, socializing is still a key aspect of life in Dubai, with foreigners often congregating in hotel bars at night.

Keeping abreast of local events is simple thanks to social media and the Dubai Calendar app. Don’t forget to use @lovindubai or #MyDubai to stay in the loop!

Ready for the Leap?

Are you enticed by the prospect of working as an SAP consultant in Dubai? Start your journey with us! Explore SAP Recruitment in the Middle East.

About the author

Whitehall Resources is the leading provider of specialist SAP recruitment services across the UK, Europe, the Middle East and the US. We have curated an expansive network of SAP talent drawn from direct relationships and personal referrals. Consequently, we are renowned and respected among the most seasoned candidates in the market.

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