Dubai or Sharjah – Which is a better place to work in the Gulf?

Last updated on July 27th, 2015

Dubai and Sharjah have emerged as the commercial hub of the Middle East over the last few years. High salaries and perks, excellent infrastructure and luxurious lifestyle attract professionals to the region. However, for any person looking for an entry level job here, there is a need to get acquainted with the different aspects of working in Dubai. Job openings in Dubai and Sharjah are not just limited to the oil and gas sector. The high cost of living is a major issue for professionals.

jobs in dubai

Therefore, before taking a decision to settle in Dubai or Sharjah, knowing both positive and negative factors are essential.
Dubai in UAE has over the last few years emerged as a major economic hub. What makes Dubai one of the best places to work in the Gulf is the fact that one can earn high salaries, have a tax-free income and also high incentives. As compared to other cities in this part of the world, Dubai is quite liberal and progressive when it comes to culture. Sharjah’s economy is not based on oil alone. It has emerged as the major hub of other industries like finance, construction, petrochemicals, tourism and finance.

Emerging Trends and how it affects the Job Seekers

Over the last few years, the real estate market in Sharjah has shown impressive growth. Sharjah Holdings is developing an integrated mixed use community called Al Zahia which comprises a number of villas, apartments as well as commercial units. This in turn has created a demand for professionals like site engineers and architects. It is widely believed that as property prices in Dubai continue to rise, more and more companies will be shifting their base to Sharjah where property prices are more affordable.

jobs in dubai

At present, the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority is developing a number of tourists spots which are collectively called the Heart of Sharjah, which is the largest heritage project of its type in the Gulf, Al Bait Hotel (a 5 star luxury resort spread over 10,000sqm) and Al Jabal Resort The Cheddi Khorfakkan, which will have a village and a fort which is open to the public. In Dubai, announcements have been made recently regarding plans to allocate lands for construction of 3 and their families on holiday trips.

Standard of living, Work culture and Amenities

Job Exhibition in Dubai

As an industrial hub, both Sharjah and Dubai stand apart from others because these cities provides skilled working professionals not just the opportunity to earn high salaries but also save substantial sums as income is tax-free here. For example, as a manager in oil or gas or in any technical field, you can earn up to 70,000 AED per month, and at the directorial level around 80,000 AED per month.

But, your starting salary will be somewhere around 10K-15K AED per month. However, salary to a great extent depends on experience and qualification. Directors and managers of multinational companies are provided other benefits in additional to salary such as personal transport, accommodation, one holiday tour per year etc.

But keep one thing in mind. The standard of living in Dubai is higher in comparison to Sharjah. Annual average rent of a 1 BHK apartment in Dubai is between Dh40, 000 –Dh65, 000 at present. On the other hand, if you settle down in Sharjah you will be at least able to save 50% of your monthly housing expenses. However, in Gulf countries, children of expatriates are not allowed admission in public schools. So, you will have to admit your children to take admission in either private or international schools, where tuition fees are pretty high. So, a significant amount of your earnings may go into the education of your children.

However, the Dubai Expo 2020, UAE companies have predicted a 5% pay hike for 2014. Salaries of professionals engaged in sectors such as oil and natural gas, finance and pharmaceuticals are likely to go up to a greater extent in comparison to others. Therefore, you are engaged in any one of the above mentioned sectors, you will be able to manage the high living costs in Dubai or Sharjah in a better manner.


When it comes to lifestyle, standard of living and amenities, Dubai as well as Sharjah are two of the best places to work in UAE. However, your decision is going to have long term implications in your professional as well as personal life.

You should make the decision keeping in mind the plus points as well as minus points of settling down in either of the two cities. It would be better for you to avoid taking the help of recruitment agents, as often people get duped of large sums of money as quite of few of these agents turn out to be fraud. So, think over the matter well before applying for a residential visa to work in Dubai or Sharjah.