Job hunting in the Middle East? Start here

Are you seeking a job in the Middle East or the fast-developing (oil-rich) Gulf States? Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and maybe Oman?

One may say, there are many online job search websites and recruitment online boards that can help you achieve just that.

There are also those “famous” recruitment agencies, but the fact is you need to go through them with a fine comb. Unfortunately, many of those are plain spammers.

Instead of getting to know you and ask what kind of job or employer you’re comfortable with. Those claimed ‘Gulf Jobs Consultants’ will just spam companies with your CV, in the hope that you would land an interview.

Still, there are some decent online recruitment websites that will help you land a job. Based on my personal experience learned while working in Dubai, UAE since 2001. I found some tried and trusted Gulf job vacancies sites worth spending time posting your CV to, but first, let me share a little secret with you…

Shocking: It’s whom you know / word of mouth

Forget those online boards for job vacancies in Gulf countries. It’s whom you know when you want to land a good job in the Middle East.

Companies get dumped with a torrents of CVs of desperate people asking to have any job. (I know, I’ve been there on the other side). So, any headhunting HR personnel will prefer to have their employees / colleagues refer a good candidate then having to sip through endless feed of CVs.

Try to befriend people working in the GCC, Middle East, let them inform you whenever there is an opening available.

This is how I got my first job in Dubai while I was working in Alexandria, Egypt. My dear friend Rami happened to know that his previous company is looking for an editor. He knew me from before, over the internet. He had seen my work, and he recommended me for this job. Rest is history.

Finding a job in the Middle East requires some thinking outside the box, like here.

Finding a job in the Middle East requires some thinking outside the box. @Flickr

My Personal Best Job Search website: Gulftalent.com

A respected recruitment site that offers decent job posts, and claims to have millions of CVs, and to deal with over 2,000 reputed employers. In my book, this is one of the best job search sites in 2016.

Dealing mainly with “White-Collar” jobs, Gulftalent is usually referred by international media sources for its periodic reports about the job market in the Middle East. Gulftalent was launched in 2002, and covers many Middle Eastern and Gulf countries. Recommended.

Hays.ae

Hays is one of the leading recruiters in UK. Hays.ae is their branch in UAE which mainly serves the Gulf region and some of the Middle East countries.

You won’t find many jobs there, but those available vacancies are the top-notch, white-collar, well-paid ones. If you were on the management / top executive level, with long years of experience, you stand a good chance to land a decent job. There, PA / Secretarial jobs are always on high demand.

Let me share another source for Gulf Jobs for British expats. Visit the Jobs in Middle East section of the Guardian website.

Mackenzie Jones Middle East

Mackenzie Jones (mackenziejones.com) is again a UK recruiter. They branched out to Dubai in 2006, to work with clients and candidates from across the Middle East, Levant and Africa. Currently, majority of their ads are mostly related to IT, Tech, e-Commerce and digital content.

Beauty of Mackenzie Jones is that it lists many ways to contact each "consultant" for each posted job.

Mackenzie Jones website lists many ways to contact each “consultant” for each posted job.

Bayt.com

Bayt (www.bayt.com) is one of the first recruitment websites completely devoted to the MENA (Middle East and Africa) region.It has soon afterwards branch out to cover the whole Middle East & North Africa region, with no signs of slowing down.

Bayt has a good reputation in the region, and many employers trust them. By far it’s the most popular job site in the MENA region.

It’s a good starting point for those in search of Gulf Jobs for freshers. (For an abysmal salary I’m afraid.)

It’s a good starting point to get a feeling for what kind of jobs are wanted and well paid in the part of the world. Still, don’t expect a salary that will have rent your house and fly all the way to the Gulf region. Not so fast mate.

Headquartered in Dubai, UAE, Bayt is sometimes notorious for emailing its users advising them to tweak their CVs, and offering their services for this matter, indirectly implying that this will increase their chances to land a job, which is not necessarily true.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, Bayt in Arabic language means Home.

Linkedin

It’s useless, I know!

Getting a job from LinkedIn is as hard as finding a needle in a haystack.

Still, you need to be on Linkedin with a good-looking profile, so when your future employer wants to check you out, he / she has a LinkedIn profile to start with.

You also need to follow certain LinkedIn users who post job openings, like this user below.

Follow the right Linkedin users to find the right job

Follow the right Linkedin users to find the right job

It’s a good start to search for active LinkedIn users working in the HR field and send them requests to connect. This will allow to know firsthand when they post a job opening.

Twitter #Hashtags

Some big companies in the Middle East post on their Twitter accounts asking for job candidates.

Hence, you should follow the companies you have set your eyes on Twitter. [Truth be told, I did not have any luck doing so, but who knows, you may be the one, Neo.]

You can also search for job-related hashtags, like #DubaiJobs (see below). Also, follow MiddleEastJob account on Twitter (Link). They actively post job openings in the Middle East. You can also follow our Wajeez account on Twitter, as we sometimes re-post job-related tweets.

Twitter is a good source of job openings, should you follow the right accounts

Twitter is a good source of job openings, should you follow the right accounts

Monstergulf.com

Monster.com claims to be the largest jobs search engine. I haven’t found a single proof to this claim.

Monstergulf is catering only to the Middle East region. Operating from India, many registered users have reported Monstergulf’s personnel contacting them over the phone with offers to push their CVs to job advertisers in return for a varying premium.

Kind (aka unfortunate) users who opted for such services did not witness any solid benefits, while some others asked for a refund but never got it.

Still, MonsterGulf.com acts as an indicator for what jobs are currently on demand in the Middle East region. It also indicates what salaries to expect.

Consider it if you are very desperate and willing to sell your sole to the devil. Else, run Forrest run.

Naukrigulf.com

Naukri.com is basically an online recruitment operating in India. (2 in a row, yes!)

In 2006 it launched a subsidiary (Naukrigulf) devoted mainly to the Arabian Gulf States market. It claims to have millions of CVs and thousands of fresh jobs offers.

Some registered users reported they did not get any benefits from the site’s online services.

With many jobs sites going out of business lately, it’s worth your time to check it out. BUT, I would not register there unless I was desperate!

Personal advice:

If you want a decent job, and not just any, then leaving CVs at the door is a definite NO. Also, you better read those horrible stories about fake agencies.

Update on October 2016:

GulfTalent published the results of their comprehensive jobs survey which found out the following:

  • Emirates Group and Unilever are the most popular employers for graduates in the UAE
  • ADNOC and Mubadala are the top choices for Emirati nationals
  • Interesting work, training and brand reputation are the key attractions for graduates when picking their employer of choice
  • Expatriate graduates expect to receive a starting salary of AED 9,000 per month, compared with AED 27,000 expectation of Emirati graduates from the same university

Most popular employers for UAE graduates

  1. Emirates Group
  2. Unilever
  3. Chalhoub Group
  4. GE
  5. Nestlé

A tip that may get you places. Make you name easier to pronounce

Having a more pronounceable name is more likely to win you friends and promotions in the workplace.

This is the result of a study by Dr Simon Laham (University of Melbourne) and Dr Adam Alter at the New York University Stern School of Business.

Both analyzed how the pronunciation of names can influence impression formation and decision-making.

They found the Name Pronunciation Effect happens when people with easy-to-pronounce names are evaluated more positively…

… while those with difficult-to-pronounce names get the hard shoulder.

I’ve met many Indian colleagues with hard to pronounce names. They worked the system by coming up with easy names for themselves.

If you are targeting the Gulf Region, you may consider that long name you have. Come up with a shorter version.

One more thing:

Hopefully, following my tips above will land you a good job offer eventually.

When that happens and you have an offer in hand, always remember to check out the company offering you this job at GlassDoor.com

Basically, this website publishes the dirty laundry that major companies are truing to hide.

Former employers pour their hearts out, spilling the beans about how each company looks from the inside.

There are many horror stories lurking in that website. Make sure you won’t become one of them.

On the other hand, if you were a victim of a Draconian manager, do tell. Share your experience so others won’t suffer as you did.

We all look after each other here, mate.

2 replies
  1. babar
    babar says:

    I have been getting personal calls from Monstergulf’s personnel to offers to push CVs writing & CV distribution services for $250.
    I am currently in a desperate state and need a job ASAP.
    do you think its feasible for me to pay for this service ?

    looking forward to you reply.

    Thx – B

    • Raouf
      Raouf says:

      Same thing happened to many of my colleagues, and some fell for it, with no tangible effect what so ever.

      My advice, run, run away from those cheeky offers!

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