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Are Americans Paid More in Dubai?

Some Americans are paid more in Dubai, while some aren’t. The factors influencing the salaries of Americans in Dubai include the employee’s profession, education, and experience, but the lower cost of living makes Dubai a cheaper place to live in compared to the United States (US).

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Are you an American planning to work in Dubai? The first things you’d want to know before moving to Dubai are how much salary you need for relocation and what its law says about expats. Comparing the pros and cons of working in each place will also help you choose the most suitable place to work in.

As an insurance broker that has been helping American expats move to Dubai for over 20 years, Pacific Prime has compiled information on the emirate’s salaries, wages, and cost of living in this article to help you make an informed decision before moving to the gem of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Are you ready to get coverage for your medical expenses in Dubai? Receive an obligation-free plan comparison service and a free quote from Pacific Prime today!

What Is the Difference Between Salaries and Wages?

Dubai Skyline Pool, UAE

A salary refers to a fixed amount of money paid to an employee per pay period, while a wage is an amount of money paid per hour. In other words, a salaried person’s pay remains consistent regardless of the hours worked, and they don’t receive additional compensation for working overtime.

A person receiving a salary is typically paid on a designated date as the calculation of their pay is straightforward for the payroll staff, but a person who receives a wage is usually paid before the pay date since their working hours may vary, making it harder for the staff to calculate their pay.

Are There Minimum Wages in Dubai?

Dubai doesn’t have minimums for wages, but they have minimum salaries. This grants employers the freedom to determine what they consider fair compensation for work, resulting in high-paying jobs, especially in thriving sectors like hospitality, as well as low-paying jobs like manufacturing roles.

In 2013, the Ministry of Labor in the UAE established three regulations for minimum salaries to identify the groups of workers who are eligible for these minimum salaries. The regulations are as follows:

Group of People Minimum Monthly Salary (AED)
University graduates 12,000 (approximately USD $3,270)
Skilled technicians 7,000 (~USD $1,910)
Skilled laborers with secondary school certificates 5,000 (~USD $1,360)

What Is the Average Salary for Americans in Dubai?

Palm Jumeirah Dubai Waterscape

The average monthly salary of employees in Dubai is AED 21,500 (~USD $5,855), which is 6.4% less than the average salary of employees in the US who earn USD $6,228 (~AED 22,870) each month. Since Dubai is less expensive than the US, the difference in salary balances out with the expenses.

According to the statistics from a consultant agency Salary Explorer, your salary as an American expat in Dubai may vary depending on your profession, the level of education you have, and your experience in the industry.

Does My Profession Affect My Salary in Dubai?

Your salary in Dubai is determined by your profession. For example, technicians in Dubai typically earn an average monthly salary of AED 8,500 (approximately USD $2,315), while lawyers can earn as much as AED 80,000 (~USD $21,785) on average.

Certain professions in Dubai earn lower salaries than their counterparts in the US, while others enjoy higher compensation. Please see the table below for a detailed comparison of average salaries of popular professions in Dubai and the US:

Profession Average Monthly Salary in Dubai (AED) Average Monthly Salary in the US (USD)
Chef 98,000

(~USD $26,685)

Lawyer 80,000

(~USD $21,785)

Physical Therapist 64,000

(~USD $17,430)

Doctor 61,700

(~USD $16,800)

Investment Banker 43,955

(~USD $11,970)

Airline Pilot 43,000

(~USD $11,710)

Marketing Manager 42,000

(~USD $11,440)

Human Resources 28,000

(~USD $7,625)

Fashion Designer 27,500

(~USD $7,490)

Software Engineer 23,095

(~USD $6,290)

Content Writer 22,500

(~USD $6,130)

Teacher 18,000

(~USD $4,900)

Graphic Designer 15,200

(~USD $4,140)

Accountant 10,500

(~USD $2,860)

Technician 8,500

(~USD $2,315)


Please note that the salaries presented in the above table are average figures compiled by Glassdoor. These figures may vary based on the number of salaries reported to the website, and actual salaries may differ, either being higher or lower.

Does My Education Level Affect My Salary in Dubai?

Your education level can significantly impact your salary as an American expat in Dubai. Like in many places around the worls, higher levels of education are generally associated with higher earning potential. This is often applied across various professions and industries.

The table below shows the difference in income among employees who have the same amount of work experience but different levels of education in Dubai:

Education Level Increase in Salary Compared to the Previous Education Level
High school 0%
Certificate or diploma 17%
Bachelor’s Degree 24%
Master’s Degree 29%
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) 23%

Source: Time Doctor

Does My Experience Affect My Salary in Dubai?

Your work experience is another factor that determines your salary in Dubai. According to a salary comparison website Salary Explorer, an individual’s basic salary tends to double upon reaching the ten-year mark of professional experience.

The table below illustrates the percentage increase in average salary for a different range of year of experience from zero to over 20 years:

Years of Experience Increase in Salary per Year Range
0-1 0%
2-5 32%
5-10 36%
10-15 21%
15-20 14%

Source: Salary Explorer

Will Americans Receive Any Employee Benefits in Dubai?

Dubai Marina Sign With Dolphin Statue

The UAE’s labor law mandates employers in Dubai to provide all employees with benefits, including paid annual leave, medical coverage, and gratuity, as the emirate doesn’t have a set minimum wage. Companies in Dubai normally provide additional benefits to attract and retain highly-skilled employees.

Here are some of the employee benefits that are usually provided for employees, including American expats, in Dubai:

  • Paid annual leave: Offer 21 days of paid annual leave for the first year and increase it to 30 days for subsequent years of employment with the company
  • Travel expenses: Employers must ensure all employees receive a return flight to their home country upon completion of their employment contract
  • Medical insurance: Provide employees with medical insurance upon passing their probationary period
  • End-of-service gratuity: Provide employees with end-of-service compensation upon completing the terms of their contract with the amount not exceeding the equivalent of their 24 months’ salary

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Americans paid more in Dubai?

Americans aren’t necessarily paid more in Dubai. While some individuals may receive higher salaries due to their expertise, it varies based on the industries of their professions, education levels, work experience, as well as how they negotiate with their employers.

Are there certain industries that pay more in Dubai?

Rapidly growing industries such as technology, hospitality, and healthcare often offer higher salaries to American and international professionals in Dubai because of the high demand for their skills in these sectors.

Do Americans in Dubai receive additional benefits?

Like employees of other nationalities, Americans in Dubai are guaranteed to receive benefits such as paid annual leave, medical coverage, and gratuity because the UAE’s labor law requires employers to provide their employees with such benefits.

Does Dubai have tax-free salaries?

Dubai stands out as a tax haven with no income tax, capital gains tax, sales tax, federal tax, corporate tax, and income withholding for individuals. This favorable tax environment makes Dubai an attractive destination for expatriates globally.


Your salary as an American expat in Dubai may be higher or lower than in the US depending on factors such as your area of professions, education level, and work experience. As Dubai doesn’t enforce minimum wages, employers are required to provide their employees with several benefits instead.

If you’re planning to work in Dubai, a comprehensive health insurance plan will ensure that you have everything covered in addition to the coverage provided by your employer, regardless of whether you’d like to secure international or expat health insurance for yourself or your family.

With over two decades of experience in the insurance industry, Pacific Prime can offer you an opportunity to customize a policy that aligns with your needs and budget like no other. You can also benefit from our exhaustive services at no extra cost compared to approaching an insurer directly.

Contact our team of insurance experts for a FREE quote and an obligation-free plan comparison service today!

Content Writer at Pacific Prime Thailand
Natthachamon Suthana Komalrachun is a Content Writer with a strong passion in creative writing and marketing communications. Working with the team of experienced creators at Pacific Prime, she aims to use the magic of communication to simplify insurance and enchant every reader in our diverse society where insurance and employee benefits act as a life and financial stronghold for everyone—individuals and businesses alike.

After graduating at the top of her class and earning her Bachelor’s Degree in English from Thammasat University, Natthachamon has been practicing her writing skills and making education more easily accessible for Thai children as an Educational Content Creator and English Curriculum Developer for various educational facilities and organizations across the country.

Natthachamon is also a mother of two cats, a board game enthusiast, and a big bookworm who enjoys everything and anything sweet.
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