Friday, May 29, 2009

The Expat's Dream of Dubai is Dead, Can We Get a Little Reality Here?

So, I think that somehow people hear things on the news and fail to dig any deeper. I read articles about how the "Middle East" is fairly recession proof and wonder which Middle East they mean. And, people's ability to delude themselves simply astounds me. Let me give you an example. About a year or a year and a half ago, we posted a position on In the month that the position was open, we received about 150 resumes. Last month, we posted a similar position and received the same 150 ON THE FIRST DAY! A few weeks into the posting, we're sitting at 650+ applicants. Of the postings the first time, the majority were folks from outside the UAE looking for career opportunities and fame and fortune, or something like it. Now, the lion's share are from inside the UAE. They are people who had been working in banking and real estate and are now searching for positions as their employers lay off thousands.

And yet, for so many outside the UAE, they still harbor a romantic fantasy of Dubai. We had a fellow (American might I add) who applied. His last salary was listed as $8,000/month. He was looking to make $30,000/month. Hello... there's a recession going on here. And, he's not alone. people the world over are applying for our little job asking for salaries that are not only far beyond what they currently make, but are far beyond the market rate for their skills. I really don't get what bubble they live in. If you long to live in a locale, I would think you read about it, do research, and understand that the expat hardship package of the past has fallen on hard times as well. Gone are the days when a young person with one year of solid experience could dream of making $4,000/month PLUS housing and car. Okay, I'm not sure there ever WERE those days, but some people think there still are.

So, forgive me if I sound insensitive, but grow up. Dubai is a shadow of its former self. And while I'm sure it will bounce back, I doubt it will ever reach the heady go-go heights of 2007/8. If the Emiratis have sense (and I believe they do), I expect Dubai's return will be more grounded in reality and less over the top. So, for those from outside Dubai looking for that dream expat package, stay home. Your expectations aren't realistic and you are bound to be disappointed. While the opportunity to make a good life is definitely still there, the expat dream of tripling your salary is gone, and I think gone for good. If you're in it for the money, find a job at home. And if the jobs at home aren't thick on the ground, maybe that should be a sign in and of itself, no?

Happy dreams!


At 10:16 PM , Blogger Hatem Abunimeh said...

There is so much confusing information out there to the point where it becomes very difficult to sift through it and filter the useful from the not so useful. You hear that we are on our way to recovery, you hear that the market is out of its bearish status quo and heading higher by certain percentage, you hear that housing has almost hit bottom and it is leveling off, you hear new talk about starting the business of the derivatives again, you hear that the consumer confidence on the up swing. Yet, it the midst of all of these hopeful signs you hear that the biggest auto makers in the world are bank rupt, the unemployment is heading toward the up swing, poverty is increasing, banks are not lending, people are very worried about themselves and their off springs. so I really don't know what to make of all of this confusing information. Are we going to get better or are we going to have it worse before we will have it better as what Obama had said. It is really very confusing for me.

At 11:20 PM , Blogger UmmFarouq said...

If you guys are able to pay 30 K / month to anyone, just one question:

Where do I send my resume? And WHY weren't our baseball cupcakes decorated in gold leaf? Huh? Huh?

Seriously, good summation here. We have relatives in Dubai packing up soon and headed back "home," here, where all that glitters definitely isn't gold.

At 2:22 PM , Blogger Ali Dahmash said...

Hmm, the things I would do if we were in a better economy!

At 9:00 AM , Blogger MommaBean said...

Indeed Ali, you and me both. Although wht I really want to know is what happened to my reply to Umm F and Hatem? Went the way of the internet gremlins I guess...


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