Work in the Land of Endless Summer – UAE
An inspirational conversation with a woman who, following her heart, decided to abandon her current lifestyle and not knowing what would happen, she packed her bags and spent 4 years in Arab land. Our first interlocutor is Natalia Klubko, a passionate and creative person, the author of the blog about professional changes. Today she tells a story about how her adventure with the Emirates began, how the labor market looks, the approach to women and what to look for when looking for work. Despite the unfavorable and truly winter aura, let’s move our thoughts to the land of eternal summer.
The decision and the beginning of the adventure in the Emirates
Natalia, tell me, where does the idea of emigration to the United Arab Emirates come from and why is this country?
I should be honest with you and admit that the idea of traveling to the United Arab Emirates was not mine, but my husband. Having received an interesting job as an engineer in Dubai, we agreed that he would leave first, and in a year I will go and then we will decide what we will do next.
So, answering your question, where did the idea come from, and why this country. Maybe I went there for my own love. And, besides, it was luck, spontaneity and the desire to experience adventure. After graduation, we were quite young, so we did not interfere with any commitments, loans or children. Moreover, in retrospect, we are very pleased with the decision and the way our professional life developed.
How do you feel, does not knowledge of Arabic affect the work in the country with a completely different culture, specifics and a completely different climate?
You do not feel that you are from another country. This is not perceived as a “stranger” or an immigrant, because 83% of the population of the UAE are people of different origins. Moreover, we have many friends of our compatriots, with whom we spend time and keep in touch. According to statistics, there are about 2000 Ukrainians in the Emirates, that’s why we are not alone here. When it comes to climate, you can quickly get used to the constant sunny weather. The weekend spent on the beach reminds shorter holidays than the need to remain in exile.
How did your beginnings in the Emirates look like? Was the longing for loved ones?
My beginning in the Emirates was very rich. The days passed in visiting new interesting places and spending time on the beach. Of course, between these festive moments, I was looking for work quite intensively, which was difficult, because I did not know the market and did not know what to expect or what I would face. However, to my surprise, I got a job pretty quickly, somewhere in about two months of careful searching and visiting companies. But you have to be careful, because there are so many unreliable employers. It’s better to deal with recruitment companies, they work with trusted employers and can guarantee your employment. When my husband came here, and then I came, then the recruiting companies were very small for the UAE.
You asked me if I yearn for my relatives. After a while, it’s impossible to hide this longing here. However, at the present time, when communication with relatives is made easier thanks to technology and Skype, it is easy to relieve the pain and calm the heart, which is shaking with longing for family, friends and the motherland.
Working conditions in the UAE
Now let’s get down to the working questions. How did you find work? Are there any significant differences compared to finding a job in Ukraine?
I think that there are no significant differences in the search for work in Ukraine and the Emirates at least I did not notice. When I started looking for a job in Dubai, I used the same methods as in Ukraine. I used portals with job offers and sent CVs to recruitment agencies.
A good solution is also to establish contacts with employment agencies, whose specialists help candidates discuss financial conditions and control the formalities associated with employment (for example, the organization of a visa or a contract), which is very useful for those who first go to this country. At the moment, the possibility of using a list of recruitment agencies in Dubai will be a good start for people to seek their professional path in the Emirates.
What does your normal working day look like? Are there any differences?
I believe that my days spent at work do not differ from typical work as a specialist in personnel in our country.
However, I can describe the differences that I noticed in the business environment. Of course, as the first difference, I can mention a less emphasis on official documentation, which translates to a lower level of labor-intensive bureaucracy. From the point of view of a person working in human resources, there are many smaller formalities related to hiring employees or calculating. In connection with the dynamic development of the country, the goal is to simplify the system, which is efficient, fast and practical. Moreover, it is a relatively young country, so it is not tainted with excessive and outdated procedures that are difficult to change and simplify.
Another difference that can be found in a professional environment is the fact that people professing Islam have an extra break during working hours (in addition to the lunch break) that they devote to prayer in specially designated places. This is important for the followers of this religion, because one of the principles of a Muslim is five times prayer during the day, and the companies they work on admit it.
It is also worth mentioning the system of reduced working hours per month, in which Ramadan is an Islamic holiday. Then everyone, regardless of their religion, works 2 hours less for about 30 days.