Salaries in Dubai


What sort of salaries do architects get in Dubai?

Apr 21, 06 4:49 pm

3 Featured Comments

All 63 Comments

sporadic supernova


where are you from ..?
what's the lettering on your passport ..?
what race do you belong to ..?
where did you study/graduate from ..?
how much experience do you have ..? (actually .. that's not too inportant.. but the rest are ..)

Apr 23, 06 12:47 am
sporadic supernova

* important

Apr 23, 06 12:47 am

ok, I'll play...

From? Chicago, Miami

Passport? USA

Race? Caucasian

Graduate? UFlorida

Experience? 1 year

SO supernova, what'll they pay me?

Apr 23, 06 4:08 pm

I've worked in Dubai for a couple of years (between 99 and 01) and from the information you gave I can say that you can make anyware between US$2500-3500/month.

Supernova forgot to mention that it also depends on the kind of company you'll be working for: local, foreign, multi-national, mixed, big, small.. etc.

Apr 23, 06 5:34 pm

that doesn't seem like very much. at all.

Apr 23, 06 6:32 pm
sporadic supernova

mmm ... things looks good for you AP ...

By my estimates.. you should get between $4500 - $5500 . At least in my firm that's what you would get. but my firm is a big multi-national (thanks frozenmusic) and are generally good paymasters. but i've heard of some firms paying upto $7000/- for someone with your experience... but thats rare

the salary that frozenmusic mentioned would be applicable for local firms, I wouldnt know coz i never applied to any of the local firms.

they money is actually good. what you dont realize is that by local rates ... it would go a long way. you can actually have a blast

Apr 24, 06 1:19 am

another thing to take note: you don't pay taxes in dubai. at least that's what i understand from my friends who live there (they're not UAE citizens). that makes a huge difference too.

Apr 24, 06 2:43 am
sporadic supernova

yeah thats true ... no tax ..

but they do disguise in other terms ...
eg; .. no housing "tax" .. but housing "fees" ..

but it wont hurt you like taxes would ...

Apr 24, 06 2:59 am
sporadic supernova

yeah thats true ... no tax ..

but they do disguise in other terms ...
eg; .. no housing "tax" .. but housing "fees" ..

but it wont hurt you like taxes would ...

Apr 24, 06 2:59 am

that sounds more financially lucrative...maybe something to consider to pre-pay impending grad school debt...

Apr 24, 06 9:41 am

I've heard that some firms provide housing in addition to a salary. Is that true?

Apr 24, 06 9:57 am

As far as I know that's true for construction companies who hire architects among others (possibly as project/construction managers) or architecture practices owned by or a part of a larger construction group. However, I've heard of managers in some architecture firms being offered nice villas to live in with their families and in some cases even a car..

Apr 24, 06 4:44 pm

What would be some examples of firms and construction companies that are offering great pay [5500-7000] per month and living accomidations.

Apr 24, 06 5:14 pm

i'd like to know what that salary is relative to, how does it compare to the cost of living? $5500-7000/month is good money, but that can mean so many different things. $7000/month in NY is different than $7k/month in billings which is different than $7000/month in dubai.

although i guess this all goes out the window if they're paying for housing/car. still, what the cost of living?

Apr 24, 06 7:12 pm
sporadic supernova

Well, there are firms that do offer you a place to stay .. but you have to be very assertive about it during the initial negotiation.

normally, people who gets an external contract ( ie; hired from another country but working in dubai) do get nice villas to stay in and usually even a car .... the streets are filled with people driving SUVs, Porches, ferraris and jaguars. all on company account .

a low end Studio flat (mine) would cost you around $1000/month + electricity + water .. its not too bad if you get a decent salary, but the prices are on the rise like crazy !! .. and nowadays it's fashionable to complain about the escalating costs and how thing are not how they used to be !! .. :)

Apr 25, 06 5:54 am

Hopefully you'll earn more than the migrant construction workers: $4 per day.

Read more

Apr 25, 06 7:05 am

Hey SS,

What do you suggest as the best way to start looking for positions in Dubai? Is there a good website where jobs are posted or anywhere that has a list of firms that have offices in the city?

Apr 27, 06 9:56 am
sporadic supernova

hmm ... havent really seen any that lists all the firms that have offices in the city ... but for job listings you could check out the "appointments pages" in

May 3, 06 12:51 am

well infos have any idea about interior designers like how much they can get ? :)

May 4, 06 6:07 am

hey guys

if you don't mind i'd like to probe all of you for some information and play the same game everyone else is playing. how much would an architect make in dubai?

from: chicago
passport: usa
education: university of illinois Bach, March. MSCE
nationality: american
ethnicity: chinese
experience: 2 years, high rise residential

The reason i'm asking is because i've heard rumors that there are some in dubai who establish their salary rates more on ethnicity(the way you look) than on merit. As american who is asian, will i be treated differently than other americans? And if this is true about dubai, how prevalant is it?

thank you.

Jun 23, 07 5:05 pm
Featured Comment

Having worked in Dubai for almost a year, here are my thoughts.

I am an Australian architect


1-2 years experience you are looking at about $2500-$4000 in a foreign office. I have 6 years post grad experience and I was on $6500. I was offered another job at $7500. If you go for more 'design' firms then this is what you are looking at. If you go for construction firms and the like you may get a bit more. 'Local' companies won't pay as much as foreign ones.

Your salary will really depend on your bargaining power. You can get shafted really easily. Some skills; 3D work, presentation goes along way as there is allot of front end work done over there. So if you are good with 3D then you could get a pretty good salary. Salaries do vary allot so ask for as much as possible.

Very few people, unless you are senior get accommodation. Maybe a hotel for a few weeks. They don't really do that anymore....


This is not really a problem if you have graduated from US, Europe, Aus. regardless of your skin colour. I believe if you have a good folio and speak fairly articulately you will be fine. It is only the shopkeepers, construction workers, cooks from asia that get scraps

Living costs

Rental costs are high, hard to get a place and you have to pay at least 1/4 to 1/2 of a years rent upfront. A one bedroom apartment was $1800/m including bills. sharing is cheaper, up to you. Go to
You will need a car. Buy or lease ($700/m)
Entertainment costs are high - $6-8 for a drink. If you are on less than $3000/m you would be much better off in the US


No tax....for most. I was told that US citizens have to pay 20% back home. You need to check this. I think it is true.


I would go directly to the firms and send your cv. They recruit allot from the UK say try some employment agencies there. It can be hard finding who actually works there; your best bet is word of mouth.

here are some of the better foreign practices:

woodsbagot (my office)
cox richardson
Atkins - do some good work but commercial rubish mainly
Norr Group

there are a few more but they are just setting up and hard to find. You will have to hunt them down somehow. Look for buildings that interest you and try try hunt down the office. Allot of the interesting stuff is done offshore and shipped out to Dubai.

hope this helps

Jun 24, 07 10:43 am

Great to read this I have been recently approached by a former colleague of mine which is on his own in Dubai. I have done some consulting (moonlighting) on the side for him in the past, so I know the work he does is not commercial "rubbish".
What concearns me most is safety, cost of living/ taxes back in the US *(earning money abroad). I'm looking at roughly 140k/yr and by the sounds of it, it's enough.
I've asked before...but as a naive american, I've heard that Dubai is extremely safe...but I've also read about the massive ammounts of low paid workers and how some can lean towards the extreme side of things.
Other questions: Do you need a car? is driving around safe? do I need a visa to work there? medical insurance/coverage-health system? etc...

Jun 25, 07 3:31 pm

J3.....I just want to know do they hire Old work in Dabai?

Jun 25, 07 5:27 pm

what? who's an old fart?

Jun 25, 07 6:47 pm

Have drawn on linen
Have drawn on vellum
have drawn on bum wad
Have drawn on mylar
Have done pin bar overlay
Have worked on a 286 computer (so I know what regen means)
Have worked on Autocad 2007
Have Wife and Dogs to I need to work for more than food.

Plus: I know how to finish concrete

are they hiring old farts?

Jun 25, 07 7:01 pm

the only thing that can harm you in Dubai is loosing your car in the carpark with your groceries in hand in summer. That, I found was a very harrowing experience! :-)

Very safe

need visa

insurance usually covered by employer

You need a car. There is a train being built but it is a year or so off.

Old farts are in high demand!

Jun 25, 07 10:35 pm
Featured Comment

Traffic in Dubai is hell. It's actually a bit of a clusterfuck. Parking is truly a pain and there is no true downtown urban experience. You need a car to get anywhere and you'll get stuck for miles. And their new high speed metro isn't going to be in service until about 2014.

Other than that, people there are pretty nice generally. It's a safe place with an extremely strict legal infrastructure. Therefore, there isn't any rampant crime at all, only the normal stuff you can expect from a big metropolitan area and even that doesn't compare. As a matter of fact, the only thing I usually hear about in terms of crime is a few organized crime cases.

In terms of salaries, you'll get a little more in Dubai or about the same. It really depends on your credentials and experience. But most places that were interested in hiring me there were offering significantly more than I would be making in say, Washington DC. It's music to their ears when you tell them you've had your training in America. Trust me. But as architecture firms, the local firms do things way differently. They are usually consultant firms who have a division for architecture, for lighting, and for all the other specialties.

Also you will never see a more diverse place there. Arabic of course is the main language, but since there are so many people, most people speak English. I would even go so far as to say that you can get by there for years without a word of Arabic.

Dubai is a decent city, but it will take a while before it can be a great city. Right now, there is no true identity, and there are many pending problems that people aren't really addressing. I decided to stay in the states because it's a better fit for me right now. It's too hot and I didn't want to drop off the face of the planet and be far from the fam.

But I've been back and fourth from there since I was little (in the 80s). So if you have any questions about it, please let me know.

Jun 26, 07 12:41 pm
The Thriller in Manila

Are your chances less if your black? (American and educated in the US)

May 15, 08 4:04 pm

Aedas have a lot of work out there (they are doing the metro, and pentominium tower among others).

Remember also that the working week, at least in the Dubai office of my firm, is 47.5 hours. Apparently it was 50, but we are nice guys and cut it to 47.5. That is the standard. Expect to work longer hours still.

Realise that while there is little crime, and no tax, there is also very little in the way of legal protection. If the guy tells you he's keeping your deposit, he is keeping your deposit. If they tell you your job is over, your job is over.

May 15, 08 5:52 pm


the Metro will be running by Sept. 2009, not 2014.

working week for most 'western based' firms is about 42 hrs/week.

there is SO much work that even an "old fart" could find work.

May 15, 08 9:58 pm

i think there are a lot of opportunities for old farts with CA experience since so many people seem to be needed on site during construction from the architect's office.... it seems like my firm has a whole army of people who are only doing CA work

May 26, 08 10:26 pm

what are the requirements to get an arc license there?

May 30, 08 1:18 pm

I've heard that in Dubai an architect from a big project like skyscraper like burj Al Arab , trum tower take 1000000/1500000$ to sometimes 2000000$ but from what i can read the salaries are not very big i think in europe you can get more 

Feb 14, 12 11:02 am


I would like to know the average salary per month in Dubai for a fresh grad 

Dec 29, 16 11:23 am

Damn, is google broken again?

Dec 29, 16 11:56 am
architectlegacy's comment has been hidden

am an architect, please want to know about effective freelance websites, for architects and building services.


Jan 2, 17 8:48 am

there you go arch..acy

Jan 2, 17 10:08 am

Fresh Grad = 0-1 year experience

AED10-15k/month: if you're from the West (US, Europe, Australia, etc.)

AED 8-10k/month: if you're not.

Jan 2, 17 10:44 pm
Non Sequitur
Three cheers for slavery and backward cultures!
Jan 2, 17 11:11 pm

Yeah let's all go and contribute to work in cuntries (unintentional but fitting typing error) that kill gays, blasfemists and jail women who get raped...

Jan 3, 17 3:28 am

Hi people. I need one information, if anyone have a little bit of his time.

I'm architect and I working right now in Austria. I'm considering to change place and job and I would like to get some information about salary in Dubai, what is the situation for Architects,...?

Best Regards,


Feb 20, 17 9:53 am
Non Sequitur

See above comments about slavery and penises.

Feb 20, 17 4:46 pm
Featured Comment

I worked in Dubai and the salaries for western architects range like crazy, mainly because you are competing with people who are willing to work for 1/5th from Asian countries. I know many who are working in Dubai making less than they would in the states, but the states would pay significantly more than in Europe due to the saturation of architects in Europe.

Fresh out of my bachelors in the states I worked in Dubai for $78k USD a year, and then switched to work as a personal designer for $90k a year... but that was short lived and the oil prices sort of killed any nice salaries for designers remaining. I don't know anyone with my lack of experience making similar. I know people I graduated with who have now masters degrees, are american and are working in Dubai now for only $40k. (which is stupid as the cost of living is more than New York)

The economy in Dubai is not doing well. Also some advice, you cannot trust the word of anyone in Dubai, no one, you cannot trust one thing anyone there tells you. So if you think you have some offer and plan to head over, get an official document and an official contract, everyone their will string you along and lie to your face over every single thing, for things there is no reason to lie for.

If you are not making at least 20k AED a month in Dubai it isn't worth going, you won't be able to afford a decent life.

Feb 24, 17 9:44 am

20K is pushing it, 15K is a more reasonable bench mark for a younger architect with 1-3 years experience.

Keep in mind that all of that money is tax free (as long as you're below about 100k/year) so a AED 20k/month job is $65k/year.  You'd have to make approximately $90k/year in the US to have a tax adjusted take-home-income of 65k; which doesn't sound realistic for a 1-3 year experience architect.....

I don't know what the situation or standard is in Austria, but typically speaking, European Architects are paid between 14k-25k/month with average experience (3-5 years).  The pay differs between European countries since the supply from some has sky-rocketed in the past years, effectively driving the market value down for some countries suffering from unemployment.  Generally speaking; UK, Germany, and Scandinavia Architects get paid significantly more than Spain, Italy, Greece and other Southern European Architects suffering from high unemployment rates.  

It's basic supply/demand.  It's much more expensive to convince someone to leave their life in Berlin or London to come to Dubai, than to convince someone in Athens or Rome who basically doesn't have a job anyway.  Higher supply - lower wages.  Lower supply - higher wages.

I don't know where Austria falls in to this formula, but I assume it'd be like Germany.

Don't accept anything less than 15K.  15 is a good starting point, 20 is pushing it, you'll be making 25-30k/month ($80-100k/year) in 2-3 years anyway if you're good and stick it out; and it's all tax-free.

Feb 26, 17 2:26 am
Non Sequitur
But you have to support a piss poor culture and Slavery.

Hard pass.
Feb 26, 17 6:35 am

"Piss poor culture" Wow, have you ever been to Dubai? The one good thing it has going for itself is the melting pot of cultures from around the world (not just Asia).

Slavery, yes and its rather difficult to see, but that is the reality of most workers from South-East Asia. Starve back home, or be slaves and send money to family for daily needs...


It's not a melting pot at all , it's segregated to the bone and even has its own concentration camps for the workers.


Have you ever been, or are you feeding on armchair activism and VICE news? I think its the latter.

Non Sequitur
Feb 27, 17 7:45 am

I would say anyone that states Dubai has culture has never lived in a city with culture, this is a place that culture means a shopping mall with an H&M. The Culture is the culture of Paris Hilton wannabe's - it is a city of image, Vegas without the drugs... it is fun for a few months, but anyone with any depth of character can't stomach it much longer... Dubai is skin deep and filled with people who peaked in High School trying to feel popular again in their 40s.... yes it has people from many countries but their are all the same "type" of trash and shallowness. The benefit of Dubai is its location, Oman is beautiful, you are aquick flight from India and most of Africa, it is a fantastic place to travel from... but again if you are only making 15k AED a month you will have NO MONEY TO TRAVEL.... Dubai is crazy expensive... because those in healthcare, law, and finance are making many times more then they would make in America while those in architecture are making sometimes less then what they would make in America...

And yes there is slavery, there is racism, there is caste system - its government and the emirati people may have a good PR team, but this PR team is literally selling slavery as a place of luxury.

Anyways my 2 years there were fun (and for me it seems I made almost double what you can expect to make), and I don't regret it, but my god I would be on anti-depressants if I didn't get the fuck out.

Feb 27, 17 9:54 am

Yes Medians, 2 years is probably the max anyone can stay there. However a lot of american posters on this forum have never been outside of the US or Europe and will never be able to understand why people still move there despite the crap conditions.


$4000 for young architect is pretty good, but I guess not easy to get job in dubai? also probably need perfect speak english and I'm not :D

Feb 28, 17 6:03 am

Im currious to know if you guys who have worked or are working in Dubai could see a newly graduated Danish Architect in an architecture office in Dubai?

Mar 1, 17 3:00 pm

Why would you even want to contribute to that islamofascist regime? What's wrong with people?

Mar 1, 17 3:09 pm
Non Sequitur

People don't want to understand reality. They just see big shiny towers and celebrity tweets.


Islamo-fascist? I bet you are American. Why are you still contributing to the Trumpofascism?


Yes, islamofascist. It's a proper islamic dictatorship, only tolerated because of their oil wealth. There's no free press, plenty of (racist) slavery, homosexuality is a deadly sin, rape victims are considered adulterers and prosecuted as such, the universal declaration of human rights (u-n-i-v-e-r-s-a-l) is not recognised over the Sharia. But keep kidding yourself and bury your head in the sand. I'm European by the way, not that it matters in identifying an islamofascist regime when I see one.


Sounds alot like Singapore...a well disguised developed country with shitty ass backward h uman rights mentality.


Singapore is much better than Dubai. People do have SOME rights.

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