+1 (347) 927-396

How to make money in Abu Dhabi?

Abu Dhabi, the capital and second most populous city in the United Arab Emirates, is one of the richest cities in the world. Known for its glittering skyscrapers, luxury hotels, and shopping malls, Abu Dhabi offers many well-paying job opportunities across sectors like oil and gas, financial services, tourism and hospitality.

How to make money in Abu Dhabi?

The cost of living in Abu Dhabi is high, but the salaries are also quite lucrative. Even if you have limited Arabic language skills, there are ways to earn good money in this cosmopolitan Middle Eastern city. This article offers tips, business ideas and job opportunities to help you make money in Abu Dhabi.

Job Opportunities in Abu Dhabi

Here are some of the top industries and roles that pay well in Abu Dhabi:

Banking and Finance

With many international banks and financial services companies based in Abu Dhabi, there are openings for various roles like relationship managers, analysts, compliance officers etc. The average salary of a bank manager is AED 50,000 per month.

Oil and Gas

Abu Dhabi has nearly 10% of the world’s proven oil reserves. Oil companies like ADNOC offer salaries starting from AED 15,000 for technical roles involving engineering, project management, supply chain etc.


There is great demand for doctors, nurses, technicians and other medical professionals in Abu Dhabi’s world-class hospitals and healthcare system. A specialist doctor can earn anywhere between AED 50,000 to AED 200,000 per month.

Teaching and Education

The requirement for English-medium schools and international schools is high. Subject teachers, especially for Math, Science and English can earn a monthly salary of AED 10,000 onwards.

Government Jobs

The government departments and ministries recruit candidates for technical and non-technical administrative roles regularly. These jobs pay very well and also offer additional benefits.

Tourism, Hospitality and Retail

With new hotels, resorts and malls opening every year, there are abundant job opportunities in the hospitality and retail sector. The salaries vary across designations but the average is around AED 7000 per month along with service charge and commissions.

Business Opportunities in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi welcomes innovation and offers an excellent ecosystem for entrepreneurs. Here are some top business ideas that can help you make good money:

Start an e-commerce business

With increasing internet and smartphone penetration, starting an online retail business focused on areas like electronics, fashion, home furnishings etc. can be lucrative. The Head of commercial department, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed issued Law No. (4) of 2020 Concerning Consumer Protection that encourages e-commerce business establishment.

Offer car rental services

Many expatriates prefer to rent rather than buy a car. Identify areas with migrant worker accommodations around the city and provide car rental services to them with pickup and drop facilities.

Food truck business

Register for required trade licenses to operate a mobile food truck business. Station your food truck around office areas, malls, or events happening in the city. Cater for the increasing demand for variety cuisines among expats and tourists.


With specialized skills like graphic designing, digital marketing, coding etc. you can offer freelance services to companies in Abu Dhabi. Use online platforms to find such gig opportunities.

Tour company

Consider starting an inbound tour operating company focused on Abu Dhabi’s key attractions like Ferrari World, Louvre Museum, Warner Bros. theme park etc. Offer bespoke holiday packages for tourists.

Finding Accommodation and Reducing Living Costs

Abu Dhabi has one of the most expensive rental markets in the world. Rental prices vary across different areas like Reem Island, Al Reef Downtown, Al Raha Beach etc. On average expect to spend 45-55% of your salary on housing. Here are some tips to save costs on accommodation and other expenses:

  • Look for shared housing and flat sharing options to split rent and utility bills
  • Search listings and contact agents well in advance before your relocation
  • Negotiate on rental prices if you sign a longer tenancy contract
  • Avoid staying close to prime areas like Corniche Road or Al Bateen
  • Use public transport like buses and metro to commute to work
  • Shop for grocery and other domestic needs in co-operative stores instead of luxe malls
  • Cook meals at home rather than eating out frequently
  • Avoid impulse shopping – make planned purchases during annual Shopping Festivals

Key Takeaways

Abu Dhabi offers lucrative earning potential for skilled professionals in diverse sectors. Before relocating, do extensive research about living costs, budget planning, accommodation options, job market etc. Be prepared for intense competition for well-paying roles. Develop relevant skills and expertise to strengthen your candidature. With proper planning, you can build a financially secure future while experiencing Abu Dhabi’s world-famous grandeur and magnificence.


Abu Dhabi’s rapid economic diversification initiatives coupled with its oil wealth and investment in futuristic megaprojects provide unique remunerative prospects. Jobs in thriving industries like financial services, healthcare, education, tourism offer salaries higher than global standards and optimal work-life balance. Additionally, Abu Dhabi welcomes entrepreneurial drive through business-friendly laws, localization policies as well as initiatives like Hub71 and Krypto Labs. By choosing the right career path aligned with your skills and being open to adapting to the local culture, you can achieve a superior standard of living in this wealthy emirate.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What documents do I need to work in Abu Dhabi?
A1: You will need a residence visa sponsored by your employer, labor card, Emirates ID, employment contract, educational/professional certificates attested by relevant authorities.

Q2. How much tax do I need to pay in Abu Dhabi?
A2. There is no personal income tax in Abu Dhabi or anywhere in the UAE currently.

Q3. Which sectors offer highest salaries jobs in Abu Dhabi?
A3. Oil and gas, banking and finance, medical and healthcare, higher education provide some of the highest paying jobs in Abu Dhabi.

Q4. What business license do I need to start a company in Abu Dhabi?
A4. To start a business in Abu Dhabi mainland you need to obtain a business license from the Department of Economic Development. For free zone companies, the respective free authorities issue the license.

Q5. How much can I earn working part-time while studying in Abu Dhabi?
A5. Students part-time wages start from AED 25 per hour for basic roles. But skilled roles like tutoring, freelancing etc. can fetch you over AED 50 per hour.

Q6. What is the average salary for engineers in Abu Dhabi?
A6. Engineers can expect an average starting salary between AED 15000 – 25000 per month. Highly skilled engineers with 10+ years experience can earn over AED 50,000 per month.

Q7. What benefits can I get along with my salary in Abu Dhabi?
A7. Along with competitive tax-free salaries, benefits include yearly air tickets, health insurance, paid leaves, children’s education allowance, yearly bonuses, phone/transport allowance etc.

Q8. How much money do I need per month to live comfortably in Abu Dhabi?
A8. You would need around AED 13000-15000 per month for a moderate standard of living as a couple excluding housing. For a luxury lifestyle budget around AED 25000-30000 all inclusive.

Q9. What currencies can I use and exchange in Abu Dhabi?
A9. The local currency is UAE Dirham (AED). US Dollars and Arab Emirates Dirhams are easily accepted and exchanged everywhere. You can also use credit cards freely.

Q10. How long does it take to start a business in Abu Dhabi?
A10. It takes 2-4 weeks on average to setup a mainland company and 1-2 weeks for free zone company registration in Abu Dhabi after submitting all documents and fees.

Q11. Do I need an Emirati partner to start a company in Abu Dhabi?
A11. No, 100% foreign business ownership is now allowed in Abu Dhabi mainland and free zones for most business activities. However for certain sectors like oil & gas, banking, medicines etc. you would need a local partner.

Q12. What kind of education and careers pay the most in Abu Dhabi?
A12. Jobs in energy, engineering, finance, healthcare, IT pay very lucratively in Abu Dhabi. Studying specialized courses in these domains can lead to highest paying careers.

Q13. I have limited Arabic skills. Can I still find a job easily?
A13. Yes, many multinationals and private companies encourage English fluency over Arabic. Focus on sectors like media, hospitality, healthcare etc. with high expat roles. Slowly learn basic Arabic for easier assimilation.

Q14. What accommodation options I can find on a budget in Abu Dhabi?
A14. You can find affordable shared flats and rooms in residential areas like Mussafah, Mohammed Bin Zayed City, Shahama etc. Further from city center but well connected by transport.

Q15. Is freelancing a feasible full-time career option in Abu Dhabi?
A15. Yes, Abu Dhabi has a thriving ecosystem for skilled independent consultants and freelancers, especially in areas like fintech, digital media, IT, education, creative industries etc.

Q16. What support does the government provide for starting a business in Abu Dhabi?
A16. Abu Dhabi provides extensive support for new businesses through investor-friendly visa reforms, subsidies, easier registration, ownership rights as well as incubators spaces like Hub71, Injazat etc.

Q17. I have a business idea but limited capital. What are my options?
A17. You can pitch to angel investors on sites like Eureeca. Government grants for citizens under Ghadan 21 stimulus program. Seek bank funding by developing robust business plans.

Q18. Can women easily find jobs and start businesses in Abu Dhabi?
A18. Yes, women participation in Abu Dhabi workforce has increased substantially with labor reforms focused on their empowerment, safety and equal opportunities.

Q19. I have a disability. Are there job opportunities for me?
A19. People of determination enjoy equal rights and the government encourages their recruitment through National Policy for Empowering Persons with Disabilities.

Q20. Where can I search for relevant job vacancies available in Abu Dhabi?
A20. Websites like, Monster Gulf, GulfTalent,Indeed Middle East provide extensive listings of latest job vacancies across sectors and companies in Abu Dhabi.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *