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UAE

 
#1 UAE
14/04/2013 16:12

motherconsultant

Has anyone worked or moved to Abu Dhabi or Dubai with any Big 4? Or interviewed for the positions EY has advertised?

Interested to hear about consulting experience there. Salary expectations for a Manager level. What benefits are offered: is there a housing allowance, education allowance?

Thanks

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#2 RE: UAE
15/04/2013 16:03

marsday to motherconsultant (#1)

UAE is the sound Geordies make when agreeing on something :)

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#3 RE: UAE
15/04/2013 16:36

I to motherconsultant (#1)

From what I have heard, salaries in the Middle East depend on nationality.

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#4 RE: UAE
15/04/2013 17:36

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to I (#3)

It's all a bit far away for me really

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#5 RE: UAE
15/04/2013 17:39

marsday to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#4)

Just left of the middle is better. Still close to the middle but without either the hubub or liberal democrat overtones of being right in the middle east.

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#6 RE: UAE
16/04/2013 12:21

Charliefleabag to motherconsultant (#1)

Dubai is the best place if you want to have fun. Abu Dhabi is a bit more serious and Doha is seen as a bit boring (but growing and improving rapidly).

You will be expected to travel throughout the Middle East so Dubai is a good hub anyway.

Dunno about salaries - depends not just on nationality but also the sector. The tendency nowadays is to offer a gross salary that includes a housing allowance but not as big as pre-2008. I know financial services best and rates went through the floor in 2008 but are improving now. The native banks and sovereign wealth funds are growing rapidly and lack the infrastructure, people and processes to manage investments properly. Most of the western investment banks largely pulled out of the ME after 2008 so the native banks need to service the local sector.

I am visiting Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha in a few weeks so I will ask around.

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#7 RE: UAE
18/04/2013 15:20

I to Charliefleabag (#6)

I think the best places to make money (if that's what interests you most) are Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Dubai is far too expensive!

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#8 RE: UAE
18/04/2013 15:51

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to I (#7)

According to wikipedia, the coldest it's ever been in Dubai in August is 23.1 deg C!

Not bad!

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#9 RE: UAE
18/04/2013 16:16

Mr Cool to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#8)

True, but there are also days when is warmer there than on the planet Venus.

#factor50,000,000

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#10 RE: UAE
18/04/2013 22:00

motherconsultant to Charliefleabag (#6)

Good insight. Will be interested to hear more after your visit. Thanks

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#11 RE: UAE
19/04/2013 05:50

Intro to motherconsultant (#10)

Salaries are a but lower than UK (GBP10-20k) but overall package is higher due to housing allowance (big range but up to GBP40k depending on level). All tax free as well so works out significantly more attractive than Europe.

Would only consider Dubai and then Abu Dhabi as places to live. Consulting wages are enough to live in the popular areas of Dubai (Palm / Marina), becomes a bit trickier if coming with wife and kids and need a villa but still do-able.

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#12 RE: UAE
14/05/2013 19:22

Charliefleabag to motherconsultant (#10)

I promised to give a bit more insight after my Gulf trip so here it is...

I visited a combination of sovereign wealth funds, banks, financial authorities and an exchange in Dubai, Doha and Abu Dhabi so my advice is obviously skewed towards the financial services sector.

Basically, the good times are back. All the banks are posting big increases in profits and are seeing large capital inflows. Direct foreign investment is also increasing (including the buying of local equities). Some of the larger banks have hugely ambitious plans (mostly in Doha and Abu Dhabi) for both organic and inorganic growth. Organic growth will be mostly in the corporate banking and investment banking sectors as local retail banking has probably reached saturation point. There will be a flurry of new IPOs as governments privatise or float state owned companies and most of these IPOs will be given to local banks. Large companies in India and further east are considering IPOs in the Gulf region as there is more liquidity than back home. Inorganic growth comes from acquiring other banks in the MENA region such as Libya, Tunisia, Eqypt etc (QNB are doing this aggressively) so there will be plenty of integration problems and scope for a lot of consultancy. Abu Dhabi has just announced plans to create its own financial services centre to rival Dubai (on its own purpose-built island no less) and Saudi Arabia wants to build a financial services centre in Riyadh to eclipse them all. This has obviously set the cat amongst the pigeons (and has me rubbing my hands with glee). I was actually asked for a proposal on-the-spot by an Abu Dhabi bank (so I made up a number) which has never happened to me before. In London or New York, I often feel like I am trying to get blood from a stone and the big banks can take 12 months or longer to make a decision. It's a different world.

I met a few expats (Brits) who fled from London in the past few years and said they have never looked back. The bigger salaries are in the bigger banks and they pay much better than consultancies for roles of a similar seniority. It is also a question of lifestyle, e.g. short commute, short hours, jumping into the pool after work...

I am back in Dubai in 2 weeks time but I will also be visiting Riyadh so I will be able to give the perspective from Saudi Arabia.

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#13 RE: UAE
15/05/2013 06:17

Camster to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#8)

According to wikipedia, the coldest it's ever been in Dubai in August is 23.1 deg C!

Not bad!

Not true. Can't remember exact temperature, but it was down to about 5 degrees recently, when they had that cold snap in the ME, what with snow and all.

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#14 RE: UAE
15/05/2013 14:55

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to Camster (#13)

hmm wikipedia is so unreliable

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#15 RE: UAE
15/05/2013 20:03

Charliefleabag to Camster (#13)

It was 44 degrees in the shade at mid-day in Doha on Monday, 38 degrees in Dubai yesterday. Not good when you are wearing a suit and tie and your newly-arrived taxi driver drops you off at the wrong building in Doha (I had to walk for 20 mins in direct sunlight that was nearing 50 degrees). I looked a complete mess when I turned up for my meeting. On the plus side I probably shed a few pounds.

December can hover at around 20 degrees during daytime give or take a few degrees and it can fall to about 12 degrees at night-time. It often rains (and can snow) in the mountains bordering Oman.

I touched down at Newcastle airport today and was met with rain, wind and a scorching temperature of 4 degrees. I was tempted to get the next flight out of there.

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#16 RE: UAE
15/05/2013 20:33

Charliefleabag to motherconsultant (#1)

Oh, in response to the original post including education allowances etc., you will get a better deal in Abu Dhabi or Doha. I have 2 kids aged 8 and 11 and if I decided to move to the Gulf region, I would choose Abu Dhabi. It is quieter than Dubai, has fewer traffic problems and generally feels more laid-back and family-friendly. However, I travel a lot so my idea of having a good time is to muck about in the back garden with the kids. If I was young, free and single I would go for Dubai.

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#17 RE: UAE
16/05/2013 06:13

Camster to Charliefleabag (#16)

Well said, Charlie! I concur. Abu Dhabi is better if you have a family and want something "quieter" and more family-oriented.

To add on from what was said above, nationality and "skin colour" definitely affects your salary, standing in society, etc. I am a mongrel and unlike my siblings, am browned skin (brown sheep - lol!). Every time I go through DXB, even this is an excruciating ordeal.

I don't expect this to be an issue with the Big 4 and other "proper" outfits, but keep in mind that outside of work (sometimes inside work even), it is different.

I don't know what the Big 4 offers, but you really need to factor in housing, education, etc. Here's the offer I had from a niche firm some time back:

Education: No kids, so didn't have this, didn't ask about this.

Housing: Housing is rather "expensive" in Dubai. I always look at the 10k a month figure as a benchmark. So, 120k pa for housing allowance. Though you might want to up this for a family. And see if you can get the firm to pay upfront.

Car: You need one. They should provide. But I don't know about Big 4.

Medical: You need to sort this out, especially if you have young children (from your username). The doctors in Dubai are horrible!

All-in-all, your experience with Dubai will depend on your "skin colour". Unfortunately, this is true. I have a few good mates from university days. Two of them (Caucasian and British) are rather happy. The other (Chindian), despite being quite high up at the world's local bank, is not particularly happy. Then, there is "nationality", e.g. people from CEE are are held in lower esteem.

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#18 RE: UAE
16/05/2013 06:16

Camster to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#14)

BEP,

Sorry mate, I was wrong. Didn't see 'August' in there. It was a rather "strange" last winter though, with snow in Jerusalem, etc. I remember a friend posting on FB that it was 5 degrees in Abu Dhabi then.

So, 23.1C might very well be the coldest in August - lol.

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