Expat women in UAE learning to deal with employment challenges

Published:  8 Aug at 6 PM
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Trailing spouses in the UAE are finding work and learning to adapt to a new style of professional challenge.

Whilst taking an executive job in the UAE is the dream of many professional men looking to further their careers and secure their financial futures, for many of their wives the move can become a nightmare. Trailing spouses used to working for a living and forced to put a hold on their own careers are often left wondering why they came.

Even with the compulsory trappings of life in the UAE such as a live-in maid, child care and a driver, most expat women who do manage to find a suitable job are hard put to adjust to the difference in working conditions and culture along with a new home environment. Finding work as a single woman is even more tricky, due to the prevailing male-dominated business culture and visa problems.

The innovations of flexible working hours along with work-at-home opportunities are easing the strain for many working expat women, although persuading an employer to take them on in the first place is a challenge few enjoy. When switching jobs, most women prefer not to shift to their husbands’ visas, which can cause problems as regards perks and benefits.

As a result, many women take on positions lower than their qualifications, with teaching and admin both popular options which present few challenges. Experienced executive-level women find it hard to get employment, as do female engineers, but there are now signs that the emirates may be moving towards the 21st century global trend of top positions for women in certain sectors.
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