A Place In The Sun

Why work in the Middle East? Well, for a start, there are employers that desperately want YOU: the explosion of airlines, airports, business aviation and support sectors such as maintenance and training means there is a shortage of experienced pilots, engineers, air traffic controllers, instructors and managers.



The rewards are tempting - with most tax-free packages including housing, health and schooling allowances. And the lifestyle is good - although far from homogenous, ranging from cosmopolitan, commercial­ised and easy-going Dubai to ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia.

This feature looks at what it is like to work in the region and talks to many of the companies seeking staff. There are interviews with expatriates who have made the Gulf their home, as well as advice on adjusting to a new way of life and finding the job that best suits you.

Overview - Working in the Gulf

To say the Middle East is undergoing a boom would be a feeble understatement. Much of Dubai is one big construction site, with cranes, half-built skyscrapers and dug-up roads as it races headlong in its bid tobecome a global city: a crossroads of commerce and a leisure paradise of theme parks, man-made islands shaped like the world and arguably the most iconic hotel anywhere.

Countries in focus


Jordan is working hard to develop a solid aerospace industry and is attracting investors from all over the world

Saudi Arabia

"Saudization" will reduce the number of jobs for foreigners in the long term, but prospects for trainers and managers look good




Etihad, has become one of the region's top three airlines


With 191 airliners on order, Emirates must recruit more than 1,000 pilots over three years...not to mention 16,000 other staff

Business Aviation 

The region's many new business aviation operators desperately need pilots, but the job is very different to working for an airline


The past few years have seen huge investment in the Gulf's MRO sector, with many providers in recruitment mode

Naional policies

The UAE and others want to create jobs for their citizens, but with limited talent to recruit from, achieving targets is not easy


The proliferation of training companies in the Gulf has created opportunities for those who want to work as instructors

An expat's experience

Expatriates began moving to work in the Middle East's emerging aviation industry in the 1970s. But what was it like for the crews back then?

Source: Flight International