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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

I had a job offer from Abu Dhabi based company - AED 35k/pm (all inclusive) plus medical and flight back home once a year.
I declined the offer as it seems too low for my needs ( I am better off in Oz in comparison), however I got invited to an interview as apparently there is a room to negotiate (HR's words).

What is satisfactory/market driven salary for mechanical engineer (building services) with 10+ years of international experience (UK, Australia)


I would be coming to UAE with 2 kids (1 and 3.5 year old) and wife

We would be interested in renting a 3-4 bed villa with shared facilities (pool, gym etc.). Older kid will go to school, while youngest one will stay home with wife (for the first year or two at least).

I calculated the cost of living as per following:

- Accommodation - 15k
- School - 5k
- Car, mobile phone, utility bills, internet - 5k
- food/entertainment - 5k
TOTAL - 30k

Please advice if above estimate seems OK.

Thanks in advance.
m_t
 

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Your estimate for the accommodation is reasonable, should get a reasonable villa for 180,000 a year. The car etc is also reasonable, depending of course on the car you get. As for entertainment, unfortunately that is like asking how long a piece of string is. I live here with my wife and we eat and dine out very well, 2 or 3 times a week, we also like wine(which is relatively expensive) and beer when out, so we would exceed 5,000 a month by quite a lot. But friends I know only go out 3 or 4 times a month and do not drink very much and so spend well under 5,000. It is very much about your life style, similar to the UK or anywhere else in that respect. Actual food in the supermarkets is not that much more than the UK. some items such as fruit etc is cheaper.
Unfortunately do not have any experience of schooling costs.
Hope this helps
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Jordanbasset,

With two small kids, we are limited with dining out a little bit, hence do not expect to spent a lot on it (for now).

So I guess my estimate of 30k a month is not too far away. In this case salary package offered does not leave much to save in a long term.

Would it be unreasonable to ask for 45-50k for someone with my profession and experience?

m_t
 

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Hi, unfortunately that is not my area of experience, so really do not know. What I do know is that if you don't ask you won't get. Also firms are very reluctant to up your salary once you have signed your contract. So if you want something ask for it upfront.
Good luck whatever you decide.
 

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Hi All,

I had a job offer from Abu Dhabi based company - AED 35k/pm (all inclusive) plus medical and flight back home once a year.
............................
m_t
Hello Moto !

please note the following points from my experience here
1- salary is 35k pm all inclusive / does it mean that you will receive 35k pm to your bank account ? have they promised you any annual bonus ?

2- room to negotiate ? you should , as if you accepted 35k there a strong chance it will remain the same for the coming 2 years at least ( unless you switch jobs again )

3- i guess for the kids you will be needing KG fees or nursery fees , to give you a respective , i have relatives who are paying 9k/3 month semester for a 3 years old boy , as many services here , its all about money , you get what you pay for

4- 3-4 bed room villa is possible with 15k pm , but you should factor in the annual increment ( 10%) also the location might be in the suburbs of Abu Dhabi and facilities might be a chargeable extra + agent fees (5% of contract value)

finally , for your nationality (passport) , experience and family status , your required salary must be between 45k-55k pm + benefits ( return flight home , medical and schools)

however the market here is usually people undercut the jobs , the company will easily find someone in your place for 12k pm with even more experience , so on the surface the salary you are offered might be amazing for others ,this is just FYI


my wife and i are moving to Melbourne by the end of year , wish us luck !
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks OmSaad for your input.

As far as I understand 35k is a straight to the bank account money. No mention of annual bonus (yet)

I took a note regarding housing and school.

I have recently declined and lost two job offers from Qatar, because apparently I asked for too much (that was recruitment agent's explanation), hence I am a little bit hesitant in terms of demands.

The current offer suits me much better (due to location, position and project work) and, thus I would like to research all the pros and cons in detail.

Good luck with Melbourne.

m_t
 

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I think your estimation of 30,000 is correct. We are a family of 4 and spend about 32,000 per month including all housing, school etc. We would spend a lot less if my husband's salary was in hand like yours but since it is different we spend more.

10k is not an unreasonable amount to want to save so definitely try for at least that!

We are also in Abu Dhabi, do you have an idea of where you want to rent? or what school your older one will go to? Will you need two cars? Important things to discuss money wise are, do they pay your housing upfront yearly for you? because this makes house-hunting a bit easier...do they provide initial housing? stuff like that..

Good luck!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I think your estimation of 30,000 is correct. We are a family of 4 and spend about 32,000 per month including all housing, school etc. We would spend a lot less if my husband's salary was in hand like yours but since it is different we spend more.

10k is not an unreasonable amount to want to save so definitely try for at least that!

We are also in Abu Dhabi, do you have an idea of where you want to rent? or what school your older one will go to? Will you need two cars? Important things to discuss money wise are, do they pay your housing upfront yearly for you? because this makes house-hunting a bit easier...do they provide initial housing? stuff like that..

Good luck!!
Hi aleleeson,

We have not decided on a suberb yet, the key points for us are availability of the school, public transport/trafic and of course cost. Initial research suggests Khalifa City A or Khaladiyah.

I believe one car will be sufficient as we intend to live close to school and use public transport for daily commute if possible (correct me if reality is different)

I haven't discussed housing allowance payments yet but thanks for a tip-will keep that in mind.

m_t
 

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Thanks OmSaad for your input.

..........

m_t
Thank you for your wishes moto

Allow me to elaborate further regarding the salary point, be sure that offered salary breakdown is payable monthly
What you should look into is salary on contract of 35k pm
But in reality it might be payable 30k pm and 5kx12 payed end of year when/if some target is met

I hope my input was informative at best and encouraging for more at worst

All The best
 

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Because all of our allowances are non-refundable we spend more than we would have otherwise. If they were refundable I would estimate that we would live off of a maximum of 20-22,000 inclusive of everything.

Most people say pick the school before you pick the house so that you are sure that that is the school you end up on. We live in Khaladiyah, have one car and our daughter who is in the same age group as your oldest goes to GIS school. This is one of the least expensive schools that I have come across but it is very hard to get into... she was lucky and it helped that she speaks german and is german. The American and British schools for some odd reason cost a lot more. As in 45,000 aed per year even at the KG level, while her school cost 22,000.

Relocation allowances are also very useful and things to talk about with the housing allowance include:

-- there is a 5% security deposit that needs to be paid upfront for a house. that is 5% of the yearly rent so it is a lot, who will pay this?
-- if you use an agent (and honestly I dont think anyone here needs to) there is a 5% agent fee that needs to be paid along with renting a house. that is 5% of the yearly rent so it is a lot, who will pay this?
-- rents here are commonly paid in full for an entire year at the beginning of your rental contract, how will you pay this large sum of money? will they pay it directly to the landlord (this is how they do it for us, down side is that in our case you dont get money back if you choose a cheaper house)? will they pay it for you initially and then you pay it back to them? will they set up a loan in your name? etc..
-- places here commonly come with no furniture, no fridge, no washing machine, no stove or anything like that.. the only thing that stays in the houses are are the ACs, when they do come with appliances they are usually very expensive. Will you get a relocation allowance that allows you to buy new household items or will you get to ship furniture on the companies cost, if so how much furniture?
-- hotels are very expensive and you will have to stay somewhere when you initially land before you find a house, who will pay for this stay and how long do you have to find a house?
-- depending on the place you choose to live utilities can seem like a mini rent, in town houses (what they call villas) water and electricity can easily cost more than 300 euros per month and internet is also expensive at about 100 euros per month.. luckily we have a utilities allowance but I think this is not common and we were also surprised that such a thing existed for us, we only found out about it when we tried to pay our first bills. So I wouldnt press for it but if they mention it, know that it is useful. Also in apartments that are newer and have district cooling I've heard complaints about high electricity/cooling cost. On the flip side I have heard of people who have utility bills all inclusive of under 100 euros..so it really varies per house.

Honestly though before we came here we knew none of the above, we asked none of these questions and yet somehow all of it was the best case scenario.. we didnt have to pay anything and the HR was very good.. they paid visa cost for the whole family and hotel stay and the 10% extra on housing and the yearly housing upfront etc. etc. BUT I have heard of others who didnt have so much luck...so you can see.



Hi aleleeson,

We have not decided on a suberb yet, the key points for us are availability of the school, public transport/trafic and of course cost. Initial research suggests Khalifa City A or Khaladiyah.

I believe one car will be sufficient as we intend to live close to school and use public transport for daily commute if possible (correct me if reality is different)

I haven't discussed housing allowance payments yet but thanks for a tip-will keep that in mind.

m_t
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for a really good info aleleeson.

It is interesting how westerners are unaware of those things. My list of items to negotiate just keeps getting longer...:confused2:

I attended an interview last week but it was technical interview to verify my engineering capabilities. I now expect a phone call from HR and will see how far they are willing to strech initial offer.

m_t
 

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Thanks for a really good info aleleeson.

It is interesting how westerners are unaware of those things. My list of items to negotiate just keeps getting longer...:confused2:

I attended an interview last week but it was technical interview to verify my engineering capabilities. I now expect a phone call from HR and will see how far they are willing to strech initial offer.

m_t
unfortunately its the case with all expats here, there is no city guide or move-in manual that could help people thinking of moving to AD or Dubai like yourself , i hope with enough interaction you will get all the required information you need
 

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There are several guides available about moving to Abu Dhabi but last I saw them they are not very good. One of the issues is changes in regulations, differences between employment terms and conditions you might get offered and so on. Gone are the days when government meant one way and private meant an alternative way. Compensation and benefits change all the time as well. I know several people whose companies have moved to cheaper health insurance companies and no longer have good healthcare, for example.

While sharing notes on what to consider in an offer I will tell you what my employer does, but it may be an unusual situation so don't assume all employers will give you these options. My company pays new joiners a one-off allowance which covers enough to ship or buy furniture and other expenses associated with starting out; there's a monthly expat allowance (intended to cover flight tickets and transport etc.), also an interest free car loan available to staff as soon as you get your driving licence (travel to work by public transport is extremely unrealistic unless you have a short journey or consider taxi to be public transport). Gratuity is also paid monthly so nothing received as a lump sum when you leave, but allows staff to invest/save for retirement monthly. My employer pays my rent direct to the landlord (in addition to paying me the difference between my actual rent and allowance - a perk that is disappearing fast as my rent increased 15% this year). However, you can't just rent any old place with the company arrangement (expat owned properties are usually disallowed). The way to get round it would be to take all the allowance and arrange rent ourselves (which we can do, but most don't because you need to pay the rent upfront and also only company-arranged lets will get water and electric refunded). So what is received in the monthly pay is considerably more than the basic salary.

In addition, the company pays for health insurance, life insurance and refunds most of schooling as well as any non-insured health/dental/vision correction costs. My employer also refunds any agency fees and having been here 16 years now I can assure you that agencies can be very useful in locating vacant properties if you are not going to be approaching large property companies like TDIC and Al Dar directly.

Where I work the starting salary is based on existing salary before you join and, as mentioned, very difficult to make any major changes to your package. The only way I have succeeded to do that is to get another job offer and resign (can't do that too often though and have to be prepared to leave).

I have repeatedly mentioned in my forum posts that rent is normally paid up-front in full a year in advance. Sometimes employers pay rent directly, others will give the employee the landlord's cheque as a loan and deduct salary monthly. If the latter then you often end up paying a deposit too as has been mentioned. Many company landlords find ways to add other fees when you take out or renew a tenancy as well as when you move out.

Sorry about the lengthy post. I hope someone finds it helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Where I work the starting salary is based on existing salary before you join and, as mentioned, very difficult to make any major changes to your package. The only way I have succeeded to do that is to get another job offer and resign (can't do that too often though and have to be prepared to leave).
Thanks Alex, appreciate your comments.

In relation to salaries, can you shed a bit more light on it? Are promotions uncommon? Do salaries get reviewed annually?

m_t
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanx to everyone who contributed to this thread.

Unfortunately I did not accept the final offer of 38k/pk and decided to wait for another opportunity.

I hope to put my foot down in UAE in the nearest future.

M_T
 

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Best of Luck

Ramadan has ended 1 month ago , usually things pick up after it

with some patience you could be getting something that overall better
 

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Hi AlexDhabi,
Thanks for your post. It is very useful.

More question to you on security deposit. When we pay one year rent, is it still required to pay sec deposit ?

In your knowledge, on agent fee, company like ADNOC and its subs, do they reimburse ?

Thanks
 

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Hi AlexDhabi, Thanks for your post. It is very useful. More question to you on security deposit. When we pay one year rent, is it still required to pay sec deposit ? In your knowledge, on agent fee, company like ADNOC and its subs, do they reimburse ? Thanks
You'll still need to pay the security deposit.
 
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