Dubai Is Ranked the Most Overworked Metropolis within the World. These Expats Disagree.


  • Dubai was ranked essentially the most overworked metropolis on the earth in a current examine performed by Kisi.
  • Expats working within the metropolis mentioned they’ve a great work-life stability.
  • A psychologist says folks ought to nonetheless watch out of burnout within the fast-paced, transient metropolis.

Colette Sullivan, a 30-year-old hotelier from the UK, works what’s by many measures a really customary workweek.

“My days should not all the time the identical as a result of nature of my job, however my hours are usually 9 a.m. till 6 p.m. with an early end of 5 p.m. on a Friday,” Sullivan advised Insider. “After work, I will likely be going purchasing, catching up with mates, or, within the winter months, catching the final of the solar open air.”

The truth is, the common nature of her week is outstanding primarily as a result of she works in Dubai, which was named the world’s most-overworked metropolis in a examine performed by cloud-based access-control firm Kisi.

For the examine, which was launched on Could 25, Kisi evaluated a spread of things, together with paid break day, value of dwelling, entry to psychological healthcare, and inclusivity. Kisi shortlisted 51 US metropolitan areas and 49 world financial hubs, together with New York, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Paris, and analyzed information pulled from worldwide organizations, NGO reviews, open-access datasets, public surveys, and crowdsourcing platforms.

Insider spoke to 5 individuals who stay in Dubai to grasp what it is prefer to work on the earth’s most-overworked metropolis. Regardless of the lengthy hours they clock, all sources mentioned they, like Sullivan, have a great work-life stability.

A tradition of work-life stability

In line with UAE labor legislation, private-sector staff can clock in a most of 48 hours every week unfold throughout six days. Staff additionally get 30 days off paid annual go away and 45 days of absolutely paid parental go away.

An insurance coverage account threat engineer who most well-liked to stay nameless as a consequence of his job has been working in Dubai for 4 years. He advised Insider he works about 48 hours every week with an hour’s break for lunch every day, however nonetheless looks like he has a great work-life stability: “I do not often work on weekends and have spare time for my household, to give attention to my pursuits exterior of labor, and to train a few instances every week.”

The chance engineer labored for 10 years in India earlier than transferring to Dubai. He mentioned he works tougher in Dubai than he did in India, however believes it was as a result of he held a extra junior position again in his residence nation.

Farah Rahman-Pearson, 34, at present work in HR in Dubai. She’s beforehand labored in Singapore, and has expertise working for a Hong Kong firm. Her present schedule permits her to drop off her children at 7:30 a.m., spend the day within the workplace, and nonetheless make it residence in time for tub time within the night.

“From my private expertise, I’d rank Singapore, Hong Kong, and lastly Dubai by way of being overworked,” she advised Insider.

Amrit Sharma, a 29-year-old public relations supervisor who grew up in Dubai, mentioned there is a tradition of work-life stability in Dubai, “though there are occasions whenever you type of must take it upon your self to keep up that stability.” Sharma mentioned private time has lengthy been revered in Dubai’s working tradition, recalling that his father, a banker, beforehand labored a really fastened nine-to-five schedule and would come residence on the identical time every single day.

Pierrick, a 54-year-old copywriter from France who solely needed to be recognized by his first identify, mentioned it is all relative — and that along with his European background, the Dubai work tradition did come as a shock. “When you take into account the working hours from a European perspective, you possibly can say that Dubai is overworked,” Pierrick mentioned. “I admit that I used to be shocked by the work tradition once I got here 10 years in the past. However I would not take into account myself overworked.”

Expats partying on a luxury yacht on Dubai creek.

Expats partying on a luxurious yacht docked on Dubai creek.

KARIM SAHIB/AFP by way of Getty Pictures

Good climate and no earnings tax

A number of of the sources Insider spoke to cited monetary upsides of dwelling in Dubai.

Full-time staff in Dubai obtain beneficiant extra time funds. Staff who work past their common working hours are entitled to pay equal to their primary wage plus an added 25% of that pay. The added sum will increase to 50% if the worker works extra time between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m, per UAE’s Labour Legislation.

On high of that, the Emirates doesn’t impose any private or capital earnings tax for UAE residents or expats.

Pierrick mentioned he makes two to a few instances greater than he did in Europe, however declined to share the main points of his earnings.

“Dubai could be very result-oriented. We do not consider simply doing our hours after which getting paid, like in Europe,” he mentioned. “Right here, you are paid in your expertise; you are paid in your outcomes. You’ll be able to count on to enhance rather a lot professionally when working in Dubai.”

For the chance engineer, the attraction of dwelling in Dubai can also be largely money-based: “I’ve a cushty life right here. And I do not pay earnings tax, so I am saving much more.” 

Sullivan, who hails from the moist and stormy UK, mentioned Dubai’s climate is a blessing. “The UK climate makes it much less interesting to do a lot after work, so it could usually really feel like your weekdays are solely for work.”

Two Women Discuss A Common Project During Their Lunch Break

Working in Dubai shouldn’t be as hectic because it appears.

Sviatlana Yankouskaya/EyeEm/Getty Pictures

A big expat inhabitants and a transient nature

Expats account for 85% of Dubai’s inhabitants, and plenty of of them have paid assist at residence, Rahman-Pearson mentioned: “This helps with our profession and day-to-day dwelling — to have someone else dwelling with your loved ones to alleviate a number of the stress.”

Rahman-Pearson, who’s a working mother, finds that many companies in Dubai make life simpler. She will get recent, pre-measured components with recipes despatched to her doorstep, so she would not have to think about what to cook dinner each day. It is also widespread for Dubai residents to take use time-saving measures like having fuel delivered to their automobile, she mentioned. 

“There’s additionally a common sense the Dubai way of life could be very pampered,” she added. 

However Reem Shaheen, a counseling psychologist for BE Centre Psychology in Dubai, advised Insider there is a draw back to town being so expat-heavy — and that not all pressures are felt equally by all the expat inhabitants. In line with the World Inhabitants Assessment, most of Dubai’s expat inhabitants comes from low- to medium-income international locations: 51% is from India, 17% from Pakistan, and 9% from Bangladesh. This personnel, Shaheen mentioned, faces larger strain to reach Dubai as they search a greater high quality of life away from their residence nation.

“It is rather hectic, as you get to remain right here relying on how nicely you do your job,” Shaheen advised Insider. “That is an enormous burden on anybody, particularly for breadwinners and individuals who come from international locations that aren’t doing nicely economically.”

“When you lose your job, you possibly can return to a rustic the place there should not sufficient sources and you’re struggling financially,” Shaheen mentioned. “That provides to the stress, the burnout.”

Dubai was ranked second-worst by way of entry to psychological healthcare in Kisi’s examine. Shaheen mentioned entry to psychological healthcare in Dubai is dear, with restricted insurance coverage protection. And whereas the Dubai Well being Authority has made it necessary for psychiatry advantages to be lined in essentially the most primary of insurance coverage, that’s not sufficient, she mentioned.

As such, Shaheen advises that individuals be careful for early indicators of burnout.

The issue with burnout is that individuals ignore it, Shaheen mentioned. “They brush the sensation apart, pondering they’re drained. Or they assume to themselves, ‘Oh, it is simply lots of work; let me push by for an additional month, one other yr.’ And by the point shoppers attain out for assist, burnout is entangled with despair.”

“Burnout, for those who catch it originally, is ok; On the finish, it is fairly debilitating,” she added.


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