The most sought-after UAE technology jobs and how much they pay

Chief technology officers, cloud architects, cyber security specialists, project managers, software developers and data engineers are in demand, according to recruitment experts

As organisations in the UAE intensify investments into digital transformation and innovation, demand has surged for skilled professionals in many technology-related roles, recruitment specialists say.

While most organisations in the Gulf Co-operation Council region require technology professionals in some capacity, those in the financial technology, health care, consultancy, e-commerce and manufacturing sectors are at the forefront of digital transformation and technological innovation, Hays says in its GCC 2024 Salary Guide.

At present, start-ups, local and emerging organisations are more active hiring at a regional level compared with the global tech companies, the research found.

“Sixty-seven per cent of technology employers expect to grow their organisation’s headcount this year, most commonly by more than 10 per cent,” Oliver Kowalski, managing director of Hays Middle East, says.

“Therefore, there is still great demand for qualified personnel.”

The job market in the UAE, the Arab world’s second-largest economy, has recovered from the coronavirus pandemic, driven largely by government measures to attract skilled workers and incentivise companies to set up or expand their operations.

The Emirates is shifting to an employer’s market, with more people moving in because of economic problems in other countries, recruitment consultancy Robert Half says in its 2024 Salary Guide report.

The influx of talent and greater competition for roles means candidates are willing to accept lower remuneration to gain a foothold in the Middle East, which brings down the overall market rate and restricts salary growth, Robert Half said.

Artificial intelligence, software development and data science are among the top 10 skill shortages listed by employers in the UAE, according to the Cooper Fitch 2024 UAE Salary Guide.

With AI on course to contribute approximately $96 billion to the UAE’s economy by the end of the decade, qualified and experienced technology candidates are likely to remain in high demand among large tech companies and government entities alike, the recruitment consultancy says.

And with hiring on the increase in the UAE’s technology sector, what are the most sought-after jobs and how much do they pay?

Read on to find out – and check out our comprehensive UAE Salary Guide 2024 slide show below for a snapshot of the tech sector.

Which jobs are in demand?

Positions in demand in the UAE’s IT sector are systems administrator, project/programme manager, DevOps engineer, cloud architect and cyber security specialist, says the Michael Page 2024 UAE Salary Guide.

“As Dubai becomes more attractive, the job market is becoming less competitive, although there is still significant demand for project managers and senior leaders who can set up offices as more and more businesses move into the region,” Robert Half says in its UAE Salary Guide.

“Most in-demand roles in the IT industry are project manager, software developer (front-end),software developer (back-end), chief technology officer and head of IT.”

Project managers are highly in demand, particularly those with end-to-end delivery experience. Those with an IT or technical background who are able to hit the ground running quickly will be able to command the best packages, the recruitment consultancy says.

The roles of chief technology officer, chief information officer and head of IT are critical for companies setting up regional headquarters, the report adds.

Those with ERP, e-commerce, SAP and Oracle Fusion experience are in a stronger position than most in the UAE’s tech recruitment market.

“In the realm of cyber security, an increasing emphasis on online security prompts the anticipated demand for chief information security officers (CISOs) and directors within cyber security, particularly within medium-sized organisations adopting a more serious stance on digital security,” according to Hays.

“As the Gulf region aspires to position itself as a market leader in the domains of metaverse, e-sports and Web 3.0, professionals with expertise in these areas, including network, infrastructure and cloud engineers, are all expected to be in high demand.”

The large-scale adoption of AI strategies to enhance business performance is expected to increase demand for roles such as data scientist, machine learning engineer, data analytics, data engineers and AI engineers, the consultancy says.

In the software development space, the perennial demand for back-end and front-end developers persists, according to Hays.

These roles remain crucial as organisations continue to develop and enhance their software infrastructure, ensuring the seamless functioning of applications and user interfaces, it adds.

What job skills are employers looking for?

The most in-demand technical skills and experience in the UAE tech industry are Oracle Fusion, Java, Python and Test automation, according to Robert Half.

DevOps is becoming increasingly important in the UAE as businesses adopt digital technologies and move to cloud computing, Michael Page says in its Salary Guide report.

This is essential as companies must be able to quickly adapt to changing customer needs and market conditions.

Another important skill set candidates require in the UAE technology sector is data-centric insights, the consultancy points out.

“This ability enables informed decision-making and problem solving and helps align overall IT strategies and solutions with the business needs and goals,” the Salary Guide reports.

“Expertise in programming languages like Python, statistical methods and data visualisation tools is crucial for interpreting and communicating complex information effectively.”

Stakeholder management is also a valuable skill among candidates. Today’s businesses operate in a global market, and they must be able to engage with stakeholders across the world.

This requires a deep understanding of technology and how it can be used to engage with stakeholders, and an understanding of the different cultures and customs that may be involved, according to Michael Page.

To be successful, businesses need to have a team of skilled professionals who can manage these relationships effectively. By doing so, they can ensure their business goals are met and stakeholders are satisfied, the research says.

Are salaries expected to rise in the sector?

Technology professionals are rather optimistic about their salary prospects this year, with 77 per cent expecting to receive a pay rise, most commonly by more than 20 per cent, according to a survey of 725 employers and about 1,600 employees in the GCC by Hays.

While 53 per cent of professionals in the technology sector received a salary increase in 2023, the trend of switching organisations for a higher salary persisted for the third consecutive year, the Hays Salary Guide shows.

Given that 33 per cent of professionals plan to change organisations this year, primarily due to low salary, employers should consider conducting a market review to ensure that their salary structure is competitive, to remain attractive in a tight talent market, the consultancy recommends.

“In recent years, technology-based salaries in the UAE have been increasing rapidly. This is due in part to the region’s booming economy and its growing reputation as a hub for technology and innovation,” Robert Half says in its 2024 Salary Guide.

“In some cases, it is difficult for employers to remain competitive against the growing demands of IT experts.”

Robert Half estimates a more conservative average salary increase of 1.2 per cent among the UAE’s tech professionals this year.

The company forecasts a 1.7 per cent salary hike for leadership roles in the UAE tech industry, a 3.6 per cent wage increase for project management professionals and a 2.1 per cent rise in pay for network support employees, with no change for roles in IT security, support, software development, systems administration and architecture.

What other benefits can employees expect?

Apart from salary, a comprehensive benefits package is the most important factor for technology professionals when choosing an organisation, Hays research shows.

Seven in 10 employers in the Gulf also agree that benefits are important in attracting and retaining staff, the study finds.

“Employers looking to retain and attract talent should consider offering valued benefits such as child education allowances, flexible working and air ticket or travel allowances,” the Hays Salary Guide suggests.

“Additionally, to attract and retain the most skilled technology professionals, employers should prioritise career progression opportunities. This involves providing professional development programmes, mentorship opportunities and regular performance reviews.”

While a base salary is essential to attract and retain talent, technology companies in the UAE are increasingly offering benefits that go beyond simply providing a pay cheque, according to Robert Half.

For example, some companies offer flexible working to help employees balance work and family responsibilities.

However, fewer flexible working opportunities are on the table for candidates – on average, employees are now only able to work at home one day per week, the consultancy says.

In addition, many companies offer fitness memberships, and other wellness benefits to help employees stay healthy and productive.

By offering these types of benefits, technology companies in the UAE are able to attract and retain top talent, even in a competitive market, the consultancy says.

“Candidates are most interested in stable businesses, with crypto companies struggling to secure the best talent,” according to the Robert Half Salary Guide.

“Mid-level businesses would benefit from making packages more attractive.”

What are the highest paying jobs in the UAE technology sector?


  • Chief information officer: Dh70,000 ($19,060) to Dh130,000 per month
  • Chief technology officer: Dh60,000 to Dh140,000
  • Chief information security officer: Dh60,000 to Dh120,000
  • IT director: Dh50,000 to Dh90,000
  • Head of IT: Dh40,000 to Dh70,000
  • IT manager: Dh20,000 to Dh40,000

Enterprise applications

  • Applications director: Dh50,000 to Dh80,000
  • Business applications manager: Dh25,000 to Dh45,000
  • Technical/functional consultant: Dh25,000 to Dh40,000
  • ERP project manager: Dh30,000 to Dh55,000

Project management

  • Programme manager: Dh40,000 to Dh80,000
  • Project manager: Dh25,000 to Dh60,000


  • Infrastructure head/director: Dh40,000 to Dh70,000
  • Infrastructure manager: Dh25,000 to Dh50,000
  • Infrastructure engineer: Dh20,000 to Dh35,000
  • Network engineer: Dh15,000 to Dh25,000

Technical services

  • Technical support manager: Dh20,000 to Dh40,000
  • IT support engineer: Dh10,000 to Dh20,000

Cloud, DevOps and architecture

  • DevOps lead: Dh45,000 to Dh70,000
  • DevOps engineer: Dh20,000 to Dh40,000
  • Cloud architect: Dh30,000 to Dh60,000


  • Head of development: Dh45,000 to Dh55,000
  • Development manager: Dh35,000 to Dh45,000
  • Lead developer: Dh25,000 to Dh35,000
  • Blockchain developer: Dh30,000 to Dh50,000
  • Back-end developer: Dh18,000 to Dh27,000
  • Full stack developer: Dh20,000 to Dh35,000
  • iOS developer: Dh18,000 to Dh25,000
  • Android developer: Dh18,000 to Dh25,000
  • Front-end developer: Dh12,000 to Dh22,000

Cyber security

  • Cyber security architect: Dh35,000 to Dh60,000
  • IT security manager: Dh30,000 to Dh55,000
  • IT security engineer: Dh20,000 to Dh40,000

Source: thenationalnews

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