Moving from London to Dubai


Ian Jenkins, Carter Murray London-Dubai, Our Stories

Why did you move to Dubai?

The short answer is a former colleague who I trust suggested a move to Dubai with Carter Murray as I was finishing my previous role. He felt the firm shared my view that reputation was a recruiter’s most important commodity. The idea of working in a different geography was interesting both personally and professionally. The region is very relationship focused; Dubai itself is small in global terms and very interconnected so word of mouth can be a powerful tool. Because of this and the fact that over 85% of people working in Dubai are expats it is also not unusual to encounter professional connections in your personal life.

Furthermore, Dubai has a strong Financial Services industry and a growing FinTech ecosystem both are sectors I have worked with throughout my career.

What have you most enjoyed?

The weather is certainly an upgrade on London and being able to travel to a wide variety of places in around a 4-hour flight is a definite perk. Travel across the Middle East, Africa, Eurasia and South Asia is all easily accessible and affordable given the regions many airlines. Something I hadn’t anticipated was how positive and friendly everyone in Dubai is, everyone here decided at some stage that they wanted the adventure of living somewhere else in the world, it’s infectious.

Dubai is also very easy to get around meaning the commute is far easier than London. The ability to finish work and then have a swim in an outdoor pool or go for a run on the beach is pretty special and definitely helps with work/life balance.

What professional advantages make a difference?

Having worked with other cultures prior to coming to Dubai would certainly be helpful and continuing to work with clients and candidates from all over the globe is fascinating. Dubai is a market built on relationships so having strong professional standards is critical as is taking a long-term approach. Because Dubai is a more transient place than London or New York you find that some recruiters take a very short-term view, whilst this may let them make placements in the short term it can easily damage their reputation. The same is true for firms and their employer branding.

The other interesting component of being Dubai based is that it typically allows you to take on hires across the MENA region. Some of these locations can be challenging for candidate attraction but the variety is interesting and requires recruiters to be flexible in their approach.

What is the biggest challenge moving to Dubai?

Dubai is very liberal by Middle Eastern standards but it is important to be mindful of your host’s cultural and religious norms. This is especially true during religious feasts such as Ramadan. One thing I didn’t know when I first moved over is how far Dubai goes to help people from all over the world feel welcome. Whether it’s the Centre for Cultural Understanding where you can learn all about Arab culture and Islam, the thousands of Iftar tents during Ramadan where people from all over the world celebrate, or National Day and the amazing fireworks. You also see incredible Diwali celebrations and even Christmas markets, though the 25-degree heat makes those feel a little unusual.

Why come and work for Carter Murray

Carter Murray hires people with experience and treats them like adults, we don’t focus on KPI’s or what time people come in and leave. The business has been successful and continues to grow because rather than say that they’re specialists they prove it by hiring consultants with a strong track record and giving them the support to build a practice that demonstrates expertise and drives top class results for clients. This includes having a strong internal marketing team and senior leadership committed to building a content led, professional brand.


UAE Facts and Figure

Formed in 1971

Capital is Abu Dhabi

Formed of 7 Emirates each with their own ruler Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah, Umm Al Quwain

UAE Size 83,600 square kilometres

Dubai Size 4,100 square kilometres

UAE Population 10 million

Dubai Population 2.3 million

Currency AED Arab Emirates Dirham

Religion Islam

Public Holidays p.a. 14

Average temperature January 24 degrees C

Average temperature in August 45 degrees C