Let's jump straight into the blog about money. When you're considering teaching in Dubai, let's be honest, money is one of the primary reasons for wanting to teach out here.
If you're interested in becoming a teacher in Dubai, I highly recommend checking out the guides that I have created to support the process. Guide 1 will support you with understanding the process and getting a job out here in Dubai.
Alternatively, if you have a job lined up already, Guide 2 will support you with the move.
How much do teachers get paid?
The picture above is 9000 dirhams and this is what I was initially offered per month to come and teach in Dubai with two years of experience. There is a pay scale, Typically ECTs will be paid the least they will typically find job offers around 8000 (£1600)or 10,000 (£2000)- (5 Dirham to the pound at the time of typing this). Again that completely depends on the school whether it's a for-profit school or a non for-profit school, that's generally how much an ECT (early career teacher) will be offered per month. Pay is often offered as a ‘per month’ thing and then you will obviously work out how much that is per annum. From there, I had two years of experience when I came out here and my first offer was nine thousand dirhams.
However, I did find another job offer that paid a little bit higher, and as a result, chose that one. So different schools will have different pay increments and different pay scales and that's important to note. From that 8000 dirham Which is what you might get offered, you can go all the way up to sorts of 15,000 based on those levels of experience, and it completely depends again on the school if you could get additional pay alongside that monthly income.
This is why working out how much teachers in Dubai get paid is so challenging because you need to try and work out the overall package and different schools have pros and cons when it comes to the packages that they offer. Some schools will offer a higher initial salary income but as I just mentioned others might offer a higher accommodation allowance. Some schools might not offer an accommodation allowance for the first two years and that's worth noting because some people will use that accommodation allowance and only spend a certain amount on their accommodation and save the rest. So then from there, you might have flight allowance you'll then have medical insurance; medical insurance can vary and that's really important to think about. You'll also have a gratuity, and it's all about making sure that you think about the overall package that you are going to receive from that school.
What is accommodation allowance like?
When we're thinking of accommodation allowance. Schools can vary massively. So some schools will offer 45,000 dirhams (£90000 for the year, and then other schools will offer 75,000 (£15,000) for the year. That can take you a range of different ways in terms of being able to pay for accommodation. Some people will then buddy up and choose to go for a two-bedroom apartment to rent and then be able to save a little bit more money and spend that however, they choose.
Is your pay the exact same every month?
Again, for the most part, yes. While this video shares more about pay and allowances, your pay is the same most months and will include your basic salary and housing allowance (if you receive it). When you first start, you may also have a moving-in allowance which helps with what it refers to. The double paycheque which has happened in June is larger and has to last. For us, In April, we also receive our flight allowance as part of the pay too.
Which schools offer the most pay?
You have for-profit and not-for-profit schools. I've spoken about that in other blogs and I've also spoken about it in the guide. When you have a ‘for-profit’ school any of the profit from the income that they get from the school fees, may go back to the shareholders whereas the non-for-profit gets spread through the school and as a result, non-for-profit teachers can expect to be paid more pay for nonprofits schools, as I've recently discovered can be anywhere from 15,000 to 20,000 per month, and the accommodation allowance can be upwards from 75,000 all the way up to 100,000 if not more. While it’s this may sound great, teaching jobs in non-for-profit schools are extremely competitive.
Do all nationalities who come and teach out here in Dubai get paid the same?
No… is the short answer to that not all nationalities get paid equally. And what can happen is that there is a disparity between the types of schools that people work in and the pay that they receive as an example, people who come from their home nation to Dubai generally get paid more than that home nation hence why they choose to come out here. I know that that's the case for British teachers. And I also know that's the case for Indian teachers having spoken to them. However, the pay for British teachers versus Indian teachers in different tools varies dramatically and isn't always equal which is noteworthy.
Where can I earn the most money as a teacher here in Dubai?
As I've spoken about before, nonprofit schools are going to pay you the most money in terms of being a teacher out here in Dubai. However, there are other ways of increasing your income out here and about you can take on additional leadership and we'll speak about the income that you can expect to receive from that. Some people will choose to do things such as tutor or other things that can bring in additional sources of income. But you do you have to check with contractual obligations just about said that, that your school are okay with those things, too.
How frequently are teachers paid?
We are paid every month on the same date on most occasions. The reason why I say 'most occasions' is because there are certain times of the year where we will be paid 2 pay cheques in one. This doesn't always happen in schools but I believe that it is something to do with reviewing finances within the school at the end of the year. The only other time that we may receive slightly earlier pay is during the festive period when I have been paid early in the past. This doesn't really bother me too much as I try to ensure that I have systems in place for my finance. It is easy to go all out and splurge at that time of the year but some forget that the payment has to last and it makes January very long.
So what is the pay for teaching and leadership responsibilities?
This is challenging to work out because it can vary between different schools. Some schools will offer 500 (£100) Dirham per month as an additional income for leadership responsibilities. That can go all the way up to sort of 3000 (£600) Generally, what happens is that you will receive, let's say 500 dirhams for leadership responsibility and then you can receive an additional amount if it's like a more complex role within the school such as year leader or head of a core subject. Then you get additional points based on the complexities of the amount of challenge that there is within that role.
Does pay increase each year?
Not always, but generally, yes, there are years where, due to things that have happened in the world, schools have decreased pay, or at least stalled them. As a result of that, the pay doesn’t increase the next year but generally speaking, yes, pay does go up in line with the experience that teachers gain throughout their teaching career. However, it's also important to note that the pay scale doesn't necessarily update in line with inflation, whereas the UK will be updated quite regularly. That hasn't necessarily happened here in the UAE and it's something to note.
Are there pensions out here in the UAE?
No, there aren't pensions per se. Some people invest in a private pension and others choose to invest wisely. They might invest in things such as bricks and mortar. They might invest in index funds, stocks and shares or commodities. Those sorts of things are things that people might invest in. This is not the video for investment advice or anything along those lines. However, that's how people will build an income and build a more sustainable portfolio that they can then rely on as retirement but in terms of a retirement similar to what they would have in the UK.
Do teachers get bonuses?
No, that doesn't exist. What you will have is gratuity, for example, each year that you work, you will get a certain amount of pay that is built up as an end service bonus they call it a gratuity from when you then finish, let's say after four years, that bonus will have built up to a level that you then get paid that along with your final paycheck to and some people choose to put that into a private pension or invest it.
Can you negotiate pay when you're coming out here to Dubai?
Yes. You can always ask for an increase in income and there's a range of different strategies to support this. However, as teacher pay scales in different schools become more rigid, it's harder for them to have that flexibility and I think that's a sign of fair pay throughout the school, which is a positive thing.
Now for me personally in the past, I was able to use my other offer ‘that second offer’ as leverage to try and support getting a better offer from the firs offer that I spoke about initially. What happened is I didn't really get an increase in basic pay. What I was offered is an increase or an amount of accommodation allowance. They would let me have that accommodation allowance instead of given accommodation so that's one way of negotiating pay.
How much percentage do you save per month?
This is a hard question for me to answer and I think during my time out here teaching in Dubai, the amount has varied massively. When it was COVID and we were all locked down it was easier to save quite a big portion because we're really doing anything we would only pay for our groceries and bills. However, in my first year and a little bit now, as travel starts to open this year, the amount of money that I'm able to save is less due to the amount that I am travelling.
It's also really noteworthy that inflation has hit hard. Because the paychecks don't always increase in line with inflation, the amount of money that I'm actually saving is less two due to things like groceries and the cost of living rising. All those things compound and mean that the amount that I'm actually able to save is less.
Personally, I'd say I'm able to 30% maybe, but it's challenging. In the past I've been able to save 50% per month and then at other times, I've only been able to save 10% per month depending on my lifestyle habits and I'm sure that will be similar for different teachers. You'll get those teachers who go out every weekend to party, live the Dubai life and complain about not saving anything or worse getting into debt. You also have these teachers who don't do as much and have quite a reserved lifestyle and then are able to save up quite a lot. There's always that balance of lifestyle versus saving, which again, could be a completely different blog.
Does your school give you a laptop?
While this is a yes for me, schools do vary. For example, a school may choose to only give you an iPad depending on if they see this as a suitable device for you to do your day-to-day job. Personally, I was given a Macbook Air to work on. This is the same one that I have had for the past 4 years of working at this school and, although it is slower now than when I first had it, has been a brilliant device. Some schools will instead give you a Windows laptop and an iPad or Macbook and iPad. It completely depends on what ICT your school is pushing but expect training to support you with that too.
Hopefully, you enjoyed the blog talking about how much teachers in Dubai get paid as I mentioned at the start of the blog teacher pay is a complex issue but this blog has share information for you to consider a range of different things.
These myths scratch the surface when it comes to understanding living in Dubai. You'll find a plethora of information within this guide.
My website also has more information about teaching in Dubai through a range of different blogs which you can check out here
If you are interested in finding out more about teaching in the UAE, I have a playlist of videos available on YouTube here, and you can find my two guides here which guide you through the application process and what you need to consider after securing a position.