Global Healthcare Sectors | UAE


Fraser Clarke

Following the success of our Global Healthcare Issues series we’re pleased to bring you the first in our new series. Global Healthcare Sectors.

In this exclusive series we will guide you through the structure behind the healthcare sectors we most commonly deal with. We’ll look at the private and public areas, what positions are especially in demand, the funding models, and how to go about successfully securing a move.


In the first of this series we’ll look at one of the most popular locations with medical professionals seeking a more rewarding career overseas - The United Arab Emirates.

The United Arab Emirates has became one of the world’s leading locations for medical care in recent years. Vast investment has seen the number of hospitals in the country increase from just 17 in 1975, to more than 65 today - and that number is continuing to rise as business in the country booms.

Where am I likely to work?

Perhaps the most well known area for healthcare is the world renowned Dubai Healthcare City, a healthcare free economic zone located near Dubai International Airport. The first phase of the healthcare city is home to over 110 clinics and hospitals, specialising in everything from dermatology to neurology. Work on phase 2 recently got underway, meaning that more jobs than ever are likely to become available over the next decade.

Whatever your speciality is, there will be an operation specialising in it within DHC.

Away from Dubai’s healthcare hub the capital Emirate of Abu Dhabi has a range of stunning, modern facilities, whilst healthcare in Dubai’s neighbouring Emirate, Sharjah, is expanding too. In fact recent schemes look like making Sharjah one of the Emirates’ main healthcare locations.

All three Emirates provide a high standard of living. Accommodation is mainly within compounds, whilst there is plenty to see and do throughout the country.

What sector will I be working in?

As with most locations there is a public and private healthcare system within the country. The private system provides the main job opportunities for western trained doctors, surgeons and physicians - with new vacancies opening up every month.

The best known hospital in the country is probably the American Hospital Dubai, a modern 187 bed facility that recently underwent an extensive renovation project that took its capacity up to 240 beds.

In 2000 the American Hospital Dubai became the first in the Middle East to be awarded JCI accreditation, and since then it has maintained this six times - with the next evaluation scheduled for 2018.

Nowadays there are more than 100 other facilities in the country with JCI Gold approval, proving just how high the standard of care on offer is.

A small number of jobs do become available in the public sector, however often they cannot match the attractiveness of the salary packages offered by the top private locations.

How Generous is Healthcare Spending?

The increase in healthcare spending is a trend which is being replicated throughout the UAE, even in the face of a declining oil price. Dubai Healthcare City’s phase two expansion, which will cover 22 million square feet near Dubai Creek, is testament to the levels of investment in the country

Medical tourism is a huge business throughout the Gulf, and the UAE is the region’s leader. The state of the art facilities, and fierce competition for the tourist’s business has lead to unmatched levels of spending - and this works its way down to the medics, who benefit from world leading (tax free) salary packages.

What will I need?

Most private hospitals and clinics will request that you have your CCT as well as up to date qualifications in your specialist area. They will also look for around 5 years of experience, but this figure can be flexible depending on the employer and their preferences and needs. Fluency in English is essential and, whilst not always necessary, some knowledge of Arabic would further enhance your career prospects.

Often employers will look for a specific race of person for a role. It may be a native Westerner, native Arab, native Arabic speaker, native English speaker or native French speaker. Do not be offended if you are turned down for a job because of your ethnicity; it may seem slightly backwards, however due to the market’s competitiveness employers often have extremely strict criteria.

Who is Especially in Demand?

As readers of our Global Healthcare Issues series will know, health problems can vary greatly depending on where you elect to call home. The United Arab Emirates is, as you would expect, no exception to the rule.

Infectious Disease specialists are increasingly in demand, the UAE has a hugely mixed population - and plenty of those living in the country spend a lot of time travelling to other parts of the world, either for leisure or business. As a result the number of infectious diseases in the country is rising, and as too is the need for specialists to cope with this demand.

Chronic Disease specialists. The UAE’s population is becoming less and less healthy by the year. As a result of this rates of cardiovascular conditions and diabetes are on the rise - increasing the need for experts in managing these conditions throughout the country.

Paediatricians. The vast majority of those living in the United Arab Emirates are expat workers and, as a result, there is a high number of people with young families throughout the Emirates. This makes the demand for paediatricians unusually high when compared with many other, similar, countries.

If a move to the United Arab Emirates is something which would appeal to you register on our website today - a dream move could be closer than you might think.

Start your journey today by registering on our website.