- Hi, I am Bhavin Raithatha, a qualified Chartered Accountant from ICAI (India) and Company Secretary from ICSI. After working for almost 8 years as a Banker in my home country (India), I decided to move to Dubai and start all over.
- It has been a few years in Dubai and I could say the risk of quitting a well-paid job and moving here was a great idea in all!
- Here is my story to inspire and motivate you – To Never Give Up.
How I Began My Career In CA
I studied in a vernacular medium school in Mumbai (India). The switch from the Gujarati (an Indian Language) medium of instruction to the English medium was quite challenging. So I had experienced my fair share of challenges quite early in life.
My first year in college was very challenging in terms of studies, and my confidence levels used to plummet while conversing in English. The second-year onwards, it was better and more manageable. I had to put in a lot of hard work so I could be on par with other students.
While still in college, I realized that it would be necessary to have a ‘professional qualification’ along with my B.Com degree. I decided to pursue Chartered Accountancy, due to the respect the profession carries, significant earning expectations and the cost-effectiveness of this course.
Besides, I was lucky indeed to have a very supportive family, especially my elder brother, Mehul who encouraged me to take up this decision.
And here started my CA journey from the prestigious ICAI (The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India).
Quitting My Job in India and Moving to the UAE
After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant, I started my career in the banking sector in India. However, the difficult infrastructure of Mumbai, combined with the ‘extraneously long travel time’ got me and my wife thinking of ‘how we could live a better life’.
Around the same time, we bumped into a few friends who moved to Dubai and were doing very well for themselves. They suggested that we should also consider shifting to Dubai for better career opportunities and of course a better life!
We did our research and took the following points before deciding to move to the UAE: Firstly, geographically Dubai is very close to India. Secondly, Indian CAs are very well recognized here. Also moving to Dubai and finding a job is way easier in comparison to some other countries and the best part – No Income Tax. All of this made the UAE our top preference.
That is when my wife Rashmi and I decided to move to the UAE in 2016 …a decision well-taken!
I quit my banking job in India to move to Dubai, while my wife Rashmi continued working in Mumbai. So we balanced the risk by not quitting both our jobs together. By now I had almost 7-8 years of banking experience in India (my home country).
I was also very transparent with my then employer and colleagues about my plan of moving to Dubai. During my 3-month mandatory notice period, I researched in my spare time about job openings in Dubai and even applied for various opportunities. However, to my dismay, I couldn’t get a job offer or even an interview call while still in Inda.
Luckily while networking and connecting with various professionals in Dubai, I made a few good contacts and had a good idea of what it takes to find a job in Dubai.
Finally, after completing my notice period in India, I packed my bags and moved to Dubai on a 3-month visit visa with NO OFFER LETTER, NO JOB but lots of FAITH.
Starting my Career in Dubai with almost 8 years of experience
When I moved here, I stayed in a hotel for the first 2 days and later moved in with other fellow Accountants (of a similar age group). I now started searching for a job proactively, spending at least 8 hours a day on my laptop and mobile connecting with people.
I wanted to find an opportunity in a bank, however, (in the very first week itself of my job search), I realized that would be a very difficult task!
Since I was on a visit visa, I had to find a job at the earliest and I decided to be flexible, and use my banking experience and find an opportunity in a ‘non-banking’ (but relevant field). That is when I got an opportunity at a consulting firm after almost 5 weeks of job searching!
As a professional with such a sound banking experience, did I have to start again as a fresher? The answer is YES. I did have to compromise on my salary expectations as well as industry preference. (Most professionals in a new country with no local experience have to!) However, I was so confident about my capabilities that I did not let all of this bog me down.
Once I found an opportunity in Dubai, my wife moved here within a couple of months. We stayed in a hotel apartment for some time and later rented our own apartment. Finally making Dubai our new home!
On the work front, I continued working at the consulting firm for almost 2 years until I was told to look out for another job as they had some internal restructuring happening! Luckily this worked in my favor and I got an opportunity at a well-known bank in Dubai…and I was back into the banking industry, a dream come true! (Woohoo!)
Getting this opportunity was evident in the fact that persistence and patience always pay off in the long run.
“Break Down of my Job search in Dubai.”
- Week 1 – Finding the right place to stay in sharing with a similar age group of Indian guys around. Connecting with 3 to 5 people I knew in advance, exchanging local numbers and sharing CV. Taking their feedback if the CV is in line with local market employer expectations and requesting them to share with relevant people.
- Week 2 – Settling with strict routine and schedule of getting up on time spending 8 hours+ on job portals, e-mails and LinkedIn. Finalizing good and reasonably-priced restaurants for food and arranging for in-house cooking.
- Week 3 – Applying for online jobs and visiting some recruitment consultant office to drop in a physical CV. Also getting familiar with local public transportation. Preparing for an interview with current news of the UAE. This time was slightly stressful as I was expecting some good and relevant interviews to happen by this time.
- Week 4 – By this time I had realized and made my mind about the absence of opportunities in the banking sector. I appeared for a few more interviews while continuing to apply for jobs online. This week was more about appearing for all the interviews with full dedication without saying no to any role and opportunities. Following up for interview results and appearing for the second round.
- Week 5 – Getting my first offer letter and not joining due to completely different roles, industry and not very good impression about work culture during the interview. Getting second selection confirmation followed by an offer letter. Sharing the offer letter with some friends in the local market, wife, and brother for the extra precautionary understanding of terms and local law being in a completely new country. Signing the offer letter and agreeing to the date of joining.
“The Exact Steps I Took to Find My First Job in the UAE.”
- The first step is to DECIDE. Analyze and understand the pros and cons of moving to a new country and starting all over. Look for feedback from relevant/known sources.
- Once you have decided, spend a month online applying for relevant jobs.
- If it doesn’t work; resign in your home country, share your ‘true reason for resignation and complete your notice period’.
- Meanwhile, keep applying online and ensure that you have 3 months of savings to survive in the UAE as per the UAE cost of living – Approximately 2 lakh rupees in Indian currency.
- You may now move to the UAE with a – 3-month tourist visa and consider job search as a full-time activity for at least 8 hours a day.
- Calculate minimum salary expectations which should lead to higher savings even when you maintain the same standards of living as that of your home country in 6 to 9 months.
- As explained earlier you need to have a salary range in your mind. While negotiating, highlight your relevant skills and experience for the role you are being interviewed for, and not all of your experience.
- Now understand the average or the higher side of the market salary being offered to your colleagues/peer-group and consider this as your range while negotiating.
“What Challenges I faced In Finding a Job in the UAE?”
An excessive applicant for all jobs is prevalent here. Varied salary expectations of different nationalities based on their home currency and the absence of Middle-East work experience can be alarming points.
Finding the right opportunity that matches experience and skills is very important. It is very normal to find a very significant gap in salary expectations and salary offered based on company and industry. Understanding the labor laws and reading the offer letter before signing it was quite critical.
Concluding it all…
I would suggest that the key to long term success is not to compromise on job satisfaction by taking up any opportunity. Do not compromise much on the job role as subsequent opportunities may have an impact.
Also, the preliminary choice of career is necessary. Be clear and decisive whether you would like to work in finance or audit or taxation or outside of it!
Having patience and a positive attitude is necessary throughout the journey. Give yourself a weekly break and meet people and seek their advice based on how they found a job.
Be open to networking and seeking help. Approaching all your connections and relevant persons in the industry is key to find a job.
Consider having some international qualifications and ensure that you have a financial advantage of working away from your home country. Analyze the cost of living and the one-time expenditures thoroughly and have your savings ready in advance.
Now It’s Your Turn…
Are you ready to move to the UAE someday? Have any questions?
Ping in the comment box below!
(Image by Ankit Lodhi)