Futureproof Your Career: Job Opportunities in the UAE's Smart City Revolution

5 Minutes

There are numbers of huge smart cities currently in the planning or development phase in the middle east, either re-developed from existing, historic cities or completely new cities starting from inception. With large investment and innovative plans to change the landscape in both Dubai and Saudi Arabia, it’s an exciting time to live and work in these areas. The UAE is a prime location for developing smart cities, with huge global brands coming together in all three stages of the process from planning, development and operations. We’re seeing projects evolving in Riyadh and AlUla - Saudi Arabia and Masdar City – Abu Dhabi.

Not only do these smart cities impact life and the landscape across the UAE, it also creates huge opportunity for the economy, business growth and the jobs market. Many smart city projects are funded by the Public Investment Fund, governmental projects with significant financial investment, enabling these innovative and sustainable projects to come to life in relatively short timeframes.

Organisations involved in these projects are keen to attract a diverse range of talent from local Saudi nationals to talent located around the world, offering enticing packages to encourage candidates to consider relocation opportunities. There are huge, often unlimited budgets for smart city projects which enables businesses the scope to create unique and financially driven packages to attract top talent from various global locations.

Phases of Smart City Development

The process of developing smart cities runs through various stages and the phases are fluid dependent on individual projects, resources and the context of development. There is more emphasis on sustainability, social equity and resilience during each phase of the development process. Typically, smart cities are known to go through a four-phase process which gives a comprehensive framework for the various stages in smart city development, however phases can overlap and evolve as part of a continuous process.

  1. Exploration and Discovery – This is where landscapes are assessed as part of the research and planning phase, understanding smart city needs and identifying the best possible solutions.
  2. Shaping and Development – Projects are developed, with strategies put in place and funding and financials secured. In this stage, huge project management consultancies will tender for winning large projects, which they will then contract out to multiple stakeholders should they successfully win the contract.
  3. Implementation – At this stage, we see the execution of projects, the operational phase where construction is well underway, with system integration and development of technology.
  4. Enhance – This is the post-development phase where results are monitored, improvements are made and an ongoing process of scaling successful solutions.

The Jobs that Drive the Development of Smart Cities

Throughout each stage of the development of smart cities, there are core job opportunities available based on the demand at different phases, we highlight some of the most common and sought after roles throughout each stage below:

Exploration and Discovery

  • Sustainability Experts
  • Urban Planners
  • Policy Analysts
  • Economists
  • Technology Consultants

Shaping and Development

  • Project Managers
  • Data & Software Engineers
  • Procurement Specialists
  • Marketing & Communications Specialists
  • Legal Experts


  • Construction & Infrastructure Specialists
  • Maintenance & Operations Teams
  • System Integrators & Data Analysts
  • Training & Development Specialists
  • IoT Specialists


  • Performance & Evaluation Specialists
  • Data Scientists & AI Experts
  • User Experience Specialists
  • Research & Development Specialists
  • Social Innovation & Change Management Specialists

Throughout the different phases of development, these are some of the most prevalent job roles in demand, requiring strong skillsets and technical experience. The development of smart cities offers a diverse range of opportunities, attracting talent from all backgrounds, industries and global locations with exciting opportunities to play a key role in shaping the future of smart cities.

Why relocate to work in smart cities in the UAE?

For some, the thought of relocating to the UAE for work may be quite daunting, and without having the knowledge and awareness of the benefits a potential relocation can bring, many wouldn’t consider it as an option. However, moving to the middle east to be involved in smart city development projects can be incredibly rewarding and have a range of benefits both on a personal and professional level.

What are the benefits?

  • An opportunity to be at the forefront of innovation
  • Highly competitive salaries and benefits packages
  • Excellent career development opportunities
  • Exposure to new cultures and experiences
  • High quality lifestyle and top-level infrastructure
  • Opportunity to drive change and make an impact

Riyad Makhoul, Head of Saudization Recruitment at CSG Talent “Approaching candidates about job opportunities on such large scale and innovative projects is a great way to engage and excite potential candidates, allowing them involvement in driving change. Not only are these roles playing a significant part in well-renowned, high scale and high investment projects, but they are also extremely well paid with many other appealing benefits too. Having the opportunity to be involved and gain experience on such large-scale projects has a positive impact on a candidates CV, career development and future opportunities available to them and this is something we are finding is very well received by the candidates we are working with.”

While there are many benefits of relocating to the UAE for job opportunities in smart cities, it’s really important to carefully consider and plan before committing to the move. Working with an expert recruiter based in the UAE who can not only advise you on a professional and career level, but also from a personal and lifestyle perspective will allow you to make informed decisions and maximise your experience.

Working with a global recruitment partner like CSG Talent 

The recruitment team at CSG Talent based in the UAE are heavily involved in finding talent to support the growth of smart cities across Dubai and Saudi Arabia. The team work on large scale projects at each stage of the process, however most recently, there is a particular focus on the Construction and Property Management sectors in the implementation phase of the smart city development cycle, based on the current stage of projects.

The construction and property management recruitment team at CSG Talent are actively sourcing and placing talent in a number of roles working across projects led by NEOM, Aecom and Atkins Global. There is a wealth of opportunities available both for Saudi nationals and candidates from the across the globe keen to relocate for new job opportunities. As with all areas, there are talent shortages across the globe and that’s no different for the middle east, there are far more jobs available now, and in the pipeline than there are candidates available.  

At CSG Talent, the key to our success is the strong, trusted relationships we build with our clients and candidates, with honest, open and frequent communication between all parties. Not only that, but our bilingual team also enables us to have transparent conversations with nationals, ensuring full trust and understanding throughout each step of the process. We know ourselves, and through feedback from our clients and candidates that this is a huge factor in the success of our recruitment partnerships.

Our expert recruiters can effectively build rapport with candidates and clients, understand any cultural differences, career and lifestyle motivations, which we know from experience can often be difficult with language barriers. With this level of understanding and insight, the team can effectively source the most relevant talent for clients from a skill, experience and culture perspective to ensure candidates hired remain the businesses in the long term.

Riyad Makhoul, Head of Saudization Recruitment at CSG Talent – “As a Saudi national myself, I build strong relationships with both candidates and clients throughout the hiring process, this enables me to be successful in sourcing talent for my clients and opening the door to exciting job opportunities for candidates both based in Saudi Arabia and those relocating from overseas. It’s important to build rapport and trust with those I’m working in partnership with, understanding motivations, personal and professional circumstances and having in-depth insights into cultural and geographical differences.”

With access to talent pools across the globe, CSG Talent can effectively source talent from a variety of international locations, with the relevant experience and expertise desired by businesses looking to drive smart city projects forward. We can effectively support working professionals to source a new career opportunity in the UAE, allowing them to secure exciting job roles as part of huge smart city developments. If you’re keen to explore further, contact our expert recruiters based in the UAE.