Business Dress Code in the UAE

Although most local men wear a dish-dasha which is a crisp white ankle-length shift and a traditional gutra or head cloth and many local women wear an abaya which is a floor-length robe when in public, it is not advisable for expatriates or visitors to do this. Locals would not expect you to do this.

Throughout the Emirates, work attire tends to be quite formal, except on Thursdays, when many companies adopt a casual look. This would include suits or very smart business casual for men.
Women should dress always modestly which includes covering shoulders, upper arms and knees. This is especially important during Ramadan.

It is an obvious thing to say but the region is extremely hot for most of the year (although evenings can be cool at times) and it is essential that you take lightweight fabrics and lots of changes of shirts etc.

A brief overview of some key concepts to consider when doing business in the United Arab Emirates

Written and Produced by Keith Warburton

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This country profile has been produced to give a short overview of some of the key concepts to bear in mind when doing business with contacts in the United Arab Emirates. It is intended to be an aid to business people who have commercial dealings with counterparties in the country but should not be seen as an exhaustive guide to this topic or as a substitute for more substantial research should there be a need.

With this in mind, we have covered the areas which are key to a better understanding of the cultural mindset underpinning business dealings in the United Arab Emirates and which are, quite often, extremely different from the approach and thought processes associated with business in other parts of the world.

Therefore this briefing note is broken into short, bite-sized sections on the following topics:

  • Background to business
  • Business Structures
  • Management style
  • Meetings
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Women in business
  • Entertaining
  • Top tips