Revealed: Dubai's hottest and coolest jobs – literally

As the mercury soars to highs of mid 40s, we round up some jobs that involve braving the extremes


Mazhar Farooqui

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Published: Wed 22 Jun 2022, 7:56 PM

Last updated: Mon 23 Oct 2023, 11:46 AM

Don't feel like going to work because of the hot weather? You may take comfort in knowing that people have far more challenging jobs in these stifling conditions.

Hot jobs

1. Foundry worker

At the top of our list jobs is the foundry. It’s not hard to understand why. The average temperature in a foundry hover around 100°C even after the facility shuts down. “Our workers wear specialised aluminised clothing to protect themselves when they carry out periodical maintenance in a foundry, but they cannot remain inside for more than 10-15 minutes because of the intense heat,” says Rafi Humayun of Sharjah-headquartered Al Karawan Refractories.

“Foundries have an extremely hot work environment because of the furnaces and molten metal. We are talking about temperatures exceeding 660°C. That’s the melting point of aluminium,” he adds.

2. Tandoori roti maker

Got issues with faulty air conditioning at office? Try being a tandoori roti maker. They spend anywhere between 8 and 10 hours sitting next to a 500°C oven every day, often inches away from flames. The bakers in Dubai are largely from Pakistan and Afghanistan. Their job requires them to slap kneaded dough in the inner walls of the blazing tandoor with bare hands and then using iron rods to expertly tug the bread from the oven walls and plop it in the waiting hands of customers. Imagine doing that all day without any air conditioning or protective clothing.

3. Delivery rider

Delivery bike riders endure not just hot-headed bosses and customers but also hot and humid weather as they race against time to deliver our orders. Their thick protective gear makes their job even more challenging. Some delivery companies have come up with cooling vests that lower the body temperature by up to 15°C, but a large majority has no such relief.

Delivery riders are not eligible for the mandatory midday break for outdoor workers, and only a few receive an hour-long time out from their employers.

4. Gas station attendant

Fourth on the list are gas station attendants. Unlike construction workers, they are exempt from the UAE’s mid-day break rule, which prohibits any outdoor labour work between 12.30pm and 3 pm from June 15 to September 15. “It gets tough, especially during peak hour. The heat emitted by cars and the exhaust fumes make things worse,” said a fuel attendant.

And now for some cold careers

Despite the blast furnace desert heat, some people in Dubai wear winter jackets and gloves at work because of the nature of their job. Here are our top picks.

1. Chillout Ice Lounge staff

If you love frosty temps, then this winter wonderland at Time Square Mall is just the place for you. The temperature at the café is permanently set at -6°C, making the place four degrees colder than Ski Dubai. Everything from lounge’s interiors, seating and tables is made of ice. “The staff wears thermal wear, including woollen gloves and heavy jackets as they serve hot soups, barbecues, sandwiches, juices, hot chocolates, cappuccino and tea, apart from a variety of deserts & mocktails to guests,” said Parvinder Singh of Sharaf Hospitality, the company behind Chillout Ice Lounge. “Of course, we ensure that none of the café workers are exposed to the cold for more than 12 minutes,” he said.

2. Ski Dubai instructor

Working as a ski instructor can be fun and financially rewarding anywhere in the world, but at Ski Dubai the career comes with additional perks. First, it allows you to enjoy snow amid a brutal heat wave. Second, the job does not come with the dangers and injury risks commonly associated with the sport. That’s because you will be instructing snowboarders and skiers in the protective and cool environs (-3°C) of a 22,500 indoor ski resort at Mall of the Emirates rather than an outdoor terrain. Now how cool is that?

3. Animal keeper at Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo

Third on our list are people working at the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo at Dubai Mall, particularly those who look after the penguins at a purpose-built temperature-controlled facility that replicates the subantarctic conditions. The air temperatures here is kept between 3 and 4°C while the water temperature hovers around 6°C.


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