Globally, the UAE ranks as the fourth best destination for an international career and the best country in the Middle East and Asia for expat jobseekers, new data released by HSBC's annual Expat Explorer Survey has revealed.
The UAE - which followed Switzerland, Germany and Sweden that were respectively the top three destinations for a career abroad - has improved its ranking from sixth place in 2015 to claim the coveted position as one of the places expats most look to in order to build their careers.
In earnings prospects, the UAE has been ranked third and for the benefits packages fifth globally. In earnings criterion, the UAE has been consistently sought-after by jobseekers as the average salaries here are 14 per cent higher than the global average. Nearly two-thirds of expats in the UAE (65 per cent) said they earn more than in their home country; only Switzerland (75 per cent) and Qatar (66 per cent) had a higher proportion of people that associated with this view.
The latest survey examined the responses of nearly 27,000 expats from across the world and 3,092 in the UAE to assess their views towards their careers in their host countries. In particular, the new data examines the views of people towards their host countries across eight categories: chances to acquire new skills; work-life balance; work culture; career progression; fulfilling work; benefits packages; and earnings prospects.
"The UAE improved across all eight indicators in comparison to the views of expats in 2015, indicating the continually improving work environment for people in the country," HSBC said.
Kunal Malani, head of customer value management, Mena, retail banking and wealth management, HSBC Middle East, said it is not surprising to see that the UAE continues to be rated highly globally for the financial benefits it offers. "This has been one of the cornerstones of why people seek career opportunities here and it is indicative of the success of the government's focus on diversification, which has resulted in the creation of an internationally-recognised and sought-after working environment with world-class infrastructure and services. Given these advantages, expats moving to and living in the UAE should look to make the best of their lives abroad."
Human resources consultants expect a rebound in recruitment in the UAE in early 2017 after a long lull. According to classifieds website EZHeights, there would be a 30 per cent increase in the demand for employees across different industries in 2017.
According to Monster.com, the pick-up in new jobs would gather momentum closer to Expo 2020.
According to a survey conducted with recruiters, 44 per cent of the upcoming positions in the UAE will be in the mid management level and 25 per cent in the senior management level.
James Mathew, senior partner, Crowe Horwath, and secretary-general of the Indian Business and Professional Council (IBPC), Dubai, said better opportunity and more earnings could be the key reasons for expat jobseekers to choose the UAE.
"But what makes them stay and make the UAE their second home is the conducive environment that the government has ensured, whether it is the law and order, tax-free income, security, peaceful environment, recreational avenues or the standard of living. For entrepreneurs, it is the tax regime, business policies and prospects, for smart professionals, it is the opportunity for career progression, chance to enhance their skills and for blue-collar workers, the savings. The UAE gives every genre their own reasons to dwell."
Abbas Ali Mirza, former president of IBPC, said the UAE offers lucrative employment packages and good career progression opportunities. "In addition, with expats from so many countries working here, the international exposure is tremendous. Several multinationals have a business presence here and, therefore, career options are quite attractive too."
The HSBC survey revealed that in terms of career progression, the UAE ranked among the top 10, with over half of expats recognising this to be the case since they moved from their home countries. While places such as Hong Kong (first), Singapore (second), UK (third) and US (fourth) rated highest in this area, expats in these countries highlighted that this is offset by a poor work-life balance, with all of these countries being below the global average in that category.
While the UAE was much closer to the global average when it came to work-life balance (24th), it rated highly for work culture (11th). Over half of expats (54 per cent) stated that moving to the country gave them a chance to acquire new skills and that their work here is more fulfilling. Also, expats in the UAE said views towards these areas have improved over the past year, with more residents reflecting positive sentiments on these points compared to their attitudes in 2015.
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