Enjoy our faster App experience

Covid-19: UAE among most preferred countries to work amid pandemic


Dubai - The UAE’s status as being less impacted by the pandemic than other countries is a key factor behind its heightened appeal on the world stage.

By Waheed Abbas

Published: Sun 14 Mar 2021, 4:37 PM

The UAE’s attractiveness as a preferred place to work among foreign professionals continues to improve, thanks to its strong response to contain the Covid-19 outbreak, which strengthened the nation’s image and ranking worldwide, says a new global study released on Sunday.

The UAE jumped six places to emerge as the 13thmost preferred destination to work worldwide in a survey that featured 209,000 respondents across 190 countries, according to a study by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Bayt.com.

“The UAE’s status as being less impacted by the pandemic than other countries is a key factor behind its heightened appeal on the world stage, with several notable cities considered much less appealing compared to two years ago,” said Dr Christopher Daniel, managing director (MD) and partner, BCG Middle East.

“Dubai and Abu Dhabi are among the latest success stories in the global city ranking, solidifying their improved positions on the back of the UAE proving to be a regional safe haven in a year of unprecedented healthcare crisis,” he added.

The UAE has administered more than 6.5 million (m) Covid-19 vaccine doses till Saturday (March 13) and is poised to reach its target of 50 per cent of the country’s population soon. The UAE continues to be second best globally in terms of the cumulative Covid-19 doses administered per 100 people after Israel, according to the figures available in the Our World in Data website.

The aggressive vaccination drive by the UAE government helped further improve the country’s position as a safe and secure destination to live and work.

The survey results showed that Dubai rose from number six in 2018 to number three in 2020, as respondents cited renewed Expo 2021 potential and the swift restart and support of the private sector despite the Covid-19 challenges are the key incentives.

Abu Dhabi’s rankings climbed from 51 in 2014 to 14 in 2018 and to fifthlast year, helped by the government's commitment to overhaul its processes, the proximity of people to leadership, high government investment, and a new economic development strategy.

Around 90 per cent of the UAE’s survey participants were expatriates with an average age of 38, broadly reflecting the composition of the country’s population.

“Given that the national workforce is heavily comprised of foreign workers, the country attracts a highly mobile workforce and 94 per cent of UAE workers were also willing to work abroad in 2020 compared to 50 per cent globally,” said Dr Daniel.

A recent study by Adecco Middle East, a global recruitment and human resources (HR) Solutions firm, has also revealed that the UAE was also rated highly when it comes to retaining the talent. The UAE scored 67 points, while Turkey, Tunisia and Greece achieved 48, 46, and 67 points, respectively.

“The job market has witnessed many changes over the past few months. The Covid-19 pandemic that is being battled across the globe has redefined major operations and processes, placing companies in every industry under pressure to make the transition to virtual workplaces. As such, the vast majority of professionals and businesses have adopted remote working, enabling them to remain competitive and ensure continuity,” said Ola Haddad, director of HR at Bayt.com.

However, fewer Emiratis – 50 per cent – said they would move abroad to work, with strong community links as the potential reason behind their response.

“Restrictive immigration policies have already weakened the mobility trend,” said Rainer Strack, Senior Partner at BCG.

“Covid-19 is a new variable that is making people cautious about considering international relocation. And with the rise of remote working, many may feel that they can further their careers virtually, without needing to move at all,” he added.

Top cities to work





>Abu Dhabi



>New York



Top countries where people would want to move to for work:










>New Zealand

Percentage of residents who want to or already working abroad

>94% from UAE

>93% from Qatar

>87% from India

>83 from Pakistan

>68% from Egypt

>55% from France

>53% from Saudi Arabia

>48% from UK

>40% from US

>28% from China

Source: BCG, Adecco Middle East, KT Research


More news from coronavirus