Expats have recognized the UAE as the fourth best destination globally for an international career, according to new data released by HSBC’s annual Expat Explorer Survey.

Data showed that the country improved from sixth place in 2015, to claim a position as one of the places expats most look to in order to build their careers.

The UAE ranked as the best country in the Middle East and Asia, and followed Switzerland, Germany and Sweden, which were respectively the top destinations for a career abroad.

HSBC study 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.

New data examined 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.

Career prospects

Among the primary reasons expats highlighted the UAE as one of the top international career destinations was for its earnings prospects (ranked 3rd), and the benefits packages offered by employers (5th).

Earnings prospects is an area that the UAE is consistently recognized for, with average salaries here being 14 per cent higher than the global average. Nearly two-thirds of expats in the country said that they earn more than in their home country; only Switzerland and Qatar had a higher proportion of people that associated with this view.

In terms of benefits packages offered by employers, the Middle East and Africa region led with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Oman, Kenya and UAE making up the top five countries where the highest proportion of expats say they receive benefits as part of their employment packages.

According to the survey, over 9 in 10 expats (91 per cent) living in the Middle East receive at least one benefit as part of their contracts, compared to the global average of 67 per cent.

In the UAE, for instance, 56 per cent of expats said they receive an accommodation allowance and 75 per cent receive health benefits.

Career Progression

The UAE ranked among the top ten (8th) in terms of career progression, with over half (54 per cent) of expats recognizing this to be the case since they moved from their home countries.

While places such as Hong Kong, Singapore, UK and US were ranked in the first four positions 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.

In terms of the UAE, while the country was much closer to the global average when it came to work-life balance (24th), it was rated highly for work culture (11th). Additionally, 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 (51 per cent).


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