Monday 02, January 2017 by Jessica Combes

UAE among top five career destinations globally according to expats

The UAE has been recognised as the top country in the Middle East and Asia and ranked fourth best destination globally for an international career.

According to new data released by HSBC’s annual Expat Explorer Survey, the country improved from sixth place in 2015, in order to claim a position as one of the places expats most look to in order to build their careers. The UAE followed Switzerland, Germany and Sweden, which were respectively the top destinations for a career abroad.  

In its ninth edition, HSBC Expat Explorer: Achieving Ambitions Abroad 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. The new data takes into account 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.

The UAE was highlighted as one of the top international career destinations by expats due to its earnings prospects, ranked third overall, and the benefits packages offered by employers where it ranked fifth. The former, in particular, is an area that the UAE is consistently recognised for, with average salaries here being 14 per cent higher than the global average. Sixty-five per cent 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, at 75 per cent and 66 per cent respectively.  

The positive attitudes expressed towards the benefits packages offered by employers in the country were closely linked. The Middle East and Africa region led the way in this regard with Saudi Arabia at 95 per cent, Egypt and Oman both at 94 per cent, Kenya at 93 per cent, and the UAE at 93 per cent 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, 91 per cent of expacts 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. 

“Through the results of the research, it’s 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,” said Kunal Malani, Head of Customer Value Management, MENA, Retail Banking and Wealth Management, HSBC Middle East.

The UAE ranked eighth in terms of career progression, with 54 per cent of expats recognising this to be the case since they moved from their home countries. While places such as Hong Kong, Singapore, UK and US 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. 

In terms of the UAE, while the country was much closer to the global average when it came to work-life balance, ranked 24th, it rated highly for work culture, 11th. Additionally, 54 per cent of expats said moving to the country gave them a chance to acquire new skills, and 51 per cent said that their work here is more fulfilling. UAE-based expats stated that 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.  

Malani added that we move into the New Year, many people see a move abroad as a chance for a fresh start or for an opportunity to meet their personal goals such as creating a secure financial future for themselves and their families, and professional ambitions such as making strides in their careers.


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