Expats in the UAE earn nearly AED570,000 ($155,180) on average, the sixth highest in the world, according to the latest edition of HSBC's Expat Explorer study.
The UAE was ranked the 10th best country overall to live and work in but scored higher (4th) for economics, with a fifth of expatriates saying their salaries have at least doubled since they made the shift to the UAE.
Only expats in Switzerland, USA, Hong Kong, China and Singapore earned more than those in the UAE, the survey showed.
The UAE was ranked 16th for experience and 19th for family, it added, giving the overall ranking of 10th, down three places on the 2017 report.
The 2018 study said that while 46 percent came to the UAE to progress their career and 38 percent to improve their quality of life, the most common reason for a move was the chance to increase their earnings (55 percent).
"The financial benefits of a new life here can be substantial. Those working and earning here say their income has increased by 40 percent on average compared with 25 percent for expats globally. More than a fifth even say it has at least doubled since the move," it added.
Although job security is a concern for around two in every
five expats in the UAE, the knock-on effects of their salary boost are dramatic. Two thirds say they have more disposable income now, despite a high cost of living.
Eighty-five percent of expats said they have used the extra cash to improve their long-term finances – paying off any debts and building up savings.
Although the nation is down to 19th for family this year, more than half the expats here have their children with them, a trend that plays out across the region.
The truth is that only a fifth of a typical expat’s wealth remains in the UAE, with most returning to the expat’s home country, the report said, adding that almost two thirds have lived here for more than five years.
Bahrain was the top ranked country in the Middle East, placed fifth globally, up four places from 9th last year while the list was topped by Singapore for the fourth year running, ahead of New Zealand and Germany. Saudi Arabia was ranked 26th.
The report said: "People are drawn to Bahrain for its exciting career prospects and laid-back lifestyle.
"Although an Islamic state, Bahrain is considered to be more liberal than neighbours Saudi Arabia and Qatar. This tiny kingdom is a melting pot of cultures, with expats and migrant workers making up more than half the population."
The 2018 Expat Explorer survey is a global survey completed by 22,318 expats across the world. The research was conducted online by YouGov in March and April 2018.For all the latest banking and finance news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.