UAE still lures career-minded expats despite rising costs, says HSBC

Expat Explorer 2016 survey says expats still recognise the UAE for the financial benefits it provides
UAE still lures career-minded expats despite rising costs, says HSBC
By Staff writer
Sun 02 Oct 2016 10:14 AM

Career-orientated expats are continuing to be attracted by the economic and political stability in the UAE compared to other markets globally, according to HSBC's Expat Explorer 2016 survey.

Despite complex macroeconomic conditions and rising prices, people recognise the UAE for the financial benefits it provides, along with the safety and high quality of life for families, HSBC said in a statement.

The country was ranked 12th out of 45 markets around the world by expats as a destination to live and work, while Singapore, New Zealand and Canada were chosen as the top three markets globally.

HSBC Expat Explorer, which examined the responses of nearly 27,000 expats from across the world and 3,092 in the UAE, showed that the UAE was highlighted by expats as a safe haven, with nearly 8 in 10 (78 percent) selecting it for being more politically stable than their home countries.

This sentiment far exceeds the global average of 51 percent, revealing the degree of uncertainty expats in some other markets have towards their host countries. 

According to the research, nearly 6 in 10 (57 percent) are confident about the local economy, but this represents a 4 percent drop in the number of UAE-based expats that expressed the same attitude in 2015.

Nonetheless, sentiments in the UAE are the highest in the Middle East, and are above the global average of 52 percent, HSBC said.

It said the UAE also continues to be recognised for starting a business (53 percent) and advancing a career (54 percent), sentiments that rose from last year and exceed the global average of 43 percent and 38 percent, respectively.

Two-thirds (66 percent) of expats state they earn more in the UAE compared to their home countries, evidenced by respondents reporting an average salary that is about 14 percent higher than the global average.

Kunal Malani, head of Customer Value Management, MENA, Retail Banking and Wealth Management, HSBC Middle East, said: "It's no surprise that the UAE continues to be ranked highly for the financial opportunities it provides expats from around the world, as this has been a consistent trend in the past few years of the survey.

"Whether it's the higher earning potential and tax-free income, or the world-class infrastructure available for entrepreneurs, the country has steadily been growing as a beacon for career-driven expatriates."

Nearly all (93 percent) expats in the UAE say that they receive benefits, such as airfare allowance, as part of their employment contracts, far exceeding the global average of 33 percent.

According to the report, almost two-thirds of residents in the UAE (63 percent) say that their disposable income has risen since moving from their home countries, ahead of the global average of 56 percent, while a similar proportion (62 percent) say that they are able to save more.

HSBC's report also showed that over 6 in 10 (61 percent) believe that their quality of life has improved since moving, compared to the global average of 52 percent. However, costs are a rising concern, particularly in terms of children's education.

Malani added: "Despite cyclical macroeconomic issues and rising expenses, the fundamentals of the UAE remain strong. We also see that a majority of expats realise that the government has continually worked to enhance the living conditions of those who choose to make this country their home."

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