The United Arab Emirates (UAE) provides many economic opportunities, offering career advancement and generous benefits packages in a destination with an extensive expat network. The Emirates provides a strong economy (61% of expats are confident about it) which is important given nearly two thirds (64%) living there say the financial side of life is the most important thing for them.
The thriving economy is one reason for high salary levels. Expats say they earn an average of over $124,000 p.a. in the UAE, which is $20,000 more than the global average. The high salaries on offer compensate for the more expensive cost of living with 79% stating that accommodation is more expensive than at home and 60% saying they spend more on bills (only 18% say they spend less).
Expats in the UAE are more likely to receive additional financial help from their employer beyond their salary. Twice as many (68%) expats in the country receive annual airfare allowances for trips home compared to the global average. More than half (55%) receive accommodation allowances. These benefits, combined with the high salaries on offer, mean that nearly two thirds (65%) have more disposable income despite the high living costs in the Emirates.
The UAE ranks highly for career progression as well. Over half (53%) of expats say it is a good place to advance a career, while 47% believe the country is a good place to acquire new skills – more than twice the number who do not believe this is the case. A similar percentage (50%) believe the country is a good place to start a business (just 13% disagree with this view).
Outside of work, the UAE does not rank as strong as elsewhere in the world, though 53% feel it is getting better as a place to live and work (compared to the global average of 34%). Expats find it harder to integrate with the local people and culture than in other destinations and only 42% believe they have done so successfully (compared with the global average of 61%). For families, raising children is expensive. Less than one in 10 (6%) say this is less expensive than in their country of origin.
Overall though, the Emirates is a popular choice for expats and three in five (60%) feel their overall quality of life is better living there.