Dubai And Abu Dhabi Ranks In Top 5Preferred Global Work Destinations, Reveals BCG Study

Dubai And Abu Dhabi Ranks In Top 5Preferred Global Work Destinations, Reveals BCG Study

Boston Consulting Group (BCG), in collaboration with The Network and The Stepstone Group, has released a pivotal report, “Decoding Global Talent 2024,” highlighting the UAE’s position in the global talent arena. The study unravels the shifting dynamics of the international workforce, emphasizing the UAE’s strengthening appeal for professionals worldwide. The comprehensive survey, part of a BCG series tracing talent trends since 2014, integrates views from over 150,000 professionals in 188 countries.

According to recent data, the UAE has made significant progress in attractiveness, now ranking 14th. Dubai and Abu Dhabi are the respondents’ 3rd and 4th most preferred cities. In a global survey, an impressive 73% of respondents cited the quality of job opportunities as the main reason for being drawn to the UAE. At the same time, income, tax, and cost of living considerations ranked 62% and quality of life at 61%. These elements collectively position the UAE as a top destination for professionals. Additionally, these factors resonate with the broader motivations for working abroad, which include safety, stability, and inclusivity. In April 2022, the UAE Cabinet introduced new visa schemes to attract global talent, expanding opportunities in burgeoning sectors like private equity, venture capital, and AI.

“The UAE continues to carve a reputation as a fertile ground for career growth, drawing talents, especially from the Middle East and beyond,” said Maya ElHachem, Managing Director and Partner, UAE BCG Office Lead. “The report presents a UAE that is not just keeping pace but setting the pace in the global talent marketplace. The strategic positioning of the Emirates, accentuated by its safety and progressive outlook, makes it a burgeoning hotspot for the global workforce. In addition, the confluence of exceptional job quality, competitive incomes, and an enriching lifestyle makes the UAE a beacon for ambitious professionals. The UAE’s advancement in global ranks further substantiates its commitment to cultivating an environment thriving on diversity and opportunity.”

Employment Beyond Borders: A Dive into Relocation Trends

Despite fluctuating global circumstances, the appeal of international relocation for career advancement remains robust. The overall willingness to move abroad for work in the UAE has seen an uptick from 55% in 2018 to 73% in 2023. However, the percentage of those actively seeking opportunities abroad has remained consistent, hovering around 21-23%.

An in-depth look at the UAE’s workforce reveals sector-specific dynamics influencing global mobility trends. The workforce showcased a significant willingness to work abroad across various job titles in engineering and technical roles, which show the highest willingness for mobility at 91%, followed by health and medicine at 82%, financial services at 73%, and marketing and sales at 63%.

Financial motivations were the most common reason for relocation among 67% of respondents in the UAE. Career considerations and better overall quality of life were also important factors, with 53% and 56% of respondents citing them as drivers for relocation, respectively. Other reasons for relocation included having a concrete job offer, seeking personal growth and cultural experience, wanting more exciting or challenging work, better educational or training opportunities, a better social system and healthcare, political stability, a more inclusive society, environmental factors, and reuniting with family and friends.

Recent findings reveal that 49% of UAE respondents prefer long-term international assignments for work, significantly higher than the global average of 29%. Reflecting the UAE workforce’s growing international outlook, their expectations for employment support also align closely with global trends. Notably, 72% of UAE respondents prioritize housing, compared to 79% globally, and 86% value visa assistance, slightly above the global rate of 78%. Other key expectations for UAE workers include relocation support, favored by 63% locally versus 69% globally; language support and training, with 48% UAE respondents compared to 54% worldwide; and legal financial advice, important to 41% in the UAE and 43% internationally.

The inclination of foreign employers towards remote work is another facet of the evolving labor landscape, which is seeing a marked rise both within the UAE and worldwide. From 2020 to 2023, the willingness to engage in remote work has increased in the UAE from 50% to 56% and worldwide from 57% to 66%, highlighting a shift towards more flexible working arrangements. Notably, the drive for offshore opportunities from the UAE experiences an uptick, mirroring sentiments favoring flexible, cross-border work arrangements.

“Global talent mobility is at a critical juncture, where evolving preferences and emerging opportunities are reshaping traditional pathways,” stated Dr. Leila Hoteit, Managing Director and Senior Partner at BCG, Global lead for Education, Employment and Welfare. “The boundaries of global talent mobility are expanding, driven by a complex interplay of personal ambition, sector-specific demands, and evolving work modalities. Understanding these dynamics will help stakeholders navigate the future of work, harnessing the full potential of global talent mobility for mutual growth and development.”