Middle East regarded by expats as a promising and attractive place, survey shows

by Ray Clancy on December 17, 2010

Gulf Coast Countries Offer Attractive Work for Expats

The Middle East is a promising and attractive place for expats despite the demise of the once traditional expat packages that many now regard as unfair, a new poll reveals.

Just over a third of expats, 35%, said their companies were still giving special expat packages while 44.9% said they were not, according to the survey from Bayt, a leading Middle East job site.

When asked if they thought the days of special GCC packages were over 45.3% replied that they were, some 29.1% no and 25.5 % said they did not know.

‘The figures are interesting because they show that with the current global economic crisis and increasing economic maturity in the region, there seems to be some degree of downward pressure on traditional regional expat packages,’ said Amer Zureikat.

Bayt.comThe majority, some 66.4% said that their companies’ pay policies depended on nationality, while 21.3% said they were not and 12.3% said they did not know. However, when asked if they considered special packages to be fair, 38.8% of respondents said they were indeed fair, 39.2% said they were not and 22% said they did not know.

‘There seems to be a growing feeling in the region that special packages are unfair. This could be linked to the rise of more qualified and seasoned regional employees who do not feel it is necessary to pay expats more for the same type of work as well as the increased sophistication of regional employers who have embraced global pay policies and practices,’ added Zureikat.

When asked what special benefits expats working on their companies received, 21.6% said more pay, 4.7% said more housing allowances, 3.7% said schooling for children, 0.3% said club memberships, 7.5% said plane tickets home, 10.3% said better training and development and 51.8% answered many or all of the above.

Asked what would most induce them to move or stay abroad as expats, 44.7% said improved financial prospects, 31.2% overall lifestyle enhancements, 18.1% career opportunities that don’t exist at home, 2.4% health and/or education facilities that don’t exist at home and 3.6% said other.

Expats were also asked if their overall life quality had improved since their move and more than half, 54.3%), said yes, 20.6% said their quality of life was the same as at home and 25.2% said it was worse. Some 30.5% said they could save substantially more, 27.9% said reasonably so, 20.6% said marginally more and 21% said they were not saving more.

‘We conducted this poll to chart the region’s current expat opportunities and the level of satisfaction current expat employees felt. Our poll showed that in the end, despite the fact that the economic crisis did impact the region, the Middle East is still a promising and attractive place for expats looking for a better quality of life and an opportunity to save money,’ concluded Zureikat.

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