UAE named as top destination for professional expats

by Ray Clancy on August 12, 2015

The United Arab Emirates is attracting more professional expats than any other country in the world, while once popular locations such as France and Spain are seeing them move away, new research has found.

The UAE saw the biggest number of professionals from overseas in 2014, with an overall gain of 1.89%, according to the study from careers website LinkedIn, which covered more than 380 million members around the world.

UAEflagNext was Switzerland with a gain of 0.9%, Saudi Arabia up by 0.85%, Singapore up 0.47%, Germany up 0.44% and South Africa up by 0.26%. But Australia saw a gain of just 0.17% and Canada 0.16%.

Once popular expat locations saw their numbers fall. The top loss was seen in India with a fall of 0.23%, followed by France down by 0.2%, Italy by 0.19%, Spain by 0.18% and the UK down by 0.12%. The United States also had fewer high calibre expats with a fall of 0.06%.

Most professionals who moved to the UAE had jobs in professional services, including architects, engineers, IT, accountants, corporate finance and insurance.

“This is the second year that the UAE has been revealed as the most attractive destination for professionals,” said Ali Matar, head of talent solutions at LinkedIn Middle East and North Africa (Mena).

India remains the top source country for expat professionals in the UAE, but numbers from the UK, the US and Qatar are increasing.

“The UAE’s attractiveness as an employment market is no longer limited to the traditional sources of talent, which for years have been India, Pakistan and other Arab states. This confirms the emirate’s status as a strong economy and an appealing working environment that is highly capable of competing on a global scale,” said Matar.

Meanwhile, separate research from international health firm Aetna shows that Americans are keen on moving to the UAE. An analysis of Google trends data found that the top destinations for jobs searched by Americans was London with Dubai in second place, followed by Singapore, Paris and Rome.

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