Happiness in the UAE: A Reverse Brain Drain

If people did get on their bike to go to where there was work, many of them would be heading in this direction - not just for a job, but to feel (and actually be) better off financially...
Happiness in the UAE: A Reverse Brain Drain
By WhichSchoolAdvisor.com
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British politician, Norman Tebbit, was famous for telling workers in the UK that they needed to "get on their bike", leave their homes, and to go where job opportunities were. Speaking at the time of a structural shift in the UK economy marked by mass unemployment and the devastation of some of its communities his harshness was much reviled, but it is a mantra many of you have wittingly or unwittingly taken according to the findings of the WhichSchoolAdvisor.com survey.

Employment prospects are a major draw to the country, and without doubt a UAE key selling point. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, is very aware of this, recently writing on the "reverse brain drain" effect to countries like the UAE... If you have not read it, do so - it's a very good read.

Statistically we can see the reverse brain drain is very real, and driven by opportunities. We asked whether you felt employment prospects in the UAE were Much Better, Better, The Same, Worse or Much Worse than those in your home country. The majority of you see the UAE as a considerably better option for your career than being at home.

Just under 30% of you believe that employment prospects in the UAE are much better than in your home country, and 37.75% of you think they are better. In total 22.09% of you think they are the same.

That leaves just 10% of respondents think they could get a better job in their home country. (A number of respondents said they were UAE Nationals, and therefore the question was not relevant).

Answers were pretty similar, although even more marked, when respondents were asked to compare their current salary (with benefits) with what they could expect to earn in their home country.

In total 37.62% think that their salary was much better than they could get in their home country, 41.46% of respondents think it is better, 13.13% think they would earn the same, 5.52% think they could do better at home, and 1.36% think they could secure a "much better" salary at home.

These responses are reflected, but softened, for the more general question as to whether "materially" respondents would be better off in the UAE or at home. Just 13% of respondents felt they would be better off in their home country, while 68.75% said they are better off in the UAE, and 17.35% felt there would be no difference in living standards.

The reason why some respondents can feel they have better employment prospects, and a better salary, but not feel so materially better off is that in other areas of life, the UAE can fall short. In the survey we asked about two of life's other necessities - health cover, and education costs.

For health cover 22.94% of respondents feel they are much better off in the UAE, 26.97% think they are better covered, 22.87% feel they have the same level of coverage, and 19.36% of respondents think health cover is not as good as it is in their home country.

In terms of the COST of education provision, a measly 5.03% of respondents think that they get a much better deal in the UAE, just 4.7% think they get a better deal, 14.75% think they get the same deal, 26% think they lose financially living in the UAE, and a staggering 26.01% think that they are MUCH worse off when it comes to paying for education in the emirate.

That said, on balance and overall most UAE residents think the equation is working for them. Just less than 2 in 10 believe they would be better off in their home country in terms of an overall 'standard of life', 14.58% think they would be the same, and 64.91% - over two-thirds of respondents - think they enjoy a better standard of life in the UAE.


The Happiness Survey – Start Here
Happiness in the UAE: An Infographic
Happiness in the UAE: What Draws & Keeps Residents
Happiness in The UAE: A Reverse Brain Drain
Happiness in the UAE: Money can Buy It…
Happiness in the UAE: Nationality Matters
Happiness in the UAE: Location Matters
Happiness in the UAE: Family Matters
Happiness in the UAE: Females do it Better
Happiness in the UAE: Short Term Thinking


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