Happiness in the UAE: What Draws & Keeps Residents

What brings expatriates to the UAE - and then what keeps them in the country? WhichSchoolAdvisor.com digs deep into the data of its Happiness survey to find the country's secrets attractions.
Happiness in the UAE: What Draws & Keeps Residents
By WhichSchoolAdvisor.com
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WhichSchoolAdvisor's annual school survey.

The WhichSchoolAdvisor.com Happiness survey asked what is the single biggest thing that keeps you in the UAE. The two largest responses were Standard of Life, chosen by 24.83% of you, followed by Career Opportunity (19.85%). Pay, thought by many not to be a driver of happiness, is nevertheless clearly an anchor point grounding us in the UAE. It came in third, chosen by 14.47% of respondents.

If this makes UAE residents sound a bit mercenary, perhaps that is because that is exactly what we are - not in the negative sense of pay over ethics, but in the more traditional sense that we 'sell' our services in a foreign country.

noun, plural mer·ce·nar·ies.
1. a professional soldier hired to serve in a foreign army.
2. any hireling.

Other responses to the question include "No taxation" (7.35%), lack of crime (6.31%) and a bit depressingly, the "alternative is worse" (6.89%).

Interestingly, when respondents could choose multiple reasons for their stay in the UAE, the top answer remained the same - Standard of life (53.5%), however, lack of crime shot into second place, chosen by 48.55% of respondents. Pay and career opportunities brings you in, the quality of UAE life clearly keeps you here.

There are threats however. If there was one thing the UAE could do to increase the level of happiness - or certainly reduce a worry that haunts its residents - it is to ensure that residents can afford a place to live.

When asked to identify the "one things that worries you the most", 28.7% of you chose rent rises, followed by job insecurity (21.2%) and then "Money - making ends meet" (13.77%). All three options are a reflection of the reality of UAE living - as guests we need to pay our own way. The government does not provide a support mechanism for us.

Non-financial concerns fell considerably further down the list when asked to identify "one thing" that worries you. Education was only chosen by 8.62% of respondents, "legal protections" by just over 10% and "my children's exposure to the real world" by 5.7%. In total 6.94% of respondents said they were not worried - an answer chosen by the majority of Emirati respondents to the survey.

The balance of concerns did not change much when respondents could choose multiple answers.


A caveat

What people are chasing, and what they identify as the thing that keeps them in the UAE, are not those things that mark the happiest people.

The secret to happy people seems to be to stop striving for the material goals the majority of respondents clearly think will deliver it.

Those that are happiest are those not driven by pay rises, salary or career opportunity, but those who say they "just appreciate the life" in the UAE, or "are just happy here".

That does not mean that financial issues do not help deliver happiness, they do - but how you approach life matters as much, if not more so...


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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