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4 in 10 UAE Expatriate Ready to Leave


1st March 2009, Dubai
A recent survey by the market research company Real Opinions shows that 4 in 10 expatriate employees in the UAE say they are likely to look for employment in another country and leave the UAE over the coming 12 months.

In terms of job security, 17% of respondents felt they would most likely lose their job or be made redundant over the coming 12 months with 8% of respondents said this had already happened to them.

Q. How likely or unlikely do you think the following will happen over the coming 12 months?

Yellow pie chart

Dan Healy, the CEO of Real Opinions who conducted the survey commented ‘These results were collected just prior to what appears to be a timely intervention by the UAE federal government’s central bank purchasing a $10bn bond issued by the government of Dubai under a $20bn program. This should go some way in restoring job security for expatriate employees if the funds are used to re-invigorate organizations and projects, but there still exist some serious challenges and expatriates appear to be using this as a time to evaluate their options rather than to leave their fate to the decision of others.'

Compared to other countries they could also live in, the UAE was considered better by 58% of expatriate respondents, further emphasizing the 4 in 10 ratio who are looking elsewhere and expect to leave. Of particular concern to expatriates is their dissatisfaction with their overall cost of living with 75% stating they are dissatisfied (45% ‘Very dissatisfied’).

Healy commented, ‘Job insecurity is one side of the story for expatriates, the other is the cost of living in the UAE in deciding to leave the UAE. The largest share of wallet expense for many is accommodation and 62% are dissatisfied with this and for those with children 77% are dissatisfied with the standard and quality of education for the cost.'

Another alternative considered likely for 34% of expatriate workers in the coming 12 months is the idea of starting their own businesses. Healy added, “The challenge will be for the UAE government to ensure the economic climate and ease of setting up a company is such to entice entrepreneurial expatriates to set-up in the UAE and not in another country. Cost of set-up and rent will be particularly acute for them and viable options will help in this process together with the general cost of living”

About Real Opinions
Real Opinions is a full-service market research company, specialising in online media, with global and Middle East research expertise and best practice. Based in Dubai and London, Real Opinions has proven ability to help strategically guide communication, insight and assess the effectiveness of campaigns.

Real Opinions is an accredited member of ESOMAR, an international organisation for market research. For more information about us and this study, please visit

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