GNcareers, from Gulf News

The Gulf dream still burns bright for expats

The Gulf dream still burns bright for expatsImage Credit: Supplied

Despite the slowing growth rates, the Gulf states remain the most favoured place in the world for expats — even young professionals — to come and realise their dreams of financial security.

Apart from the higher salaries and ''better'' work incentives, the Gulf also offer 'a less complex environment to manage finances', according to the annual 'Expat Explore' survey by HSBC.

Expats in Qatar (76 per cent of respondents) and Oman (72 per cent) are the highest in the world to say that they have more disposable income since moving, compared to a global average of 57 per cent, according to the survey.

Those white-collar professionals turned residents in Oman (76 per cent), Qatar and Saudi Arabia (75 per cent) state that 'they are able to save more since moving, far above the global average of 52 per cent'.

The UAE also ranks highly among these criteria with 65 per cent and 61 per cent of expats expressing similar sentiments.

The Expat Explorer survey polled 21,950 expats from 198 countries through an online questionnaire in March, April and May. The report measures the responses across a range of key factors including financial incentives, quality of life, ease of raising children, and the cost of living.

''We see that they (expats) are, in particular, highlighting the growth in their disposable income and their ability to save as factors boosting their long-term planning capabilities, which allow them to achieve their biggest aspirations, including purchasing a home,'' said Gifford Nakajima, Head of Regional Wealth Development, HSBC Bank Middle East Ltd.

Indeed, UAE and Gulf developers have a lot of reasons to be encouraged by the findings. One key finding suggests that Gulf expats are by far more likely to say they 'can own additional property' in their new host country.

Of even more importance is the suggestion that young expats in Qatar (31 per cent of respondents) and the UAE (25 per cent) figure among the top tier in saying that they can afford property in their host countries. Among other countries favoured by expats, only Canada (with 26 per cent) had a high share of the younger ones confident in their ability to buy property there.

This is backed by a majority of young expats in the region — 71 per cent in Qatar and 58 per cent in the UAE — saying that they earn more in their host country, compared to the global average of 43 per cent.

There is another facet that local/Gulf developers should pay heed to.

According to HSBC's 'Future of Retirement' research, 'Working age people in the UAE have the highest degree of confidence in property as a good way to generate income for their retirement, with over 8 out of 10 identifying with this sentiment.'

A secure job in the Gulf puts an expat in a better position than his counterparts elsewhere to acquire a property.

'Expats in Bahrain (30 per cent), Saudi Arabia (27 per cent), the UAE and Oman (25 per cent) are the most likely to identify with this sentiment, compared to the global average of 17 per cent,' the report finds.

'These attitudes vary significantly across the world among expats in the UK (6 per cent), India (24 per cent) and the US (19 per cent), indicating that these views are closely linked to the wealth creation dynamics in countries.'

Accommodation allowances

Gulf employers tend to be more generous with accommodation allowances for expat professionals, according to the HSBC survey findings.

More than two-thirds (68 per cent) of young expats in Qatar and just under half (43 per cent) of those in the UAE shared this sentiment.

'Emerging markets in general appear to offer these benefits more regularly, with a high proportion of young expats in Indonesia (60 per cent) and India (53 per cent) highlighting this trend, compared to less than one in 10 in the UK (8 per cent) and the US (9 per cent),' it adds.

Did you know that English skills and long working hours were in focus at recent career fair

Source: Staff Report,