The United Arab Emirates has emerged as one of the most favourable destinations for female expats, according to the recently released InterNations Expat Insider survey.
The survey, which polled more than 14,000 expats globally, found that the UAE ranked 13th out of 60 countries in terms of popularity among female expats. The Gulf Arab country was preferred over Scandinavian countries, the United States and Switzerland, the report found.
However, the country was less popular among male expats, ranking at 28th position out 59 countries.
The study attributed the UAE’s lower ranking among male expats to the country’s high cost of living, a factor that is considered more relevant by men. Meanwhile women find it more easy to adjust to the UAE and had better career prospects, the study added.
Qatar and Saudi Arabia were also ranked more favourably by women. But unlike the UAE, these countries ranked at the bottom of the overall list.
Among female expats, Qatar took the 45th position while Saudi Arabia landed the 51st spot. Meanwhile the kingdom was ranked the worst expat destination among men while Qatar ranked marginally above at 54th place on the list.
Despite their low rankings among male expats, all the three Gulf countries had more male expats than female. In Saudi Arabia, for example, only one in four expats was a woman, the survey revealed.
The study also found that only 41 and 49 per cent of the respondents in Saudi Arabia and Qatar respectively considered the friendliness of the local population as good. This compared to 72 per cent around the world who rated this factor in their respective host country positively.
In addition to woes like high cost of living and minimal contact with locals, expats in the three Gulf countries were also found to work longer hours compared to the global average of 42 hours a week.
On a weekly basis, expats logged 46.3 hours in Qatar, 45.6 hours in the UAE and 44.8 hours in Saudi Arabia. Qatar also does noticeably worse than Saudi Arabia and the UAE in regard to its cost of living, ranking 46th out of 64 countries.
Globally Bahrain was the top country in the GCC for expats at 17, followed by the UAE and Oman at 19th and 24th places respectively.
Top 10 destinations for expats
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