‘Career-Oriented’ UAE Expats Delay Marriage, Survey Reveals

About half the respondents surveyed were legally single.



An increasing number of expatriates in the UAE are single owing to their career-oriented attitude, a ministry survey revealed.

According to the survey by the 999 magazine, the official monthly of the Ministry of Interior, about 42 per cent of the 450 respondents surveyed were legally single. The ‘single’ status in the survey was defined as not married or divorced.

It found that 100 per cent of men and 95 per cent of the women surveyed are ‘very likely’ or ‘likely’ to be career-oriented. Achieving career progression is a long-term investment in the UAE, thus delaying marriage among the residents, the survey said.

The inability to form long-term attachment and cultural differences among expats were also cited as some of the major constraints in getting married.

A majority of the respondents branded the UAE an ideal place to arrive as a couple, but about 66 per cent found it a hard place to set up a home without the support of friends and family. Fifty-four per cent of the respondents felt that high living expenses and job uncertainties have discouraged weddings among expats.

As per the survey, the transient nature of the expatriate life makes it harder for foreigners to trust their partners. About 76 per cent found forming a long-term attachment difficult while 80 per cent confessed to being suspicious about their partner’s background in their home country.

The survey also found that an increasing number of single women are coming to the UAE in their independent capacity.

Gail Livingstone-Potter, editor of the website Expatwoman.com, said: “In the past, it was typical for women to move here as a trailing spouse following a husband’s job, usually at a fairly senior level and aged mid-thirties and above. Now many more women are coming here for their own careers and at younger ages.”

However up to 60 per cent of the respondents disagreed that the UAE’s trend of older singles matched the worldwide trend.

“More and more residents are delaying marriage probably to pursue career ambitions. In this country, going by what the respondents have told us, it is possible to build a career, create wealth, make friends, live a good life and do many other things,” said Lieutenant Colonel Awadh Saleh Al Kindi, editor-in-chief of 999.