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UAE Rises In Global Talent Ranking As Dubai And Abu Dhabi Named In Top 5 World Cities To Work In

The UAE continues to attract top global talent and is becoming more and more attractive to professionals from around the world.

As the UAE climbs global rankings to 14th overall, Dubai and Abu Dhabi have been highlighted in the top five preferred cities in the world for professionals.

Boston Consulting Group (BCG), in collaboration with The Network and The Stepstone Group, has released a pivotal report, “Decoding Global Talent 2024,” highlighting the UAE’s position in the global talent arena.

UAE talent rankings
The study unravels the shifting dynamics of the international workforce, emphasising the UAE’s strengthening appeal for professionals worldwide.

The comprehensive survey integrates views from more than 150,000 professionals in 188 countries.

According to recent data, the UAE has made significant progress in attractiveness, now ranking 14th.

Dubai and Abu Dhabi are the respondents’ 3rd and 4th most preferred cities.

In a global survey, 73 per cent of respondents cited the quality of job opportunities as the main reason for being drawn to the UAE.

At the same time, income, tax, and cost of living considerations ranked 62 per cent and quality of life at 61 per cent.

These elements collectively position the UAE as a top destination for professionals.

Additionally, these factors resonate with the broader motivations for working abroad, which include safety, stability, and inclusivity.

In April 2022, the UAE Cabinet introduced new visa schemes to attract global talent, expanding opportunities in burgeoning sectors like private equity, venture capital, and AI.

Maya El Hachem, Managing Director and Partner, UAE BCG Office Lead, said: “The UAE continues to carve a reputation as a fertile ground for career growth, drawing talents, especially from the Middle East and beyond.

“The report presents a UAE that is not just keeping pace but setting the pace in the global talent marketplace. The strategic positioning of the Emirates, accentuated by its safety and progressive outlook, makes it a burgeoning hotspot for the global workforce.

“In addition, the confluence of exceptional job quality, competitive incomes, and an enriching lifestyle makes the UAE a beacon for ambitious professionals.

“The UAE’s advancement in global ranks further substantiates its commitment to cultivating an environment thriving on diversity and opportunity.”

Despite fluctuating global circumstances, the appeal of international relocation for career advancement remains robust.


The overall willingness to move abroad for work in the UAE has seen an uptick from 55 per cent in 2018 to 73 per cent in 2023.

However, the percentage of those actively seeking opportunities abroad has remained consistent, hovering around 21-23 per cent.

An in-depth look at the UAE’s workforce reveals sector-specific dynamics influencing global mobility trends.

The workforce showcased a significant willingness to work abroad across various job titles in engineering and technical roles, which show the highest willingness for mobility at 91 per cent, followed by health and medicine at 82 per cent, financial services at 73 per cent, and marketing and sales at 63%.

Financial motivations were the most common reason for relocation among 67 per cent of respondents in the UAE.

Career considerations and better overall quality of life were also important factors, with 53 per cent and 56 per cent of respondents citing them as drivers for relocation, respectively.

Other reasons for relocation include:

  • Having a concrete job offer
  • Seeking personal growth and cultural experience
  • Wanting more exciting or challenging work
  • Better educational or training opportunities
  • A better social system and healthcare
  • Political stability
  • A more inclusive society
  • Environmental factors
  • Reuniting with family and friends

Recent findings reveal that 49 per cent of UAE respondents prefer long-term international assignments for work, significantly higher than the global average of 29 per cent.

Reflecting the United Arab Emirates workforce’s growing international outlook, their expectations for employment support also align closely with global trends.

Notably, 72 per cent of UAE respondents prioritize housing, compared to 79 per cent globally, and 86 per cent value visa assistance, slightly above the global rate of 78 per cent.

Other key expectations for United Arab Emirates workers include relocation support, favoured by 63 per cent locally versus 69 per cent globally; language support and training, with 48 per cent UAE respondents compared to 54 per cent worldwide; and legal financial advice, important to 41 per cent in the UAE and 43 per cent internationally.

The inclination of foreign employers towards remote work is another facet of the evolving labour landscape, which is seeing a marked rise both within the United Arab Emirates and worldwide.

From 2020 to 2023, the willingness to engage in remote work has increased in the United Arab Emirates from 50 per cent to 56 per cent and worldwide from 57 per cent to 66 per cent, highlighting a shift towards more flexible working arrangements.

Burj Khalifa UAE Non Employment Visa Options

Notably, the drive for offshore opportunities from the UAE experiences an uptick, mirroring sentiments favouring flexible, cross-border work arrangements.

Dr. Leila Hoteit, Managing Director and Senior Partner at BCG, Global lead for Education, Employment and Welfare, said: “Global talent mobility is at a critical juncture, where evolving preferences and emerging opportunities are reshaping traditional pathways.

“The boundaries of global talent mobility are expanding, driven by a complex interplay of personal ambition, sector-specific demands, and evolving work modalities.

“Understanding these dynamics will help stakeholders navigate the future of work, harnessing the full potential of global talent mobility for mutual growth and development.”


Arabian Business

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