Employees in the UAE are willing to make sacrifices in order to stay in the country even if they may not be able to save, but earn enough money that helps them to maintain their lifestyles.

This was revealed in a survey released by global recruitment agency Robert Half, which showed that appetite to live in the UAE is at an all-time high as many residents are prepared to sacrifice their preferences for flexibility.

The UAE’s appeal as a top destination for professionals, investors and high net-worth individuals has grown immensely due to the successful handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. This has been reflected in the massive inflow of tourists to Dubai, the record increase in investments in real estate, and the record inflow of millionaires to Dubai last year are some of the prime examples of this.

In addition, new residency schemes such as the Golden Visa, retirement visa, freelance visa and other similar initiatives have also become quite popular among employees, reflecting the government’s intention to attract and retain the best talent. Earlier, the government also announced a Golden Visa for 100,000 coders to meet the needs of companies for technology professionals in the country.

Recently, global real estate consultancy Savills ranked Dubai and Abu Dhabi among the world’s top 5 most popular destinations for digital nomads, with Dubai emerging as the top city.

Robert Half said the increase in financial and institutional brokers wanting to relocate to Dubai, where they can keep clients in Europe and receive tax-free income, is driving demand for back-office functionality.

Highlighting trends about perks and benefits, the survey found that employers are no longer paying allowances as a percentage of total costs but as a fixed lump sum in order to stabilise benefit outgoings.

Moreover, as business leaders try to cut costs, they may offer family benefits, but they are likely to reduce childcare and school fee allowances for new joiners.

Robert Half commissioned research in July 2023 amongst 500 professionals living and working in the UAE in a range of relevant sectors.

The global recruitment agency’s survey found that UAE salaries for professional services roles increased by an average of 2 per cent year-on-year, but salary growth in most roles fell behind the rate of inflation for Dubai.

It projected a 1.6 per cent increase in average salary in finance and accounting jobs; 1.2 per cent for IT and technology executives and 4.4 per cent for administration, HR and business support personnel.

“Working practices are returning to normal after the pandemic – and that includes the perks and benefits employees receive. [However,] businesses are trying to cut costs, putting pressure on many of the allowances that employees could expect in the past,” it said.

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