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UAE firms still keen to hire from abroad – survey
August 24, 2014, 11:18 am

Almost two-thirds of companies in the UAE are willing to fork out the cost of hiring a new employee from abroad, a survey by has revealed. Of the 208 firms that responded to the survey, only 35 percent said “already living in the UAE” was a highly sought after attribute. It is estimated that as much as 80 percent of the UAE population are expat workers. The employment trend was similar in other Gulf states.

Omani firms were the most willing to hire from outside its borders, with only 14 percent preferring job applicants to already reside in Oman. One-quarter of Saudi employers listed residency (or citizenship) as a highly sought after attribute, while in Qatar it was 28 percent and in Kuwait, 31 percent of firms preferred candidates with residency.

Bahraini firms were least likely to hire expats from abroad, with 43 percent preferring existing residents or citizens. The survey also showed that knowing both Arabic and English is a major asset in the Gulf, including 60 percent of UAE employers listing it as a highly sought after attribute – making language the most important factor.

The figure was even higher in Saudi Arabia (79 percent) and Kuwait (71 percent), while it was above 50 percent in each Gulf state. Other “most sought after attributes” listed by surveyed employers included being a team player, good leadership skills, ability to work under pressure, good negotiation skills and being trustworthy.

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