Middle East professionals rate UAE cities the best in terms of economic, socio-cultural, environmental, and entrepreneurship factors
A new ‘Top Cities in the Middle East and North Africa’, survey conducted by YouGov and Bayt.com - the Middle East’s #1 Job Site, has revealed that both Abu Dhabi and Dubai have been ranked the top cities to live and work in the Middle East and North Africa region. The results of this regional survey were based on several factors including a country’s economy, environment, standard of living, socio-culture and entrepreneurship.
Overall, Dubai and Abu Dhabi ranked the best in almost all aspects. As cities, they also scored extremely well on the happiness scale, with more than three-quarters of their residents indicating that they are happy in their city of residence.
Suhail Masri, Vice President of Employer Solutions at Bayt.com, said: “Our Bayt.com ‘Top Cities in the Middle East and North Africa’ survey highlights the most desirable cities for people to live and work in. This provides great insights because the MENA region is very diverse and has many factors that affect the overall quality of living. As the leading job site in the region, we believe it is our responsibility to provide all professionals; job seekers, employers, and entrepreneurs; with the latest tools and information that can help them make their career decisions and changes wisely. Job seekers need to have a clear idea on what cities can offer for them professionally. Similarly, employers want to know where they stand and what they can do to contribute to the overall standard of living in their cities. Current and aspiring entrepreneurs are always on the lookout for cities that give them the opportunity to build successful benefits and contribute to the growth of the economy.“
Socio-Cultural and Environmental Factors
Socio-Cultural factors include factors that relate to cultures, cities and societies and the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of people residing in these areas. In the MENA region, the most important socio-cultural factors are low crime rate (81% said it is very important), effective law enforcement (78% said it is very important), and fair treatment to all nationalities (75% said it is very important). Dubai and Abu Dhabi were rated the best in these areas.
Although generally ranked less important, when respondents were asked about sports, culture and recreation factors, they claimed that the most important factors are availability of family-friendly activities (53% said it is very important), availability of natural areas/landscapes (53%), availability of relaxation options (50% said it is very important), and availability of outdoor/sports activities (48% said it is very important). Yet again, Dubai and Abu Dhabi scored the highest in this category.
Furthermore, residents in MENA cities highly value environmental factors relating to cleanliness, with clean water (84% said it is very important), clean air (74% said it is very important), and clean streets (70% said it is very important) ranking as the most important factors. Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Muscat took the top three spots in terms of environmental factors. In fact, more than nine in 10 respondents said the cleanliness of streets in Dubai and Abu Dhabi was either “good” or “excellent.”
Financial elements were the most important entrepreneurship factors for MENA respondents, including affordability of taxes and fees (62% said it is very important), market willingness to accept new ideas and innovations (59% said it is very important), and ease of finding finances to start a business (58% said it is very important). Dubai and Abu Dhabi once again received the highest scores in this aspect.
Economic Factors and Standard of Living
When respondents were asked about key economic aspects within a country, more than three quarters (77%) of respondents said that the availability of jobs is the most important. More than four in 10 residents in Dubai and Abu Dhabi said that the availability of jobs in their city is “good” or “excellent” and over a third said it was “average”.
Other important factors for respondents included career growth (74% said it is very important), availability of affordable housing (73% said it is very important) and reasonably-priced day to day necessities (72% said it is very important).
Health insurance and social security systems (82%) were named as the most important labor rights for respondents in the MENA region. Over two thirds of respondents in Dubai and Abu Dhabi said their social security and health insurance was either “good” or “excellent.”
These categories were followed by end of service benefits (74% said it is very important), wage protection (72% said it is very important), and termination rights (69% said it is very important). Abu Dhabi and Dubai scored among the best cities in the region in terms of labor rights.
When it came to standard of living, respondents from the MENA region claimed that the most important factors are based on safety, healthcare and education. The majority of respondents (84%) said that a feeling of stability and security was a “very important” aspect. This was followed by quality of education (82% said it is very important), availability of healthcare facilities (81% said it is very important), and quality of available healthcare facilities (81% said it is very important). Dubai and Abu Dhabi were once again ranked as the top cities in the region with the highest standard of living.
Anjali Chhabra, Senior Research Manager at YouGov, said: “When conducting the Top Cities survey, not only did we look at the physical infrastructure and economic variables of each city, but we also analyzed the social and cultural factors that play an important role in the quality of life they serve. The results not only highlight that many cities in the Middle East region are offering high levels of satisfaction for current residents, but also what’s important for them to focus on to sustain that quality for the future.”
Data for the 2017 Bayt.com ‘Top Cities in the Middle East and North Africa’ survey was collected online from September 6, 2017, to October 2, 2017. Results are based on a sample of 5,114 respondents. Cities assessed include Algiers, Alexandria, Cairo, Amman, Kuwait City, Beirut, Casablanca, Marrakech, Rabat, Muscat, Damascus, Jeddah, Riyadh, Eastern Province, Tunis, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Manama, and Sharjah.