Dubai, UAE, 6 October 2015: A new survey by Bayt.com, the number one career site in the Middle East, and YouGov, a pioneer in online market research, entitled ‘Top Cities in the Middle East and North Africa Survey 2015’ has revealed that Abu Dhabi and Dubai consistently top all considerations and are respectively the two top cities in the MENA region. 83% of people living in Abu Dhabi and 73% in Dubai are either very happy or somewhat happy living in their current city of residence.
The availability of jobs in Abu Dhabi is either good or excellent according to 4 in 10 respondents. Almost half (48%) of Dubai respondents believe that the availability of jobs is either good or excellent, while 16% believe it is either bad or poor. 40% of respondents in Abu Dhabi and 44% in Dubai believe that competitive salaries are either good or excellent.
Other important economic factors in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai include benefits for working parents, personal career growth and reasonably priced amenities. Sharjah scored better when it came to the availability of affordable housing.
In terms of economic factors, Abu Dhabi and Dubai came second and third respectively, beaten only by Manama in first place.
Abu Dhabi was the top scoring city in the MENA region in terms of labor rights. Respondents from the emirate believe that they have good-to-excellent end of service benefits (50%), termination rights (42%), vacation allowances (49%), parenthood allowances (28%), wage protection system (54%), health insurance and social security systems (72%), and pro-active policy making (46%).
Abu Dhabi and Dubai came first and third in terms of environmental factors. Muscat came in second place regionwide.
Environmental factors form a set of important aspects related to comfort and cleanliness that affect the overall quality of life in a city. The majority of respondents in Dubai (58%) and Abu Dhabi (55%) say that the cleanliness of their city streets is excellent. Other important environmental factors in Abu Dhabi and Dubai respectively include clean air (good-to-excellent: 67% and 64%), clean water (good-to-excellent: 78% and 78%), beauty of the architecture and buildings (good-to-excellent: 85% and 92%) and manageable traffic (good-to-excellent: 71% and 63%).
Standard of Living
The UAE emerges as the top destination for a high standard of living with its three cities – Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah – recording the highest scores amongst the top ten cities in the MENA. According to the majority of respondents, Dubai and Abu Dhabi rate respectively as either good or excellent on the key factors affecting the standard of living. These factors include the feeling of stability and security (good-to-excellent: 75% and 81%), the availability of healthcare facilities (good-to-excellent: 77% and 82%), water/electricity/sewage systems (good-to-excellent: 89% and 89%) and the quality of education (good-to-excellent: 66% and 66%).
The socio-cultural factors are forces within cultures, societies and cities that affect the thoughts, feelings and behaviors of individuals who are a part of them. Important socio-cultural factors in the UAE include low crime rates, rated as excellent by 55% of Abu Dhabi respondents and 48% of Dubai respondents; a stable political environment, rated as excellent by 40% of Abu Dhabi respondents and 44% of Dubai respondents; and effective law enforcement rated as excellent by 50% of Abu Dhabi respondents and 47% of Dubai respondents.
Other important socio-cultural factors in the UAE include equal treatment of both genders, fair treatment to all nationalities, freedom of expression, and tolerance to different cultures and ideas.
Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation
Dubai and Abu Dhabi respectively ranked first and second across the MENA region for the sports, arts, culture and recreation factors which play an important role in the overall quality of life in a city.
In Dubai, respondents ranked culture and arts offerings (70%), the availability of family-friendly activities (72%) and the availability of outdoor/sports activities (64%) as good or excellent. Dubai is also the ‘city that never sleeps’, as stated by the majority of respondents (good-to-excellent: 74%). On the other hand, 61% of Abu Dhabi respondents found the availability of natural areas/landscapes to be good or excellent, as well as the availability of family-friendly activities (61%).
Entrepreneurship has an impact on a city’s prosperity, and Dubai ranked as the top city for starting a business, followed closely by Abu Dhabi.
Dubai ranked either good or excellent among respondents on the following factors: the ease of starting a new business (52%), lack of bureaucracy in procedures and paperwork (52%), ease of finding finances to start a business (50%), market willingness to accept new ideas and innovations (68%), market saturation (55%), ability to find local talent to employ (52%), and affordability of taxes and fees (48%).
Suhail Masri, Vice President of Sales, Bayt.com, said: “As the leading career site in the region, it is our responsibility to showcase the best-performing cities in the region, so that job seekers can make an informed assessment if they are looking to move and employers can do more to contribute to their city’s standard of living and wellbeing.”
Masri continued: “The MENA region is very diverse when it comes to the factors that affect the overall quality of living in each city. At Bayt.com, our mission has always been to empower people with the tools and technologies to build their lifestyle of choice, and we want to empower people with valuable insights into life in cities that they might choose to live in.“
Elissavet Vraka, Research Manager, YouGov, said: “It is through this kind of market research that we are able to provide a profile of cities across the Middle East and North Africa today so that both employers and job seekers gain valuable insights into the various factors that affect the standard of living in their city of choice.”
Data for the Bayt.com ‘Top Cities in the Middle East and North Africa Survey 2015’ was collected online from August 25th to September 6th 2015, with the participation of 3,613 respondents. The survey polled people from varying nationalities including GCC Arabs, North Africans, Levantines, and Western and Asian expats living in major cities in the UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Pakistan.