Qatar and the UAE have been ranked two of the best countries in the world for business-orientated women to thrive, according to recently released data from the HSBC Expat Explorer survey.
Nearly 10,000 expat women from 25 countries participated in the survey, with 58% from the UAE being the highest globally to highlight that financial benefits and career progression were highly important in their decision to move to the Middle East.
With complaints of male-dominated workplaces and lack of career progression for women hailing from other corners of the globe, many are leaving their patriarchal home countries to benefit from the gender-balanced offices that the likes of Qatar and the UAE have to offer.
Jonia Matthew, a female Indian expat, left her homeland behind in search of better opportunities in the Middle East after becoming disheartened by the dominance of men in the workplace in India. Matthew runs Classico Events and Exhibitions and praises the Middle East on the encouraging conditions for professional women and that “things for us get done faster and it goes smoothly. I’ve already held 10 events, ranging from property exhibitions and traditional events, which has attracted about 3,000 people.”
With four out of ten women stating that they earn more in the UAE than in their home country, it is no surprise that Qatar followed suit, with 57% of women benefiting from increased earnings and 73% claiming it is now much easier to save for the future.
Not only are women benefitting from increased earnings and heightened financial stability, 88% of women working in Qatar and 87% of women working in the UAE expressed that employee benefits in these Arab nations were far more attractive than those offered by companies in their homelands.
With glass ceilings and boardroom bias being less of an issue in Qatar and the UAE, it is not only expat women reaping the benefits. Middle Eastern etiquette suggests that it is not appropriate to be as aggressive in business as you would be in a Western environment. Emiratis, in particular, covet business relationships and thus business decisions and discussions are handled with subtle diplomacy. It is suggested that female expats seem better placed to deal with these nuances and are often commended for their sensitivity, empathy and respect for local customs.
Other Asian countries ranked highly with expat women in terms of fruitful career progression. Two-thirds of females expressed that Hong Kong is an excellent place for women to scale the career ladder, followed by China as a whole at 59% and Singapore at 56%. Almost half of the expat women in the UAE related to this view with 49% stating that it’s an affluent hub for development. With the global average level of satisfaction reaching only 38%, it seems the Eastern world is an appealing place to germinate personal success for business-savvy women.