Dubai & Abu Dhabi Ranked Among Top 10 Most Attractive Cities for Global Digital Experts


A study by BCG and The Network found the UAE is attractive for digital experts eyeing a move abroad for career advancement

Dubai,UAE: The United Arab Emirates’ key business and innovation hubs have strong career appeal for the world’s digital talent pool, according to a new study by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and The Network. In a report based on BCG’s 2019 study, titled Decoding Digital Talent, Dubai ranked as the sixth most appealing country to relocate to for digital experts, followed closely by Abu Dhabi (10th).

The study polled over 27,000 people in 180 countries with expert-level knowledge in fields such as data mining, engineering, and analytics, programming and web development, artificial intelligence, robotics and engineering.

“Digital experts are in high demand for countries and companies driving futuristic agendas for digital innovation,” said Dr. Christopher Daniel, Partner and Managing Director at Boston Consulting Group Middle East. “In the Middle East, Dubai and Abu Dhabi are ahead of the curve when it comes to digital transformation, especially with digitally-forward visions in place for economic and social progress. This study affirms that these cities are highly appealing for professionals with digital skills.”

High Interest of Digital Experts to Move Abroad

The willingness of digital experts to move abroad for work revealed that 67% were in favor of taking an overseas post for a better career opportunity. In contrast, only 55% of non-experts would relocate for work.

Of the most desirable countries to move to for new opportunities, the US is the top destination for digital experts worldwide, followed by Germany and Canada. London is their preferred city for working overseas, followed by New York and Berlin.

The study’s findings reveal that some top-ranked cities exceed their countries’ attractiveness among digital experts. The UAE is a clear example of this.

“Our research shows that people with unique skillsets in the digital field are more willing to move for a job opportunity compared to non-experts. This is good news for this region with a strong focus on leveraging digital to diversify economies,” said Cristiano Rizzi, Partner and Managing Director at Boston Consulting Group Middle East. “As magnets for attracting global digital experts, Dubai and Abu Dhabi’s appeal signifies a clear mandate for appealing to digital experts as well as a commitment to pushing the envelope forward for future job creation in digital areas.”

Establishing Mandates for Attracting Digital Talent

Companies and governments must understand their specific need for digital talent by undertaking a thorough workforce analysis to identify current and future demand for digital experts. This requires a thorough understanding of fields for growth, digital opportunities as well as the different types of digital experts to attract what they value.

As digital experts are open to relocate in order to advance their careers, the study found that companies and governments need to take active steps to attracting them in the first place.

For governments, these steps include conducting country-wide strategic workforce plans, closing digital talent gaps, creating a national employment “brand”  to support in-bound mobility, and avoiding becoming an “education only” country.

For companies, these steps include closing digital talent gaps through upskilling, reskilling, and recruiting, as well as attracting and/or retaining digital experts by offering things that they want and value.

Of 26 important job factors that respondents could choose in our survey, digital experts put work-life balance, learning and training at the top of their list. Additionally, the study’s respondents noted they put feeling appreciated for what they do and working in a creative, innovative environment among the job factors, they appreciate most.

People with sought-after digital skills required to lead countries and companies into the future are in high demand globally. With so many expert level digitally skilled workers showing a willingness to move for new opportunities, it’s in countries’ and companies’ best interests to take steps to attract or retain them.

A copy of the report can be downloaded here.

About Boston Consulting Group:

Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is a global management consulting firm and the world’s leading advisor on business strategy. We partner with clients from the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors in all regions to identify their highest-value opportunities, address their most critical challenges, and transform their enterprises. Our customized approach combines deep insight into the dynamics of companies and markets with close collaboration at all levels of the client organization. This ensures that our clients achieve sustainable competitive advantage, build more capable organizations, and secure lasting results. Founded in 1963, BCG is a private company with offices in more than 90 cities in 50 countries.

About The Network:

The Network is a global alliance of more than 50 leading recruitment websites, committed to finding the best talent in over 130 countries. Founded in 2002, The Network has become the global leader in online recruitment, serving more than 2,000 global corporations. We offer these corporations a single point of contact in their home countries, and allow them to work in a single currency and with a single contract—while giving them access to a global workforce. The recruitment websites in The Network attract almost 200 million unique visitors each month.