The Global Nomads, a wandering tribe of ambitious professionals who move from country to country in search of career advancement and a better life, are on the rise.
"More employees are going on expat assignments than before," said Joe Barber, a senior associate in Dubai for the consultancy firm Mercer. More than 10 per cent of workers from 119,000 staff at 288 global companies surveyed by Mercer this year fell into the Global Nomad category compared with just 6 per cent in 2008, the last time the survey was run.
"Global Nomads can be of any age but at different stages of their career they have different aspirations and specific requirements," said Mr Barber, who is from the United Kingdom.
"At 25 to 35, they may search for rapid career growth, [want to] travel and work in international markets, which will be different [from that of an executive who is] 45 to 55. [He or she] may target job stability and potentially already have global experience."
More than 3.8 million of the UAE's total workforce are expatriates, many of whom fall into the Global Nomad category.
Meanwhile, the number of staff on international duty for more than five years has almost doubled from 21 per cent in 2008 to 40 per cent of those working abroad this year, the Mercer report revealed.
The German technology company SAP is full of Nomads. "Fourteen per cent of our UAE workforce have joined us from SAP offices abroad and most have extended their plans to stay in the region in order to thrive in a business landscape that offers opportunities that simply do not exist in other economies," said Nelly Boustany, the director of human resources of SAP Mena in Dubai.
Leo Burnett, a global advertising company in the United States, is also reporting increased movement at its offices in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Doha. The ad agency's 200 employees in the Dubai office are from at least 28 countries such as Brazil, the United States, Australia, India and the Philippines.
High living standards and a stable economy in the UAE have also helped the agency to expand its project base from the Middle East and North Africa region to Russia, central Asia and Pakistan.
"That requires one to be culturally flexible and savvy and have energy to travel more frequently," said Kamal Dimachkie, the executive regional managing director at Leo Burnett.