x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Single and not here to mingle: UAE expats 'career-minded'

A focus on jobs, cultural differences or a lack of trust about a potential partner's past are cited as main reasons why many UAE expatriates are single, a survey finds.

ABU DHABI // Almost half of the country’s expatriate population are single and focused on careers, a study has revealed.

Forty-two per cent of 450 people surveyed were single, with the main reasons being work, cultural differences or a lack of trust about a partner’s past.

The results are in the latest 999 Magazine, the monthly publication of the Ministry of Interior.

Singles are defined as not married or legally divorced.

Every man questioned said they were likely to be career orientated, along with 95 per cent of women.

"In the past, it was typical for women to move here as a trailing spouse following a husband's job, usually at a fairly senior level and aged mid-thirties and above," said Gail Livingstone-Potter, editor of the website expatwoman.com

“Now many more women are coming here for their own careers and at younger ages.

“We see that a lot of the single women want to experience living abroad, and they are independent and want to have successful careers. If they meet their husband-to-be along the way, that’s a bonus.”

Two thirds believed the UAE was a good place for couples to come to, but more difficult for meeting someone and setting up a home without the support of friends and family.

Most respondents said the transient nature of the expatriate workforce in the country meant that settling down with someone was difficult.

And if they did find a partner, 80 per cent said they would be suspicious about that person’s past in their own country.

More than half felt that living expenses, the uncertainty of jobs and the linked residency visa make marriage a hard decision.

Lt Col Awadh Al Kindi, editor-in-chief of 999 Magazine, said: “More and more residents are delaying marriage, probably to pursue career ambitions.

“In this country, going by what the respondents have told us, it is possible to build a career, create wealth, make friends, live a good life and do many other things.

“In the July issue of 999 we explored the variety of reasons why expats are finding it difficult to find ‘the one’.

“Yet solo or not, it only proves that the UAE is a great place to live and we encourage everyone to be proactive in helping us maintain this healthy coexistence.” 

ksinclair@thenational.ae