Dubai: Some UAE residents are still moving overseas in pursuit of higher learning and world-class experience, but many Gulf nationals based abroad are now looking to return to their roots for work.

As of the latest count, close to 10 per cent, or over 7,000, of the UAE's talented students are recently enrolled in schools abroad for tertiary education, according to figures from Unesco-Global Education Digest 2010.

At the same time, however, the number of non-resident Gulf nationals exploring employment opportunities in the region through job search engine alone has increased by 41 per cent between January and Dec-ember 2010.

These jobseekers are interested in different sectors such as construction, energy, IT, education, oil and gas. The increase in traffic was noted after the global economic recession forced many companies around the world to restructure and downsize.

Emirati diaspora is nothing new in the UAE. Traditionally, the country has suffered from a brain-drain effect, with many talented individuals seeking employment and ultimately residing overseas due to a dearth of opportunities in some specialist fields.

Sanjay Modi, managing director of for India, Middle East and South East Asia also attributed the movement of talent to local residents' desire for world-class learning and work experience.

"It could be for a number of other reasons. In previous years, certain types of positions with a specific skill-set simply did not exist in the UAE," he told Gulf News.

However, with the local economy "rapidly diversifying", a wealth of new positions has been created in the public and private sectors in the UAE. "Things have changed now as there are a host of opportunities that exist for Emiratis in their own country," noted Modi.


To ensure Emiratis abroad are aware of the employment opportunities back home, the online career and recruitment solutions provider has created a platform called Return2Home. Supporting the UAE government's Emiratisation campaign, the initiatives seeks to reach out to Emirati jobseekers from the US, UK, Canada, India and South East Asia.

"This is a focused and dedicated platform for the Emirati diaspora to look for opportunities that exist for them in their home country. Similarly, it helps the employers to look for non-resident Emiratis who have the global experience and expertise required for a particular role," Modi explained.

"Prior to the launch of this initiative, a non-resident Emirati looking for jobs on would come across hundreds of jobs meeting his requirements, but would not be sure if those employers are looking at fulfilment through locals or targeting non-resident Emiratis," he added.

The new page is not accessible to a local based in the UAE, so it is dedicated mainly for Emiratis overseas.

Online demand has dropped

The region's overall job market is slightly down, according to the latest Monster Employment Index Middle East.

A monthly gauge of online job demand in the Middle East, the index dropped four per cent to 89 per cent in May from 93 per cent in December 2010.

"The summer months typically see reduced recruitment activity around the globe which could have possibly contributed to the recent decline in the Gulf index," said Sanjay Modi of

However, he said the employment markets in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait have shown positive growth. "We saw sectors like engineering, IT and health care expand notably in the first quarter. Growth has now shifted to banking and finance, as well as the more creative advertising and marketing sectors," he said.

The UAE's job index registered a six per cent growth in the past six months, the second highest in the region. Saudi Arabia topped the list with a 13 per cent increase.

Kuwait, on the other hand, posted a lower three per cent growth.

The employment scenario was not as positive in Bahrain, which posted a growth decline of -2 per cent, as well as in Qatar (-7 per cent) and Oman (-18 per cent).