Expat vs. GCC National - are we really so different?

A study has found the differences - but more importantly the similarities - between expats and Gulf locals.

August 5, 2015

What motivates you in life? Family? Money? Hobbies? Health? Of course, everyone's answer to that question will be different, but where you are from and where you live now can certainly have an effect on what you're likely to value most.

A long-held belief amongst some employers is that in general, GCC nationals tend to value status and living an easy life over career progression. Of course, here at EDGAR we've always known that's not true, but now the issue has been settled once and for all in a new study by HR firm Oxford Strategic Consulting.

According to the study, which asked 3,000 GCC nationals and expats what three things motivate and discourage them most in life, GCC nationals ranked 'status' and 'having an easy life' as among the least influential factors that motivate them.

Motivations for GCC nationals and expats.

The results show that despite what some people may believe, GCC nationals and expats are actually similarly aligned in their motivation, with both groups picking 'family' as their top motivation in life, and 'finances' also placing high for both. 

There's a slight disparity when it comes to religion and beliefs, with 31 per cent of GCC nationals raking that as one of their most-valued motivators while only 22 per cent of expats said the same.

However, in general the two groups are remarkably similar, with 'status', 'materialism' and 'easy life' scoring only tiny percentages for both. In terms of what discourages us, the survey showed a few general similarities between expats and GCC nationals, but also highlighted a few differences.

For example, 40 per cents of GCC nationals reported their own negative feelings were a major discouraging factor in their life, whereas this was the case for only 27 per cents of expatriates.

Demotivators or GCC nationals and expats.

So there you have it. The next time someone tells you that expats are hugely different from GCC Nationals, you can tell them otherwise.