It’s good to know as you pine for the expatriate lifestyle and consider joining the thousands of Americans and Europeans currently living and working in the oil-rich United Arab Emirates (UAE) that family values are high on the list of priorities of the country’s citizenry. And that’s the same for both nationals and expats alike.
Even for those contemplating their next overseas entrepreneurial adventure, it’s surely something to at least think about while looking at the UAE and other countries in the Persian Gulf as possible locations. By all means, weigh up the pros and cons of business bank accounts, import and export services and all the rest of the financial levers and instruments available. All are necessary in order to operate successfully in today’s competitive business world. But becoming embroiled in the inevitable minutiae is no excuse for forgetting about family. For there is nothing more important.
When the citizens of the UAE were surveyed recently, top personal values cited as important to them included caring, family, respect, honesty, ambition and commitment, cooperation and being liked. When asked about what they experienced in the UAE, a very positive picture of the country emerged and featured values such as peace, educational opportunities, aesthetics and loyalty. Impressive, don’t you think?
The UAE National Values Survey covered 4,100 people aged 21 and over. Just over half of the respondents were male. All respondents, of whom 57% were UAE nationals, came from different segments of the community. The survey, the first of its kind in the Middle East, was conducted by Rayak, a centre specialising in preparing surveys on public opinion, in collaboration with Barrett Values Centre.
Richard Barrett, founder and chairman of Barrett Values Centre (BVC), said, “The survey showed that in spite of the significant diversity existing in the UAE, the community is enjoying remarkable harmony. It also reflects the efficiency of the existing engagement cultural mechanisms that facilitates the relationship between the nationals and expatriate residents in the country.
“Nations, communities and organisations prosper and thrive when their leaders are focused on building values-driven cultures that respond to citizens and employee’s needs: when there is an alignment between what people value and what they experience in their lives.”
Significantly, the survey revealed the UAE as having the second lowest level of ‘cultural entropy’ among 18 countries studied by BVC since 2007. Cultural entropy, which is the level of dysfunctional, toxic or destructive energy people feel in a country, was at just 12% in the UAE compared to 72% in Venezuela, 63% in Iceland and 60% in Argentina. Even advanced countries such as the UK, France and the US witnessed cultural entropy levels of 59%, 57% and 56% respectively. The lowest cultural entropy level was 4%, recorded in Bhutan.
According to BVC, the principal limiting values that contribute to cultural entropy are bureaucracy, blame, corruption, materialism, environmental pollution and aggression.
Mr Barrett pointed out, “Values represent our needs and motivate our actions and determine our behaviours. At Barrett Values Centre, we believe that shared values connect human beings beyond race, religion, politics and gender. We believe that human societies grow and develop to the extent that we are able to reduce fear, build trust and increase love by reaching a common understanding of our shared values.”
There you have it. Anyone looking to live and work or even start a business overseas should seriously consider the UAE. Check out the Barrett Values Centre here.