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Middle East: Engineers prefer Bahrain and Oman

Bahrain and Oman are the best places in the Middle East for engineers to live and work, a survey published this week claimed.

Bahrain also topped a poll of the best work locations worldwide.

Analysis of feedback from more than 500 engineers who have lived and worked in the region since 2003 shows that the Gulf's smallest states have the best quality of life.

The survey was conducted by recruitment consultant EPC Global. Results show that 88% of engineers who have worked in Bahrain would recommend it to other professionals.

This compares to 76% for Abu Dhabi and 73% for Dubai.

Compared to findings from engineers working in other parts of the world these states still score highly. 83% of engineers who have worked in Australia recommended it as a place to live. The UK scored just 61%.

Bahrain ranked highly thanks to its low living expenses, plentiful accommodation and relaxed lifestyle.

Oman's culture counted strongly in its favour. "Oman is a great place to live," said EPC Global operations manager Joe Rothwell.

"The culture is different [from other Gulf states]. The locals are more active in the day to day workings of business and are much more hands on. It makes for a better working and social
environment," he said.

Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) also won praise for its healthcare facilities and suitability for expatriate families.

The poll findings are good news for UK consultants and contractors seeking to boost staff numbers in the region.

Firms such as Scott Wilson and Parsons Brinckerhoff are looking to triple staff numbers within the next five years.

"The region is a very, very dynamic market at the moment with some very big projects taking off. Staff demand is high," said Rothwell.

Some Middle East states did not score so well, however. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iran and Iraq all came in for criticism.

Saudi Arabia was singled out for its poor leisure amenities with only 18% of those who had worked in the region being satisfied with them. Only 17% of engineers were satisfied with the abilities of their local colleagues.

Unsurprisingly Iran and Iraq scored low on criteria such as security, acceptance among locals, and the provision of basic infrastructure.

But Iran was rated highest in terms of the proficiency of local staff with 56% of engineers being satisfied with the competence of their colleagues.

Qatar was considered the worst performing state among engineers for its health and safety procedures with only 31% happy with the standards in place.

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