And the survey of 1,500 expat engineers in the Middle East carried out by recruitment consultant EPC Global for NCE confirmed that few see the region as a long-term location. Fifty seven per cent work there for three years or less.
Engineers who spoke to NCE confirmed that the long hours and tough working conditions meant it remained a place to take the money and run. "It's definitely place to come for a couple of years and then get out," said one civil engineer working as a project manager on one of Dubai's flagship projects.
"We work 12 hour shifts, six days a week, and I've not had a day off for more than a year. I'm due a month's leave but I just don't get to take it."
The survey confirmed that fewer than one in seven have worked in the region for more than 10 years, and quality of life remains an issue.
Of those surveyed, 17% said quality of life was quite poor or very poor while 32% said it was quite high or high. Half said it was "acceptable".
Things are improving, however, with 41% saying conditions in the Middle East had become better over time. A third said it had stayed the same and a quarter said it was getting worse.
The biggest work complaints were the proficiency of local colleagues and health and safety standards, with 29% and 28% identifying them as issues respectively.
But there are many positives.
At work, pay and benefits were seen as big pluses. Seventy percent rated pay as satisfactory and 59% were happy with holiday entitlement.
While 50% of engineers admitted they were in the region because it was financially attractive, 23% said they were there to broaden their professional experience.
Ten per cent said they had been forced to move to the region in search of work in their field.