Academic Mobility and the Career Question: Is the Move Worth It?

By Kay Sanderson.

Published by Journal of the World Universities Forum

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: April 22, 2014 $US5.00

The purpose of this paper is to explore a perception that a move to the Middle East is a positive one: not only will one’s bank balance improve, but his/her career will also be enhanced. “Brain Drain” (Walker et al 2006, 3) can be considered as a movement of highly skilled people from developing countries to developed countries that only benefits the host country. However, the focus of this study considers the drain of highly skilled academics from developed countries that have chosen to relocate into a developing one—the United Arab Emirates. Their work will benefit the country but does the move benefit the academic? This paper questions career enhancement as a reason to relocate and provides testimonies from academics that made the move. First-hand data was acquired during a series of semi-structured interviews with a group of such academics based in the UAE. Using the General Inductive Approach (Thomas 2003) the data was interrogated for trends. The findings indicate that for many, career development is challenged by the move, and academics also found many difficulties in their adjustment to working in their institutions. This has implications for institutions and their ability to hire people with the right skills—to attract the right “brains.”

Keywords: Teaching and Learning, Mobilities, Academic Careers, Expatriate, Middle East

The Journal of the World Universities Forum, Volume 6, Issue 4, April 2014, pp.105-113. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: April 22, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 224.922KB)).

Dr. Kay Sanderson

Campus Programme Coordinator, Senior Lecturer, Education Department, Middlesex Univeristy (UK), Dubai, United Arab Emirates


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