Complex Made Simple conducts 2015 MENA Salary Survey

55 per cent of UAE respondents anticipate salary increase in 2015

The 2015 MENA Salary Survey, conducted by, the Middle East’s number one job site, and leading market research agency, YouGov, has found that more than half of UAE professionals are expecting a salary increase in 2015, although 40 per cent admit that they didn’t receive one in 2014.

Current Salary and Future Expectations
Across the MENA region, a little over half (52 per cent) of professionals surveyed claim that their current package consists of basic salary plus benefits. In the UAE, 62 per cent said that they receive a basic salary with benefits; another 15 per cent are also entitled to commissions.

For over a third of respondents in the UAE (36 per cent) who receive a basic salary along with other benefits, the basic salary consists of 25-50 per cent of their monthly salary package, while for 35 per cent their basic salary represents 51-75 per cent of their overall monthly income. Based on the survey, 63 per cent of respondents in the UAE prefer a 100 per cent fixed-pay structure.

Today, 50 per cent of UAE professionals are unhappy with their income, compared to just 4 per cent who are highly satisfied with what they earn. More than half (57 per cent) of UAE respondents state that men and women get equal pay for doing the same work. Moreover, according to 66 per cent of respondents in the UAE, their salary is lower than what other companies in their industry offer.

Surprisingly, 40 per cent of UAE respondents said that they did not get a pay raise in 2014. For those who did, 25 per cent were either very or modestly happy with their raise. Another 24 per cent thought that their raise was fair in light of their contribution to the company or the organization’s financial situation – or even both. 52 per cent of UAE professionals are quite unhappy or very unhappy with their raise.

Almost a quarter (24 per cent) of UAE respondents do not expect to receive a salary increase in 2015. In parallel, 32 per cent expect a raise of up to 15 per cent.

In the UAE, the most common benefits offered by companies are personal medical insurance (47 per cent) and personal annual air ticket (42 per cent).

A total of 74 per cent of UAE professionals claim that their company does not pay for overtime.

Loyalty, End of Service Benefits, and Insurance
60 per cent of UAE respondents recognize that their loyalty to their company is, on some level, based on the salary that they earn. For 27 per cent, however, that is just not the case. Other variables that drive UAE professionals’ loyalty to their company include opportunities for long-term career advancement (37 per cent) and their line manager (33 per cent).

In the UAE, 73 per cent of respondents receive an end-of-service gratuity and a mere 4 per cent get pension upon retirement. 23 per cent have access to other forms of end-of-service benefits or none at all.

Approximately half of UAE professionals (47 per cent) have access to medical insurance for themselves – through their company – while 19 per cent are also offered coverage for their dependents.

Cost of Living, Quality of Living, and Savings
A staggering 87 per cent of UAE respondents have seen the cost of living rise in 2014, with 34 per cent saying that it grew by more than 20 per cent. These UAE respondents who mentioned that the cost of living increased attribute it to increases in the cost of rent (86 per cent), food and beverages (59 per cent), and utilities (56 per cent). 79 per cent of UAE respondents expect that the cost of living will continue to soar throughout the year.

The increased cost of living has, in turn, hampered these professionals’ ability to save: 27 per cent of UAE respondents admit that they save nothing from their monthly salary. Still, 65 per cent of expats in the UAE manage to repatriate a portion of their salary to their home country.

Despite the UAE’s high cost of living, 52 per cent of UAE respondents say that they are better off, in terms of quality of life, compared to other people of a similar generation in their country of residence.

In the next 12 months, 59 per cent of UAE professionals intend to look for a better job in the same industry, while 39 per cent aim to find one in another industry. 64 per cent believe that salaries in the UAE are increasing.

As for the factors causing salaries to jump, respondents in the UAE think that these include inflation/rise in cost of living (56 per cent) and opportunity and economic growth (43 per cent). On the other hand, the elements that are hindering pay rises are poor corporate performance/decreased profitability (26 per cent) and a bad economy (24 per cent)

“The 2015 MENA Salary Survey indicates that there is a growing gap between the cost of living in the UAE and salary earnings and propensity to save,” said Suhail Al-Masri, VP of Sales,

“Most respondents (79 per cent) from across the Middle East and North Africa region are expecting a further increase in the cost of living in 2015. This means that employers must quickly address this widening disparity if they want to effectively tap into the local and regional talent pool. This study was especially designed to provide employers with insights into employee satisfaction levels with salary and raise received. Such information is key to guiding both employers and job seekers, so the mismatch between salaries and living costs can be successfully addressed,” he added..

“Ultimately, it is about equipping professionals across the career and industry spectrums with the right tools needed to make their next career move – one that can better suit their lifestyle. Tools such as the Salary Search can help employers uncover the salaries that are being paid in their industry. This way, employees will be happier with their pay and will have less reason to worry about the rising cost of living,” he concluded.

Elissavet Vraka, YouGov, also added: “With about one-third (32 per cent) of respondents from across the region admitting that they are unable to save any money at all, there is no doubt that the need for a salary boost, especially as prices continue to climb, is a very real one. After all, this is impacting employees’ loyalty to their company and encouraging them to jump ship. If they want to retain their employees, employers, on their part, will have to find new ways to improve their salary packages.”

Financial Investments, Expenses and Home Ownership
Only 20 per cent of UAE respondents make regular investments (at least once a month), with insurance and investment plans (22 per cent) being the most popular investment product.

When it comes to eating out, 21 per cent of respondents in the UAE do it daily, while 29 per cent choose to eat out a few times a week, and 32 per cent eat out a few times a month. UAE respondents’ top monthly expenses comprise rent (62 per cent) followed far behind by dining out (9 per cent), children’s schooling (7 per cent) and transportation (6 per cent).

While one third of UAE respondents already own a home, 44 per cent of UAE respondents who currently do not own a home would like to own one in their country of residence. Another 66 per cent aspire to own a home in their home country.

About the Respondents
81 per cent of respondents from the UAE fall into three categories based on their time spent in their current career: 28 per cent have worked in it for less than 3 years, 29 per cent have worked in it for 3-6 years, while 24 per cent have stayed in the same career for 7-10 years. Moreover, 58 per cent of UAE respondents have been working with their current employer for less than three years, compared to 27 per cent who have been with their employer for 3-6 years.

38 per cent of UAE respondents have up to five people reporting to them, either directly or indirectly. While only 9 per cent of them consider that they have attained the most senior level possible within their company, 29 per cent believe that they are at a fairly senior level, but not at the top yet.

According to 21 per cent of UAE respondents, the average length of time that they have held a job for is at least six years.

Data for the 2015 MENA Salary Survey was collected online from March 30-April 6 2015. Results are based on a sample of 12,158 respondents. Countries that participated are the UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia.