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Half of UAE workers believe salaries are increasing

The 2017 Middle East and North Africa Salary Survey, conducted by, the Middle East’s number one job site, and YouGov, a leading market research agency, revealed that almost half (44 per cent) of UAE respondents believe that salaries are increasing in the UAE, and 24 per cent believe that they are staying the same.

Current Salary

In terms of current salary package composition, more than half (58 per cent) of those surveyed in the UAE receive a basic salary as well as benefits in their compensation package. Almost one in five (18 per cent) of those surveyed actually receive their basic salary plus benefits and commission. Just under a quarter (24 per cent) of respondents only receive a basic salary.

Of those receiving additional benefits, personal medical insurance (52 per cent) was the top benefit received, followed by personal annual ticket (37 per cent), and a transportation allowance (30 per cent).

When it comes to end of service benefits in the UAE, 63 per cent stated that their company offers an end-of-service gratuity, and ten per cent claim they will receive a pension on retirement. Seven per cent claim to have other forms of benefits. However, 24 per cent of respondents state that they do not receive any end of service benefits.

21 per cent of UAE respondents claim that their loyalty is completely linked to the salary they earn, while nearly one third (31 per cent) claim that salary it is not linked to loyalty at all. Besides salary, opportunities for career advancement (34 per cent) and the nature of daily responsibilities (33 per cent) emerged as the most important factors driving employee loyalty in the UAE.

In terms of equal pay, while four in ten respondents (40 per cent) claim they “Don’t know/can’t say”, a large proportion (35 per cent) believed that men and women are paid equally for doing the same work and in the same position.

“With salary being such an important factor for both employees and job seekers, we hope that the Salary Survey 2017 will shed light on salaries, savings, and spending in the Middle East,” said Suhail Masri, VP – Employer Solutions,

Pay Raises

In 2016, a third (44 per cent) of respondents in the UAE received a salary raise, while 48 per cent of those surveyed did not receive a pay raise at all. Of those who did receive a raise, 49 per cent were very happy or modestly happy with their raise.

52 per cent of respondents in the UAE expect to receive a salary raise in 2017.

Future Plans and Expectations

Over half of UAE respondents (55 per cent) claim that they are planning on finding a better job in the same industry within the next 12 months, while 45 per cent stated that they will be looking for a better job in a new industry. Only 15 per cent of UAE respondents will look for a better job in a different country in the Middle East.

When asked about salary trends, 44 per cent of respondents believe that salaries are increasing in the UAE. According to respondents, factors causing salaries to increase include good corporate performance/increased profitability (33 per cent), inflation / rise in the cost of living (32 per cent), and growth in opportunities and economic growth in the country (28 per cent).

Masri adds: “The information collected through this survey is important when it comes to guiding both employers and job seekers, so that the difference between salaries offered and expectations can be successfully addressed.”

Expenses and Savings

With regards to the rising cost of living in the UAE, a fifth (19 per cent) of respondents have seen their cost of living increase between 6 per cent and 10 per cent. Respondents claim to have seen an increase in their rent (74 per cent), food and beverage (59 per cent), and utilities (57 per cent). Another 36 per cent of respondents say they have also experienced increases in education, and 32 per cent mentioned entertainment as one of the cost increases. When it comes to the future, the majority (71 per cent) of respondents believe that the cost of living in the UAE is going to increase in 2017.

That being said, 64 per cent of respondents in the UAE still manage to save a portion of their income and 63 per cent manage to repatriate a portion of their salary to their home country.

Investments and Home Ownership

The top monthly expenses of respondents in the UAE were rent (46 per cent), food and dining out (15 per cent), and Education / Children’s schooling / Books (10 per cent). When asked about the frequency of eating out, 20 per cent of respondents said they eat out every day, 26 per cent said they eat out a few times a week, and the rest do so less often.

In the UAE, the most popular choice for monthly investments among those surveyed includes investing in their own business (21 per cent), and gold (15 per cent). 23 per cent of UAE respondents make financial investments on a regular basis, and a third already own their home (32 per cent). Among those who do not own a home, 43 per cent are interested in owning a home in their country of residence, and 64 per cent would like to own a home in their home country.

Elissavet Vraka, Research Manager, YouGov, said: “It is interesting to note that 64 per cent of UAE respondents manage to save a portion of their monthly income, with 63 per cent of those living outside their home country being able to repatriate a portion of their savings to their home country. This is a good sign for both employers and job seekers, as the ability to save and repatriate savings can impact other factors such as employee satisfaction and loyalty towards the company.”

Data for the 2017 Middle East and North Africa Salary Survey was collected online from March 23rd to April 9th, 2017. Results are based on a sample of 3,879 respondents who live in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia.