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Why your paycheck in UAE and KSA could see a rise very soon

Hold your breath! Salaries for highly skilled workers could boom as talent shortages take hold across EMEA, according to a study.

Left unchecked, the salary surge could add more than $2.5 trillion to annual payrolls by 2030 in 20 leading economic markets analysed, $593 billion in the EMEA region alone, notes The Salary Surge, a new study by Korn Ferry.


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This potential salary surge is the direct the result of a shortage of an estimated 85 million highly skilled workers required for companies to succeed in the new digital economy.
In the UAE, while overall wage increases are just keeping pace with inflation, salaries for in-demand workers could add as much as $5.9 billion to the total national payroll by 2030, a 9 percent increase.

Businesses in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia could see a wage surge of more than 17 percent, adding a potential $33.6 billion to national payrolls, the study adds.

“The new era of work is one of scarcity in abundance: there are plenty of people, but not enough with the skills their organizations will need to survive,” said Jonathan Holmes, Managing Director, Korn Ferry MENA.


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With The Salary Surge, we are putting a price tag on the deficit of highly skilled workers that threatens future profitability and business models of companies as well as national economic development and diversification strategies in the UAE and KSA. We all face the reality that salaries for in-demand workers will skyrocket if companies choose to compete for the best and brightest on salary alone.”

The study reveals the significant impact the salary surge could have on KSA and the UAE:


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– In KSA, the TMT (technology, media and telecommunications) sector could be hardest hit, with a potential wage premium $2.4 billion by 2030. That’s followed by the manufacturing sector which faces a potential overall payroll increase of $2.1 billion.

– The TMT sector also faces the greatest challenges in the UAE, with a potential wage premium of $1.124 billion, followed by Financial and Business Services at $612 million.

– KSA ranks number eight out of 20 economies in individual wage premiums for highly skilled workers, with potential individual salaries rising by $10,700 per worker by 2030. That’s 21 percent higher salary impact per worker than the EMEA average.

Globally, India is the only economy that can expect to avoid upward spiralling wages, as unlike any other country in the study it will have a highly skilled talent surplus at each milestone, the study notes.