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UAE job market to stabilize in 2020 but salaries remain ‘flat’

Salaries in the strategy sector are expected to grow by five percent, while those in the investment management, manufacturing, technology and telecommunication sectors will experience a modest increase of about two percent

Despite the marginal salary increase, UAE’s development projects will significantly boost the job market and create fresh revenue streams in the months ahead Staff retention coupled with stiff competition from the public sector, incoming technological changes and neighboring countries are challenges The KSA salary guide predicts a three percent increase on average across all sectors

The UAE job market will receive a much-needed stability boost in 2020 following a spate of restructurings and mergers that jolted workforce hiring and compensation, said the UAE Salary Guide Expectations Report for 2020 by Cooper Fitch.  

While this is a positive attribute, salaries are largely expected to remain broadly flat across most sectors in the UAE, the report added, while singling out specific industries that are poised to experience the most significant market-range salary increase for 2020.

Read: Salaries to go up marginally in UAE, globally in 2019: study

According to the report, salaries in the strategy sector are expected to grow by five percent, while those in the investment management, manufacturing, technology and telecommunication sectors will experience a modest increase of about two percent.

Trefor Murphy, Cooper Fitch founder and Chief Executive Officer, expressed optimism that despite the marginal salary increase, UAE’s development projects will significantly boost the job market and create fresh revenue streams in the months ahead.

However, staff retention coupled with stiff competition from the public sector, incoming technological changes and neighboring countries such as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) are some of the key challenges organizations in the UAE will be facing.

Read:Strong hiring confidence remains in the UAE; higher salaries demanded

“Marginal salary increases notwithstanding, the ongoing multi-million-dollar infrastructure, real estate, tourism and entertainment projects in the UAE are a big boost to the job market. Organizations are, however, still finding it difficult to retain top talent some of whom are increasingly joining the public sector or looking for greener pastures in neighboring countries,” Murphy said.  

2020 KSA Salary Guide

The KSA salary guide predicts a three percent increase on average across all sectors.

This, the report says, is mainly due to the profound changes underway in the kingdom, which are keeping salaries stable or rising across most industries.

According to Murphy, competition for top-tier Saudi national talent is applying pressure on market-rate salary ranges.

Read:Saudi rejoice: Salaries estimated to increase in 2019

“Saudi Arabia’s is slowly emerging as the go-to market for employment due to its steadily increasing salaries being experienced across key sectors. Driven largely by the country’s efforts to rejuvenate commerce and culture, KSA’s state entities’ privatization exercise and reforms have made it easier to set up new businesses and attract foreign capital, which has in turn significantly improved the job market,” Murphy pointed out.

Notable improvements in market-range salary increase for 2020 include the strategy sector, where salaries are predicted to grow by six percent followed closely by investment management and sales and marketing with five percent, and accounting and finance with four percent.

Read:Saudi Arabia pays SAR314 billion as public servants’ salaries

Advisory, banking and financial services, legal and investment management and public sector roles are expected to increase market-rate salaries by three percent.