Middle East Salary Report 2018 Reveals Challenging Times Ahead

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The specialist recruitment company Michael Page has released their latest Middle East Salary report, highlighting that job market continues to be challenging not only for the remaining 2017, but also predicting that the lull period will extend well into 2018.

The Middle East region and the professional labour market continues to be unpredictable with 2017 providing numerous challenges. There is continued instability at country and regional level courtesy of multiple issues and actions. However, the only silver lining seen is the rise in oil to nearly $65 a barrel.

Gareth El Mettouri, Associate Director at Robert Half Middle East, a recruitment specialist company reflects more or less the same outlook in their 2017 Middle East Salary Guide. He says: “Uncertainty in the market and OPEC’s reducing oil outputs are affecting economic activity in the UAE. The result has been a slowdown in new projects and the launch of new ventures, but as the situation begins to stabilise, there is evidence that plans are getting back on track.”

Bleak Job Market Forecast

Cooper Fitch, another specialist resourcing company states in their 2017 salary guide that “overall, the economy was sluggish, due in part to poor consumer confidence and low commodity prices.”

Micheal Page’s report cites that the continued instability has slowed decision making and market was expecting a turnaround in improvement beginning Q4 17 and into 2018. However, the majority of the company’s clients now believe that 2018 will be a continuation of the  current market, albeit 2017 is the “bottoming out” phase completed.

Salary Trends for 2018

According to the report, specific sectors such as financial services, real estate and energy all hiring again. Conversely, retail and consumer goods are still on ‘go slow’ mode, while technology, healthcare and education investment is steady.

1. Finance & Accounts

Top level finance and accounts professionals enjoy the highest salaries in all categories with MNCs offering up to a whopping AED 220,000 per month for Group/Regional CFOs.

2. Banking

Banking professionals’ salaries varies with top honchos at private equity firms demanding up to AED 190,000 per month.

3. Digital

Digital marketing professionals are in great demand and salaries are in the range of AED 50,000- AED 80,000 per month for a chief digital officer.

4. Real Estate

According to the report, real estate sector is seeing a revival with new hires and better salaries. A construction project director could fetch in the range of AED 65,000 to AED 75,000.

5. Human Resources

Salary of high-end HR professionals range from AED 40,000 to AED 80,000 for heads of departments, with VP HR commanding a cool salary of up to AED 110,000.

Government spending to boost jobs growth

Government spending in Abu Dhabi has re-commenced and Saudi Arabia’s  transformation of the public sector is in full swing – with numerous entities created to deliver the National  Transformation Program 2020 and Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.

RELATED: 11 Interesting Facts about NEOM, Saudi’s Mega City

The company notes that over the last 2 years, public and private sectors have taken all the necessary action to  streamline their organisations and are now ready for the next period of growth in the region. The timing of  decision making will continue to be effected as regional events (out of their control) unfold.

Finally, salaries and bonuses tend to be classified into pre 2015 and post 2015 (in reference to the oil price  plunge in Q4 2015). Candidates now accept that figures are different in the new era – there is not as much  push back. The challenge for all organisations entering 2018 is how to manage annual increases, given the  introduction of 5% VAT. The general view will be that 5% VAT is still a lot less than the high level of personal  income tax payable in most countries.

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