MENA Salary Survey 2013 revealed

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67% of UAE professionals feel they receive less salary than industry peers, according to and YouGov Salary Survey

21% expect a raise of more than 15% in 2013

2013 MENA Salary Survey reveals that 67% of UAE professionals feel they receive less salary than industry peers
2013 MENA Salary Survey reveals that 67% of UAE professionals feel they receive less salary than industry peers. Photo-Great Beyond

The 2013 MENA Salary Survey conducted by the Middle East’s number one jobsite, and YouGov, a research and consulting organisation, have revealed that most UAE respondents believe that their current salary is lower than that of others in their industry, with only 3 percent stating a high level of satisfaction with their current remuneration plan. Eight-in-ten believe that the cost of living will continue to increase.

Most UAE respondents have held either one (26%) or two (38%) jobs in the past five years. The majority claim that they spend on average between one-to-three years in a job, though 23 percent held a position for at least six years.

The preferred pay structure in the UAE is fixed-pay, with preferred incentives being performance-based (62%), or professional training and development courses (41%). Incentives in the form of commissions (25%) and holiday allowances or foreign trips (25%) are also popular.

Respondents’ Current Package

In terms of their current salary, a fifth of UAE respondents (20%) receive basic salary only, while 65% receive their basic salary plus benefits. A third (33%) state that 51-75 percent of their salary package is their basic monthly salary. Additional benefits received from UAE companies include personal medical insurance (50%), personal annual air ticket (46%), and gratuities (33%).

The majority (50%) of UAE professionals state medium satisfaction with their current salary, with only 3 percent claiming high satisfaction.

Salary Comparisons and Expectations

The overwhelming sentiment in the UAE is that the salaries received by respondents in their current companies are lower than other companies in their industry (according to 67%), with 44 percent claiming that they did not receive a raise in 2012. The majority of those who did (21%) received a pay increment were given 1-5 percent raises , with 48 percent of those expressing unhappiness with the amount received.

In 2013, UAE respondents are torn with regards to receiving a raise: 27 percent expect to receive up to 15 percent and 21 percent expect to receive more than 15 percent, while 28 percent do not expect anything at all.

Cost of Living and Savings

More than half (53%) of UAE respondents state that their cost of living increased by more than 15% in 2012. They believe this is mostly due to increased rents (80%), rising food and beverage costs (69%), and education fees (38%). Eight-out-of-ten (78%) believe that the cost of living will continue to rise this year.

Four-in-ten (37%) UAE respondents save up to 15 percent of their monthly personal income; a third (32%) repatriate 15% or more.

Suhail Masri; “The results of the 2013 MENA Salary Survey suggest that salaries are not keeping pace with the rising cost of living in the UAE. This is a general trend across the Middle East that companies must begin to address; in doing so, they will be able to contribute to building employee loyalty and satisfaction, and will have the opportunity to reduce the number of employees looking to change jobs within the next year. The MENA Salary Survey is an annual study that reveals the levels of satisfaction and factors effecting as much across the Middle East and North African region. This information is vital for employers and job seekers in the region, in order to gauge individual country situations and make informed, empowered career and life decisions.” — Suhail Masri, VP of Sales,

Sundip Chahal; “Drivers of loyalty in particular are areas that employers in the region should consider, in order to slow what would seem to be a very transient workforce. Employees across the MENA region seem overall dissatisfied with their current packages and the rising cost of living; if the two do not draw closer, then there could be potential economic difficulties in the coming years.” — Sundip Chahal, CEO, YouGov.


Perception of Salaries in the Country and Quality of Life

When asked whether salaries are increasing or decreasing in their country of residence, 28 percent of UAE respondents said they are ‘increasing marginally’, with an additional 28 percent stating they are ‘increasing moderately’, and 19 percent state that they are staying the same.

Factors causing salaries in the UAE to increase are considered to be inflation and the rising cost of living (54%), growth in opportunities and economic growth (39%), and good corporate performance (17%). Reasons for salaries not increasing are seen to be the poor economy (29%), poor corporate performance and profitability (23%), and more top talent than available jobs (23%).

UAE respondents believe that they enjoy a standard of life that is mostly either on par with or above the standard of other residents in the same generation; 39 percent state that their standard of living is ‘about average’, 27 percent claim to be ‘somewhat better off’, and 17 percent are ‘much better off’.

Six-in-ten (60%) respondents intend to look for a better job in the same industry in the next 12 months, while 42 percent will look for a better job in a different industry and a fifth (18%) will look to other Middle Eastern countries for better jobs. This is likely because 31 percent of respondents believe that there is an excess supply of talent in the UAE.

Drivers of Loyalty

Loyalty to their current company is mostly driven by the salary UAE respondents receive – 47 percent believe that their loyalty is linked to their remuneration. Other variables that strongly drive loyalty in the UAE are opportunities for long-term career progression (35%), the respondents’ line manager (32%), and colleagues and work environment (32%).

Data for the MENA Salary Survey, May 2013, was collected online from April 28 – May 5, 2013. Results are reported on a base of 15,247 respondents. Countries that participated are; UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia.

About the Respondents
A quarter of the survey’s UAE respondents (25%) have been in their current career path for up to three years. Almost a third (29%) have spent up to one year with their current employer, while 30% have been with them for four-seven years. Four in 10 (38%) have one-five people currently reporting to them, and 37% oversee six or more employees. The majority of survey respondents are either midway (39%) or fairly senior (31%) in their position.

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