Saudi CEOs top earners in GCC

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A view of six Gulf Cooperation Council member states’ currencies. Photo –

Executives based in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) earn the most with an average annual salary of $422,280 ($35,190 per month), a survey carried out by a regional business magazine revealed.

The Gulf Business survey‘s findings are based on the incomes of chief executive officers (CEOs) who are responsible for sales of more than $50 million. The survey also highlighted the additional ‘lifestyle premium’ for executives in KSA where perks include housing, travel and allowances.

Qatari CEOs enjoy the second highest income with an average salary of $399,648 per annum ($33,304 per month), the survey disclosed. Arab CEOs employed over last couple of years are commanding a 10% premium on their salaries compared to Western expatriates due to the demand for Arabic speaking executives, particularly in infrastructure based industries, the report said.

UAE-based CEOs are earning $377,664 per annum ($31,472 per month), the study revealed. Gulf Business survey reported that companies in the Emirates have been struggling to calibrate their workforce due to which remuneration varied widely. It also noted 1.27% pay increase across all jobs in the UAE during the last 12 months, though human resources pay for Westerners was slashed by 37%, dropping to $13,916 from $22,270 last year.

Kuwait ranked fourth on the CEO earnings table with salaries hitting highs of $363,120 ($30,260 per month). The report claimed that executive recruitment in the state took a direct hit from Arab Spring and eurozone crisis.

CEOs in Oman collected annual salaries around $344,952 ($28,746 per month) as the country’s GDP witnessed a steady rise.

Salaries in Bahrain, tiny Gulf Arab country that witnessed massive public unrest since January 2011, recorded a nominal increase despite remaining at the bottom of the GCC rankings. The report said that CEOs in the island nation received an average of $322,932 annually ($26,911 per month).

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