The overall hiring outlook in the UAE is positive with close to 50 per cent of companies looking to increase their headcount.
Salaries in the UAE are projected to increase 4.8 per cent next year, with the highest hike likely in life sciences, consumer goods and high-tech industries, according to global consultancy Mercer.
The energy industry, which was the highest paying sector earlier, has not seen a downward shift with a projected hike of four per cent, which is below the market average.
“The GCC is a market that is continuously progressing and thriving. With the UAE’s vision of diversifying away from oil, we’re seeing new trends in industries with regards to employee compensation, hiring and talent. Sectors such as high tech and life sciences have evolved due to the growing population and the need for digital transformation across the entire market, which is generating more employment opportunities and salary increases,” said Ted Raffoul, career products leader, Mena, Mercer.
Gareth El Mettouri, associate director for Robert Half UK, believes oil and gas, engineering and infrastructure will attract the biggest salary hike of three to five per cent.
Suhail Masri, vice-president of employer solutions at Bayt.com, said a survey conducted by the portal revealed that two thirds of respondents in the UAE – 66 per cent – believe salaries are either increasing or staying the same.
At the same time, over half – 56 per cent – of employees expect to receive a raise in 2018, with 27 per cent expecting a raise of up to 10 per cent.
The most recent ‘Top Industries in the Middle East and North Africa’ report released by Bayt.com asked about professionals’ perception of job attributes in various industries. Survey respondents claim that the best salary packages in the UAE are found in certain industries including aviation (19 per cent), banking and finance (18 per cent), government services (18 per cent) and military/police (15 per cent).
According to Mercer, the overall hiring outlook in the UAE is positive with close to 50 per cent of companies looking to increase their headcount and 45 per cent looking to maintain headcount. Three per cent of companies have stated salary freezes in 2018 compared to 10 per cent in 2016.
The survey also looked at pay parity (in terms of annual total cash) at different levels of management in the region. The ratio of salary difference rises steeply (up to 10 times) as employees reach senior level positions in the UAE, compared to the average of five times in developed markets. This trend is commonly seen in emerging markets as talent scarcity plays a major role, and there are extremely high premiums to be gained by those people with the right skills. Most notably, the highest-ranking executives in the UAE earn more than their peers in the US and UK.