Salaries have remained more or less stagnant in the last year across the GCC in line with the slump in regional economies, according to the 2017 Gulf Business Salary Survey.
Wage growth in the GCC remained mute as regional economies tackled decreased government spending, new austerity measures and reduced business linked to lower oil prices.
The average monthly salary across our three expatriate groups – Asian, Arab and Western – increased just 0.49 per cent or $54 over the last year, from $11,123 to $11,177. This was 0.3 per cent below the $11,211 seen in 2015.
The UAE was the second strongest market in terms of salary increases across the three groups with the average monthly pay packet rising 0.66 per cent from $11,276 to $11,350.
Average Asian salaries were up 0.75 per cent from $9,363 to $9,433, Arab salaries increased 0.71 per cent from $11,936 to $12,021 and Western salaries were up 0.24 per cent from $11,991 to $12,020.
As witnessed annually, the gap in salaries between the different nationalities remained wide. For instance, Arab expat CEOs and MDs pocket $37,555 per month, 21 per cent higher than their Asian peers. The difference in salaries of construction project managers was found to be even more stark, with Western expats making $15,072 per month – 58.4 per cent more than the $9,513 that their Asian counterparts earn.
The survey also found that on an average basis, the salaries for most of the top 10 highest earners remained exactly the same. The only two roles that saw a slight rise in salaries include – lawyer marketers and legal managers (up by 3 per cent) and information technology (IT) managers (up by 0.1 per cent).
Top 10 salaries in the UAE
(All the amounts are monthly averages taken from Asian, Western and Arab expat salaries with data collated from Charterhouse Middle East and Nadia)
Chief executive officer/managing director – multinational: $35,085
Chief executive officer/managing director – local company: $22,820
Banking – treasury manager: $13,490
Information technology – manager: $13,082
Construction – project manager: $12,356
Human resources – manager: $11,318
Legal – lawyer marketer/manager: $10,779
Banking – retail/personal banking manager: $10,273
Banking – branch manager: $10,215
Healthcare – general practitioner/manager: $9,960
Looking ahead, despite salaries remaining flat, recruiters believe the Gulf is unlikely to lose its appeal for expats in the near future.
Expo 2020 in Dubai and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar are still considered bright spots on the horizon and the UAE in particular is expected to continue to attract foreign talent.
“The Gulf will always be an exciting place for expatriates and I do not think the UAE will ever lose its allure,” said Jennifer Campori, managing director of Charterhouse Middle East.
“The UAE is always forward thinking in the development of its people and infrastructure, ensuring it is the most attractive offering to expatriates either on holiday or for longer-term employment.”
The complete 2017 Salary Survey is published in the April issue of Gulf Business, out on stands now.