The last 12 months have proven challenging for many companies based in the Gulf region, and this was broadly reflected in the 2017 Gulf Business salary survey.
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.
Recruiters pointed to the difficult climate impacting wage growth, with Jennifer Campori, managing director of Charterhouse Middle East, indicating caution from regional businesses.
“Depending upon the business sector, the average operating budget allocates 40 per cent of the budget for salaries. And as the 2016 market was relatively flat, employers tended to be cautious on pay increases to ensure that the business remained stable during limited growth periods,” she said.
Oman was the third strongest market in terms of salary increases over the last 12 months, with the overall average monthly salary rising 0.52 per cent from $9,772 to $9,823.
Asians in the country saw an increase of 0.41 per cent from $8,590 to $8,625, Arabs saw an increase of 0.54 per cent from $10,000 to $10,054 and Western salaries were up 0.61 per cent from $10,726 to $10,791.
Top 10 salaries in Kuwait
(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: $30,268
Chief executive officer/managing director – local company: $19,358
Information technology – manager: $11,626
Banking – treasury manager: $11,461
Construction – project manager: $10,243
Human resources – manager: $9,546
Healthcare – general practitioner/ manager: $9,272
Legal – lawyer marketer/manager: $9,210
Real estate – manager: $8,855
Banking – retail/personal banking manager: $8,692
Looking ahead, the introduction of a 5 per cent value added tax rate across the region from next year will have an impact.
“If you imagine that 5 per cent is going to be immediately transferred to every employee you’ve got, the cost of living is going to go up,” said Ian Giulianotti, director at Nadia.
“We’re going to see people asking for pay rises of 8 to 10 or 12 per cent in 2018 and 2019.”
However, the demands are likely to fall on deaf ears, as companies continue to navigate tough economic waters, he added.
Also read: Revealed: The UAE’s top 10 salaries