Just as the Gulf economies have undergone dramatic changes in recent months, including the introduction of value added tax and fee increases, we too felt it was time to shake up our annual Salary Survey.
While the format has served us well over the years, and offered a unique insight into the compensation expats could expect for a number of key roles, it was increasingly apparent that the included positions were not entirely reflective of the job market as we move towards the end of the decade.
In addition, a focus on largely management roles meant it offered less insight for the majority of the workforce, who are further down the ladder.
Our new streamlined Salary Survey for 2018 aims to address these issues in a simplified format that should prove relevant for the years to come as the gaps between Asian, Arabic and Western wages shrink.
Among the most noticeable changes has been the inclusion of the new lower tier positions such as human resources executive, logistics executive, sales executive and receptionist.
This meant that the overall average monthly salary this year of $8,083 is 26.3 per cent lower than that seen last year, with some quite substantial differences in some countries.
For example, the Bahrain average was 25.18 per cent lower than the previous year.
This year, Bahrain was found to be the third best paying country among the five Gulf Cooperation Council states covered with an average monthly salary of $7,867.
This was 8.4 per cent less than the top paying country, Saudi Arabia, but only slightly ahead of the $7,826 Kuwait average and the $7,846 Oman average.
Bahrain was found to be the best paying country for the head teacher/principal position at $11,130.
This was 2.7 per cent more than the average salary in Oman, 32.2 per cent more than the UAE, 42.6 per cent more than Saudi and 51.7 per cent more than Kuwait, although this may have been a reflection of the different benefits paid outside of salary in each country.
The island kingdom was also the second best paying country for the hotel general manager role at $14,240, behind Kuwait’s $15,290 but 31 per cent higher than Saudi Arabia’s $10,404.
More broadly though, Bahrain appears to be going through something of a slump, with labour ministry statistics showing the country’s workforce decreased for the first time in five years in 2017.
This reflects a slump in recent years linked to lower oil prices, with the country deemed among the most vulnerable in the Middle East to crude market movements due to the size of its fiscal deficit.
Top salaries in Bahrain
(All the amounts are monthly averages taken from data collated by three recruitment firms)
CEO/MD – Multinational: $33,040
CEO/MD – Local company: $23,625
Hotel general manager: $14,240
Head teacher/principal: $11,130
Real estate manager: $8,250
Construction project manager: $7,809
Human resources manager: $7,438
Recruitment manager: $7,099
IT manager: $6,520
PR account manager: $6,094
Sales/marketing manager: $5,216
Facilities management manager: $5,206
Healthcare general practitioner: $4,790
Office manager: $4,491
Digital marketing specialist: $4,175
Bank branch manager: $3,963
Sales executive: $3,774
Logistics executive: $3,450
Senior accountant: $3,282
HR executive: $2,933
Overall average: $7,867
The recruiters that participated in our survey continue to view the Gulf as an attractive place to work with average pay rises predictions across the region ranging from 2-3 per cent to 5 per cent this year.