Top 20 salaries in the UAE 2018
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Top 20 salaries in the UAE 2018

Top 20 salaries in the UAE 2018

An insight into earnings in the UAE from the 2018 Gulf Business Salary Survey


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 UAE average was 26.74 per cent lower than the previous year.

This year, the UAE was found to be the second best paying country among the five Gulf Cooperation Council states covered with an average monthly salary of $8,315.

This was 2.9 per cent less than the top paying country, Saudi Arabia, but 5.53 per cent more than Bahrain, 5.8 per cent more than Oman and 6 per cent more than Kuwait.

Read: Top 20 salaries in Bahrain 2018

Read: Top 20 salaries in Oman 2018

Read: Top 20 salaries in Kuwait 2018

The UAE was found to be the top paying country for construction project managers ($8,912); 1.7 per cent more than Saudi, 6.97 per cent more than Kuwait, 11.88 per cent more than Oman and 13.1 per cent more than Bahrain.

For bank branch managers the emirates also paid significantly more at $6,122. This was 25.76 per cent higher than the same position in Saudi, 42.83 per cent higher than Bahrain, 45.3 per cent higher than Kuwait and a substantial 75.4 per cent higher than Oman.

Other noticeable areas where the country led was in the average salary for editors ($5,667) – 9.1 per cent more than Saudi, 16.1 per cent more than Oman, 21 per cent more than Bahrain and 25.8 per cent more than Kuwait.

A less pronounced difference was seen for lawyers, with the $10,239 UAE figure up 2.3 per cent on Saudi, 14.5 per cent on Kuwait, 21.7 per cent on Oman and 22.9 per cent on Bahrain.

Similarly for digital marketing specialists, with the UAE’s $4,493up 1.8 per cent on Saudi, 7.3 per cent on Bahrain, 9.4 per cent on Oman and 20 per cent on Kuwait.

This year the UAE introduced a 5 per cent value added tax rate on most goods and services that was expected to lead to a surge in demand for tax specialists in the country.

Read: Up to 75,000 UAE firms facing fines for failing to register for VAT

However, recruiters indicated this was not necessarily the case.

“We thought that with VAT coming in there would be an influx of VAT specialists,” said Nadia director Ian Giulianotti.

“There have been some but not the numbers that we expected, and it certainly hasn’t had the effect we expected on salaries or people that have VAT experience.”

Another area where VAT does not appear to be having an impact is on salaries themselves, according to Michael Page Middle East managing director Leith Ramsay, who said firms have generally not factored the tax into pay rises.

“Most organisations did not factor in VAT into annual salary increases. The logic being the benefit of living with zero income tax is far greater than the introduction of VAT.”

Top salaries in the UAE
(All the amounts are monthly averages taken from data collated by three recruitment firms)

CEO/MD – Multinational: $35,700

CEO/MD – Local company: $25,475

Hotel general manager: $9,741

Head teacher/principal: $8,038

Real estate manager: $7,691

Lawyer: $10,239

Construction project manager: $8,913

Human resources manager: $8,421

Recruitment manager: $7,791

IT manager: $8,000

PR account manager: $6,452

Sales/marketing manager: $5,812

Facilities management manager: $6,546

Healthcare general practitioner: $5,050

Editor: $5,667

Office manager: $4,856

Digital marketing specialist: $4,494

Bank branch manager: $6,123

Sales executive: $4,103

Logistics executive: $3,147

Senior accountant: $3,633

HR executive: $3,359

Receptionist: $1,988

Overall average: $8,315

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.

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