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46% of UAE respondents did not receive a pay raise at all in 2015, according to and YouGov survey

The 2016 Middle East and North Africa Salary Survey, conducted by, the Middle East’s number one job site, and YouGov, the leading market research agency, revealed that more than half (55%) of UAE respondents are expecting a salary increase in 2016.

Current Salary
In the UAE, less than one in five professionals (18%) believe that their salary is competitive with other companies in their industry, while the majority believe that their salary is lower than the industry average (64%). When asked about the industries which offer the highest salaries, oil, gas and petrochemicals (37%), banking and finance (30%) and airline/aviation (29%) emerged at the highest paying industries for UAE respondents.

51% of UAE respondents claim the salary they earn is, at least to some extent, the main driver behind their loyalty to their company, while one-third (32%) claimed their loyalty is not linked to the salary they receive. Besides salary, long-term career advancement opportunities (40%) and line manager (35%) emerged as the most important factors driving employee loyalty in the UAE.

In terms of equal pay, while half (49%) claim they are unaware, the largest proportion (27%) with a point of view believed that  men and women are paid equally for doing the same work.

“This study was especially designed to provide employers with insights into employee satisfaction levels with their salary and raises. This information is key to guiding both employers and job seekers, so the mismatch between salaries offered and expectations can be successfully addressed. Tools such as Salary Search by can help employers uncover the salaries that are being paid in their industry. The same tool helps professionals gauge their earnings against market average, and thus, learn whether or not they are being fairly paid for the job they are doing,” said Suhail Masri, VP of Employer Solutions,

Promotions and Pay Raises
In 2015, around one in five (21%) respondents in the UAE received a promotion, with two thirds of them (62%) receiving an accompanying salary increase.

Surprisingly, close to half of UAE respondents (46%) disclosed that they have not received a pay raise in 2015 at all, and 30% of those who did were quite dissatisfied with their raise. In fact, only 9% of UAE respondents said their raise was above the inflation rate; 17% said it was in line with the inflation rate, and 52% said the raise they received was below the current rate of inflation.

On the other hand, 36% appear to be very happy or modestly happy with their raise, and 10% believe that the pay raise they received last year was fair in light of their contribution to the company.

As for future expectations, a third (33%) of UAE respondents expect a raise of up to 15%, while a little over a quarter (28%) do not expect to receive a raise at all in 2016. Another 16% were unsure of whether they would get a raise.

Benefits, Bonuses and Promotions
In the UAE, approximately one in five (21%) professionals receive overtime pay, and 43% receive a company bonus or incentive plan. For those who receive a bonus, 67% said they get an annual or year-end bonus, while 35% get an incentive-based bonus.

In terms of pay structures, two-thirds  (65%) of professionals in the UAE prefer a 100% fixed pay structure, while almost a third (31%) say that they prefer a partially-fixed pay structure, with variable pay for commissions and incentives. Pay structures are annually or biennially reviewed for 42% of UAE respondents, while one fifth (18%) do not receive any pay reviews at all.

With regards to additional benefits, more that half (53%) of UAE respondents say that they receive personal medical insurance, 48% are allotted a personal air ticket and 31% receive transportation allowance from their companies. When asked about their preferences, 55% of the respondents admitted that they would prefer to receive a bonus, while others would rather receive housing allowance, or company-provided accommodation, at 36% and 35%, respectively.

Future Plans and Expectations
In the UAE, the majority of respondents (58%) claim that they are planning on finding a better job in their industry within the next 12 months, while 37% state that they will be looking for a better job in a new industry. Interestingly, only 12% of UAE respondents plan on relocating to a different country in the Middle East in search of a better job.

When asked about future trends, almost a third (31%) of UAE respondents expect salaries to slightly increase, while 9% expect the opposite (slightly decrease). According to the respondents, factors causing salaries to increase include inflation/rise in cost of living (63%), growth in opportunities and economic growth in the country (41%), and good corporate performance/increased profitability (25%). On the other hand, UAE residents see poor economic growth/declining oil prices (57%), poor corporate performance/decreased profitability (39%), and employer-friendly laws (24%) as the factors preventing salary increases.

Expenses and Savings
With regards to the rising cost of living in the UAE, the majority of respondents say that they have witnessed an increase in their rent (80%), food and beverage (57%) and utilities (55%). Another 35% of respondents say they have also experienced increases in education, and 29% mentioned entertainment as one of the major cost increases.

The increased cost of living has, in turn, hampered UAE professionals’ ability to save: 29% of them admit that they save nothing from their monthly salary. Still, 60% of UAE employees manage to repatriate a portion of their salary to their home country.

Masri continued, “As a part of our mission to empower people to lead their lifestyles of choice, has currently more than 10,000 jobs posted on its website on any given day.  That is beside the volume of unadvertised jobs that get filled by employers through the CV Search mechanism on  Jobseeker registration on is growing at over 12,000 new registered job seekers a day – a growth that reflects a healthy appetite for jobs across the industry spectrum across the region and corresponds to the fact that the majority of MENA respondents plan to look for a new job in the next 12 months.’

In the UAE, the most popular choice for monthly investments include investing in local property (13%). It is worthy to note, though, that only 17% of UAE respondents make financial investments on a regular basis.

Of those polled in the UAE, over a quarter own their own home (27%), while 45% are interested in owning a home in their country of residence, and 62% would like to own a home in their home country.

Joao Neves, Research Director, YouGov, said: “It is interesting to note that 61% of MENA respondents manage to save a portion of their monthly income, with 58% of those living outside their home country being able to repatriate a portion of their savings to their home country. This is a good sign for both employers and job seekers, as the ability to save and repatriate savings will impact other factors such as employee satisfaction and loyalty towards the company.”

Data for the 2016 Middle East and North Africa Salary Survey was collected online from April 1st to April 15th 2016. Results are based on a sample of 8,158 respondents who live in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia.

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