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Wages in the UAE Remain Stable With Rising Demand

UAE : 09 December 2010

Consultants state that the UAE goes against the global trend as wages are set to rise in certain skilled areas.

Professionals in the UAE labour market are experiencing improved wages, stated Robert Half recruitment firm.

The rate of pay has been stable for the most part since last year.  But after normalization has smoothed out the spikes in salaries seen before the recession, the demand for certain skilled professionals is coming back, along with forecasts of rising salaries.

Those in positions of leadership within the financial services sector, like those in operations or risk management at investment banks and private equities firms, are seeing up to 25 percent bonuses.  Law offices are also handing out generous bonus amounts, in an effort to keep high revenue earners and draw rainmakers in from the competition.

Within the finance and accounting industries over three out of ten employers are looking to expand their team and replace those that have left.  This is good news after a hiring freeze that lasted two years and saw the workload of those that left a company spread out between the remaining employees.  Cash flow, funding issues and working capital remains a priority, causing CFO’s to strengthen their financial team within the firm using seasoned treasury professionals.  Controllers are also in demand where cost reduction projects and ERPs are being implemented.  Those who move into a finance position, even for the interim, can expect to fetch $1600 each day, according to Robert Half, in return for problem solving and transforming the business from within.

As more firms put money into the technology side of their business IT professionals are in great demand, especially in senior positions.  Project managers, along with CIOs, are being sought after for the implementation of new or upgraded systems and experienced IT workers are in demand for the interim as new systems are integrated during global and regional merger or acquisition situations.

As the UAE comes out of a two year period that saw the average rate of pay dropping, those rates are rising again thanks to an atmosphere of growth suppressing the corporate attitude of survival.  Now professionals within HR, specifically the ones who manage talent well and have experience with succession planning, are in high demand with salaries for intermediate positions (5 years within the field) reaching $85,000.

Robert Half’s survey showed that businesses are now open to extending the budget to retain and attract those professionals in demand.  However, those arrangements that see an employee’s pay increased in order to stop them from leaving a firm generally results in around 50 percent of those same employees looking for work again within six months.

Although salary and opportunity for development are vital when considering a new position, about 13 percent of those surveyed in the UAE considered brand recognition and a stable corporate atmosphere to be more important.  Only 20 percent anticipate the desired balance between their work and home life to occur within the next five years.  This amount is far below European numbers, which indicate between 50 and 70 percent of professionals are expecting to see a work-life optimally balanced over the next five years.

Over three out of ten professionals in the UAE – 32 percent – have the intention of improving their marketable image in the eyes of businesses, while only 18 percent of Europeans surveyed (or less than one out of five) have the same intentions.

In this survey, the UAE Salary Guide 2011 from Robert Half, the typical rates of pay for professionals within finance firms, accounting and financial services, legal (both practicing and in-house positions), technology and human resource positions are reported, with differences noted for small businesses, mid-sized and large employers.

Andrew Reid, Staff Writer, Gulf Jobs Market News
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