Pay gap between entry-level jobs, managers widens in UAE
GCC countries are in the middle compared to others worldwide when it comes to pay gap.- Alamy Image
Dubai - The pay gap has increased in every GCC country over the last 10 years.
The pay gap between a graduate entry-level jobs and a senior manager levels has been on the rise over the last 10 years in the UAE and other Gulf countries, but majority of firms face challenges in sourcing senior level employees with the right skills than junior level workers, analysts say.
Benjamin Frost, solution architect at global consultancy firm Korn Ferry, says senior manager salaries are aligned with international market standards but junior pays are decided based on local cost of living factors.
"The pay gap has increased in every GCC country over the last 10 years. The basic underlying reason for this is supply and demand in the labour market. For lower level jobs, there is little upward pressure on pay, mostly because there is not an acute shortage of workers for lower level jobs," he said.
"At more senior levels, there is an acute shortage of people with the necessary people and leadership skills to be successful - which means that pay is rising for people at these levels. This means there is a limited pay growth at the bottom end, but significant growth at more senior levels, leading to a widening gap."
Omar Tahboub, general manager at Bayt.com, says the majority of businesses - 58 per cent - face major challenges in sourcing employees with relevant skills for senior positions, with only 32 per cent stating the same for junior roles.
"This can be due to the type of skills that are usually required for senior-level roles. Apart from job-specific skills and experience, skills such as emotional intelligence, logical and creative thinking, and entrepreneurial skills are deemed to be more critical for senior-level roles," says Tahboub.
Anas Almarie, an independent career development adviser in Dubai, says firms cannot pay an entrant the same salary as someone who has been working for 15 years. Generally, he noted, companies have a bracket for workers as we as based on performance.
"For example, if a salesman meets his target and brings business of half-a-million dirhams to the company, only then he can ask for any kind of cheque," he added.
Overall, according to Korn Ferry, GCC countries are in the middle compared to others worldwide when it comes to pay gap.
"It is important to note that senior GCC manager salaries are more closely aligned with international market, whereas junior salaries are aligned more with local cost of living. Therefore, countries with a low cost of living (e.g. emerging markets in Asia and Africa) tend to have a bigger pay gap, and higher cost countries (e.g. Western Europe, the US) have a lower gap," adds Frost.
He noted that typical gaps in other countries are between three to four times in Western Europe and the US; five to 10 times in semi-emerging markets like Mexico, South Africa or the GCC; and over 10 times in emerging markets like China, India or Vietnam.