UAE salary packages among best in GCC


UAE salary packages among best in GCC
Top factors causing pay to increase are growth in opportunities, economic growth, good corporate performance and increased profitability.

Dubai - A mid-level expat working in the UAE earns a whopping Dh320,000 per annum on average.

By Waheed Abbas

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Published: Fri 28 Jun 2019, 9:43 PM

The UAE is home to a large number of expatriates, thanks to handsome remuneration packages offered to professionals by local and foreign entities and Dubai's position as a regional financial and business hub.
A mid-level expat working in the UAE earns a whopping Dh320,000 (£69,280) per annum on average, which is the second-best remuneration after Saudi Arabia in the region. In the kingdom, the UAE's peers earn approximately Dh329,000 (£71,125) per annum, according to ECA International.

"The Middle East has always offered extremely high salaries to overseas workers, and 2018 was no different. However, the benefits offered in these nations are not among the most costly for an employer, and the average value of benefits offered actually dropped in both locations last year, while the lack of any personal tax means that the overall package works out to be a lot lower when benefits and tax are both taken into account," said Oliver Browne, remuneration manager at ECA International.
However, CEO World has ranked Dubai and Abu Dhabi among 100 cities that offer the highest average monthly net salary after tax. Ranked 65th, the average salary in Dubai is $2,888 (Dh10,600) and $2,653 (Dh9,736) in Abu Dhabi, which is ranked 87th. It, however, didn't disclose the job profile ? of candidates.
Nadine Obeid, UAE country manager at, said the top factors that are causing salaries to increase in the UAE are growth in opportunities, economic growth, good corporate performance and increased profitability.
"Indeed, the UAE is among the most booming and competitive job markets regionally and globally, with many talented professionals looking to make their next big break here," said Obeid.
She noted that jobseekers face challenges of supply versus demand, which higher competitiveness, especially in a country that is packed with lucrative career opportunities such as the UAE, which are attractive to the crème-de-la-crème of talent from all around the world.
"It is a game of keeping skills up to date and relevant with the ever-shifting job requirements and technological evolution."
Deepak Ahuja, CEO of Nadia Global, said individuals spend an average 30 per cent of their salaries on house rents.
"Dubai and Abu Dhabi rents are higher in comparison to other cities in the region, therefore, the salaries paid are higher, in line with cost of living. Additionally, both the cities are considered hubs for various local and governmental initiatives such as finance, free zones, tourism, oil and gas and renewable industries such as solar power. As a result, we note a higher demand for highly qualified and specialised professionals for these industries, hence resulting in higher salaries in these two emirates," said Ahuja.
Gareth El Mettouri, associate director at Robert Half UAE, said Dubai and Abu Dhabi continue to be increasingly competitive on the global stage.
"Businesses within the region need access to the top talent, as such, the potential is high for professionals with the specialist skillsets in demand. One of those skill sets is through digital transformation initiatives. Roles such as IT project managers, business analysts, HR managers and financial planning and analysis managers with proven experience in this area are in strong demand," he said.
El Mettouri noted that the UAE businesses continue to compete with global markets for skilled professionals, as such job offers often need to compete with local but also, international competition.
"If businesses aren't able to compete on salary alone, we are seeing professionals being open to positions where the career progression or development opportunities are stronger," he said.
Murtaza Khan, managing partner at Fragomen, said prevailing geopolitical tension has translated to a more competitive environment in the region with many countries vying to attract foreign talent and investment.
"The ongoing competition for talent also sustains the growth of not only existing industries but also those emerging from the fourth industrial revolution. This competition is only partially driven by purely economic incentives such as salaries but is also about creating migration pathways allowing talent the flexibility to innovate, take a long term view, and as we move into the new generation, a lifestyle and security environment that suits them," Khan said.
Globally, the UK has overtaken Japan as the most expensive location to send expatriates, with the average expat pay package rising by £44,688 to £311,240 (Dh1,447,150) according to latest data from ECA International.
After the UK, Switzerland is the second most expensive country in Europe for expat pay packages costing companies an average of £178,260 (Dh828,950). While average pay packages in the US has dropped by $4,445 to an overall total of $250,028 (Dh918,227) mainly due to a major decrease in personal tax requirements as salaries and benefits both increased.
While pay and benefit package of an expat living and working in China saw a significant rebound last year. The average package is now valued at £228,896 (1,064,508), an increase of three per cent in local currency, pushing China up to third in the rankings.

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