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UAE jobs: Nearly 50% Emiratis expect a salary hike this year

The report found that 74 per cent of employers in the UAE plan to increase salaries in 2022



Photo for illustrative purposes
Photo for illustrative purposes
by

Waheed Abbas

Published: Sat 26 Feb 2022, 8:11 AM

Last updated: Sat 26 Feb 2022, 10:49 PM

Half of UAE nationals expect their salary will increase this year, according to a new study released by recruitment consultancy Hays.

Around 48 per cent of Emiratis anticipate their salary will remain the same as in 2021 and two per cent expect a decrease.

“This is the first time since running our annual salary survey that we have seen expectations for salary increases outweigh those expecting their salary to remain the same year-on-year within the Emirati community,” said Grace Eldridge, business manager of Hays Emiratisation division.

“While professionals' expectations are always slightly inflated above actual market trends, we do think these expectations are relatively realistic. Confidence in the market is at a three-year high, with business activity generally above and beyond pre-pandemic levels in the UAE. As a result, we expect a higher number of salary increases to be awarded this year than the past two years,” Eldridge said in Hays Emiratisation Salary Guide 2022.

The report found that almost three quarters – 74 per cent – of employers in the UAE plan to increase salaries in 2022, compared to 36 per cent who did in 2021.

The survey found that nearly one-third – 32 per cent – of Emiratis received a pay increase last year, lower than the 44 per cent of expats who experienced the same.

In order to increase the role of Emiratis in the private sector as part of its Emiratisation strategy, the UAE government has allocated Dh24 billion to upskill young Emirati talent, incentivise the private sector to hire UAE nationals and established a 10 per cent Emiratization quota in the private sector with an aim to create over 75,000 jobs by 2026.

“The UAE government has consistently worked with the public and private sectors to enhance the career prospects of young Emiratis,” said Nader Haffar, chairman of KPMG Middle East and South Asia and chairman and CEO of KPMG Lower Gulf.

However, Hays study found that the average uplift in pay was higher for the Emirati community, who were most commonly awarded a 5-10 per cent increase, than the expat community, where the most common was an uplift of less than 5 per cent.

For 2022, of those UAE nationals who expect a pay rise, the majority again anticipate an increase of 5-10 per cent, while the majority of employers plan to increase salaries by less than 5 per cent.

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“As mentioned above, employees' hopes when it comes to salaries are always slightly more optimistic than what we see in reality. In line with employers' intentions, we would expect the majority of those salaries that do increase to do so marginally, by up to 5 per cent,” said Eldridge.

“Our advice to professionals who believe they deserve a pay rise is to be prepared to ask for one. They must manage their negotiation formally and sensibly, in light of the value they bring to the organisation. Those who sit and wait from a pay rise may be disappointed,” Eldridge added.


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