UAE jobs: Nearly 50% residents received bonuses last year, survey reveals

About 31% of the respondents received a bonus of up to Dh20,000, while over 5 per cent reported a bonus value of Dh50,000 or above

By Sahim Salim and Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Fri 3 Mar 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Fri 3 Mar 2023, 5:23 PM

The year 2022 will be known as the year of revival in the post-pandemic world. In 2022, companies also revived salary bonuses since Covid-19 struck. Almost half of the residents, who were interviewed, as part of a survey said they received bonuses last year.

About 31 per cent of the respondents received a bonus of up to Dh20,000, while over 5 per cent reported a bonus value of Dh50,000 or above. These came in a survey by YouGov commissioned by Zurich International Life (Zurich), part of Zurich Insurance Group.

Conducted in January 2023, the survey covered 1,200 respondents in the UAE, including parents and married residents across various income groups, nationalities, occupations, age groups, and gender.

A.I., who has been working in the UAE for 18 years, said he was overjoyed to have received a bonus after three years. “Over the years, we have received quite generous bonuses of one salary or sometimes a bit more than that,” he said. “This year’s wasn’t comparable to that, but I am happy. I know that our company struggled with Covid and its aftereffects, so I am just happy to have gotten something. For me, it is a sign of the return to normalcy, which seemed almost impossible during the darkest days of the pandemic.”

He also added that he would use the surplus cash to partially pay off a loan and to invest in the stock market.

How residents will use the extra cash

An overwhelming majority of UAE residents (82 per cent) plan to utilise their annual bonus to invest in their future. According to the survey, the top priorities among most UAE residents when utilising their bonus include investing in property (24 per cent), saving for retirement (17.6 per cent), paying off debts (15 per cent), and saving for their children’s education (14 per cent).

Investing in property (24.7 per cent), saving for retirement (17.4 per cent), and saving for children’s education (14.8 per cent) topped the priority list for Asians in the UAE. In comparison, property (21 per cent), paying off debt (19.2 per cent), and saving for retirement (18.8 per cent) ranked top for Emiratis and Arab expats.

Dubai resident Sara, who got a bonus in 2022, said she used the money along with a sum that she had saved up over the year to remodel her house in India. “It is something we have wanted to do for a long time,” she said. “We installed new cabinets in the kitchen. We also broke down an existing half-wall in the house between two small rooms to create one big room. We also installed a new fridge and an electric stove. My family was really happy, and I felt like it was money well spent.”

Taru Singhal, head of IFA Distribution, Zurich in the Middle East, said it is encouraging to see that most UAE residents are now feeling an increased sense of responsibility for their own financial well-being. “Our survey shows that the majority of residents are adopting a long-term perspective when planning how to utilise their annual bonuses.”

How residents invest

The survey revealed the factors that influenced the UAE residents' choice to use their bonuses. It found that 75 per cent of the respondents were influenced by their family and friends. In comparison, employer and market trends also played a significant role at 22 per cent. Other factors included influence by peers (18 per cent) and recommendations by a financial advisor (13 per cent).


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