Salary Reveals: More than Half of UAE Professionals Expect to Receive a Raise in 2018

Monday 11 June 2018
Suhail Masri, VP of Employer Solutions,
Dubai - MENA Herald:

The ‘Middle East and North Africa Salary Survey’, conducted amongst working men and women in the UAE in partnership with YouGov, revealed a variety of insights on employees’ perceptions of salaries and benefits. According to the survey, two thirds of respondents in the UAE (66%) believe salaries are either increasing or staying the same. At the same time, over half (56%) of employees expect to receive a raise in 2018, with 27% expecting a raise of up to 10%.

The survey, administered by, the Middle East’s #1 job site, and YouGov, a global pioneer in online market research, aims to gauge employee satisfaction with their current salaries and the varying components that contribute to it, as well as explore the drivers of loyalty towards employers and the significance of salary in career satisfaction and general wellbeing.

Salaries, Benefits, and Raises

In terms of salary, 60% of UAE respondents claim that their current salary package consists of basic salary with benefits, while around a quarter (23%) claim that it consists of basic salary only. 17% said they receive a basic salary as well as a commission and benefits. One in two (52%) respondents who receive a salary package along with other benefits and/or commission claim that their basic salary consists of up to half of the whole proportion of the package.

When it came to the preferred pay structure, 66% of UAE respondents said they prefer a ‘100% fixed pay structure’, 27% said they prefer a ‘partially fixed pay structure with a variable pay for commissions and incentives, while 7% prefer a ‘100% variable pay structure.

Among the various benefits employees in the UAE receive, personal medical insurance (53%), personal annual air ticket (45%), gratuity (32%), transportation allowance (31%), bonus (28%), and housing allowance (27%) emerge as the most common benefits. As for end of service benefits, more than three quarters (76%) of respondents say their company presently offers end-of-service gratuity, 7% receive pension on retirement, and 6% receive other forms of benefits.

Looking back at last year, almost one in two respondents (45%) received a salary raise in 2017. Nonetheless, over half (56%) of respondents from the UAE expect to receive a raise in 2018, with the largest proportion of these respondents (15%) expecting a raise of 1 to 5%.

Among respondents who believe salaries are increasing in the UAE close to a third (32%) attribute it to inflation and a rise in the cost of living, another (31%) believe salaries are increasing as a result of good corporate performance and increased profitability, 25% believe it is due to growth in opportunities and economic growth in their country of residence, and 24% say it is caused by intense competition for attracting and retaining talent.  

Finances and Expenses

More than three quarters (77%) of respondents believe their cost of living increased by up to 30% in 2017, 13% believe it has increased by more than 30%, while fewer than one in 10 (5%) believe it decreased or remained the same. When asked about the components of living which increased in cost in 2017, food and beverage (80%) and utilities (67%) emerged as the top two by a large margin. A majority (72%) anticipate a further increase in the cost of living in 2018.

In terms of monthly expenses, UAE respondents said they spend the most on rent (55%) food and dining out (13%), and education, schooling, and books for their children (10%).

That said, 65% of respondents in the UAE still manage to save a portion of their monthly income, over half (56%) of UAE respondents repatriate some portion of their salary to their home country, and 21% make regular financial investments.  

In terms of quality of life, one in two (55%) respondents from the UAE believe they are better off than other people of a similar generation in their country of residence, another one in five (21%) believe they are about the same, and only 16% believe they are worse off.

When asked about their career plans in the next twelve months, 58% of UAE respondents said they will look for a better job in the same industry, and two in five (41%) said they plan to look for a better job in a different industry.

“Surveys like this help uncover extremely valuable insights for employers and employees alike. It’s no surprise that as the cost of living increases in the MENA region, so do salaries and raise expectations, said Suhail Masri, VP of Employer Solutions, “At, we strive to pair job seekers with the employers that best suit their needs and preferences, and vice versa. We have more than 10,000 jobs available on on any given day, and with the knowledge gained from this survey and others like it, we are able to help facilitate the best matches between candidates and recruiters while making the process of finding jobs and filling vacancies smoother, less time consuming, and more rewarding all around.”

Respondent Profile

Among those surveyed, just over half (52%) of all UAE respondents have been working in their current industry for up to six years, with another quarter (26%) having worked in their industry for more than 10 years. When it came to specific employers, a vast majority (84%) of respondents have been working with their current employer for six years or less, with 46% having worked for their employer for less than three years.

In their current role, 39% of UAE professionals claim to be ‘midway in terms of seniority’ when asked about the level they have reached in their career path, with another third (29%) claiming they are ‘fairly senior level but not yet at the top’, 20% report being in the ‘early days of their career’, and 12% being at the ‘most senior level’ they can achieve.

Just over half (52%) of UAE respondents have up to 10 people reporting to them both directly and indirectly, while just under a quarter (23%) have 11 or more people reporting to them.

“Salaries is repeatedly one of the most important research topics for the MENA region, “said Nihal Jibouri, Head of Custom Research (MENA), YouGov.. “With the information we cover from this survey, we are able to gauge employee’s current income structure and levels, satisfaction with their salaries, perception towards their cost of living and expense allocation. This provides many insights to employers and key decision makers on many elements relating to the job market, the economy, and the quality of life.”

Data for the 2018 Middle East and North Africa Salaries survey was collected online from 24th March 2018 to 13th May 2018. Results are based on a sample of 4,194 respondents from the following countries: UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Palestine, Syria, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Sudan, and Pakistan.

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