The 2015 Bayt.com MENA Salary Survey, conducted by Bayt.com and YouGov, has found that more than half of UAE professionals are expecting a salary increase in 2015, although 40% admit that they didn’t receive one in 2014.
Current Salary and Future Expectations
Across the MENA region, a little over half (52%) of professionals surveyed claim their current package consists of basic salary plus benefits. In the UAE, 62% said that they receive a basic salary with benefits; another 15% are also entitled to commissions. For over a third of respondents in the UAE (36%) who receive a basic salary along with other benefits, the basic salary consists of 25-50% of their monthly salary package, while for 35% their basic salary represents 51-75% of their overall monthly income. Based on the survey, 63% of respondents in the UAE prefer a 100% fixed-pay structure.
Today, 50% of UAE professionals are unhappy with their income, compared to just 4% who are highly satisfied with what they earn. More than half (57%) of UAE respondents state that men and women get equal pay for doing the same work. Moreover, according to 66% of respondents in the UAE, their salary is lower than what other companies in their industry offer.
Surprisingly, 40% of UAE respondents said that they did not get a pay raise in 2014. For those who did, 25% were either very or modestly happy with their raise. Another 24% thought that their raise was fair in light of their contribution to the company or the organization’s financial situation – or even both. 52% of UAE professionals are quite unhappy or very unhappy with their raise.
Almost a quarter (24%) of UAE respondents do not expect to receive a salary increase in 2015. In parallel, 32% expect a raise of up to 15%. In the UAE, the most common benefits offered by companies are personal medical insurance (47%) and personal annual air ticket (42%). A total of 74% of UAE professionals claim that their company does not pay for overtime.
Loyalty, End of Service Benefits, and Insurance
60% of UAE respondents recognize that their loyalty to their company is, on some level, based on the salary that they earn. For 27%, however, that is just not the case. Other variables that drive UAE professionals’ loyalty to their company include opportunities for long-term career advancement (37%) and their line manager (33%).
In the UAE, 73% of respondents receive an end-of-service gratuity and a mere 4% get pension upon retirement. 23% have access to other forms of end-of-service benefits or none at all. Approximately half of UAE professionals (47%) have access to medical insurance for themselves – through their company – while 19% are also offered coverage for their dependents.
Cost of Living, Quality of Living, and Savings
A staggering 87% of UAE respondents have seen the cost of living rise in 2014, with 34% saying that it grew by more than 20%. These UAE respondents who mentioned that the cost of living increased attribute it to increases in the cost of rent (86%), food and beverages (59%), and utilities (56%). 79% of UAE respondents expect that the cost of living will continue to soar throughout the year.
The increased cost of living has, in turn, hampered these professionals’ ability to save: 27% of UAE respondents admit that they save nothing from their monthly salary. Still, 65% of expats in the UAE manage to repatriate a portion of their salary to their home country.
Despite the UAE’s high cost of living, 52% of UAE respondents say that they are better off, in terms of quality of life, compared to other people of a similar generation in their country of residence.
In the next 12 months, 59% of UAE professionals intend to look for a better job in the same industry, while 39% aim to find one in another industry. 64% believe that salaries in the UAE are increasing.
As for the factors causing salaries to jump, respondents in the UAE think that these include inflation/rise in cost of living (56%) and opportunity and economic growth (43%). On the other hand, the elements that are hindering pay rises are poor corporate performance/decreased profitability (26%) and a bad economy (24%)
“The 2015 Bayt.com MENA Salary Survey indicates that there is a growing gap between the cost of living in the UAE and salary earnings and propensity to save,” said Suhail Al-Masri, VP of Sales, Bayt.com. “Most respondents (79%) from across the Middle East and North Africa region are expecting a further increase in the cost of living in 2015. This means that employers must quickly address this widening disparity if they want to effectively tap into the local and regional talent pool. This study was especially designed to provide employers with insights into employee satisfaction levels with salary and raise received. Such information is key to guiding both employers and job seekers, so the mismatch between salaries and living costs can be successfully addressed. Ultimately, it is about equipping professionals across the career and industry spectrums with the right tools needed to make their next career move – one that can better suit their lifestyle. Tools such as the Bayt.com Salary Search can help employers uncover the salaries that are being paid in their industry. This way, employees will be happier with their pay and will have less reason to worry about the rising cost of living.”
Elissavet Vraka, YouGov, also added: “With about one-third (32%) of respondents from across the region admitting that they are unable to save any money at all, there is no doubt that the need for a salary boost, especially as prices continue to climb, is a very real one. After all, this is impacting employees’ loyalty to their company and encouraging them to jump ship. If they want to retain their employees, employers, on their part, will have to find new ways to improve their salary packages.”
Financial Investments, Expenses and Home Ownership
Only 20% of UAE respondents make regular investments (at least once a month), with insurance and investment plans (22%) being the most popular investment product.
When it comes to eating out, 21% of respondents in the UAE do it daily, while 29% choose to eat out a few times a week, and 32% eat out a few times a month. UAE respondents’ top monthly expenses comprise rent (62%) followed far behind by dining out (9%), children’s schooling (7%) and transportation (6%).
While one third of UAE respondents already own a home, 44% of UAE respondents who currently do not own a home would like to own one in their country of residence. Another 66% aspire to own a home in their home country.
Data for the 2015 Bayt.com MENA Salary Survey was collected online between March 30 and April 6 2015. Results are based on a sample of 12,158 respondents across the UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia.