Dubai: Despite the economic slowdown, about half of employees in the UAE and the rest of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region still secured a salary increase in 2015, a new report showed.
The Hays GCC Salary & Employment Report 2016, released on Sunday, showed that 52 per cent of employees surveyed saw their monthly paycheques rise last year. The number of workers who received wage adjustments, however, dipped from 62 per cent a year earlier.
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Among those who did see a change in salary, nearly half enjoyed an increase in excess of 10 per cent, with about three in ten (34 per cent) reporting over 15 per cent increase in their annual pay and a smaller number (11 per cent) saying they got 11 to 15 per cent hike.
The improvement in incomes, however, was reached mostly as a result of changing jobs or from managing to negotiate an individual performance-related pay increase.
The biggest proportion of workers who enjoyed higher income last year (32 per cent) said they saw a change in their paycheque only because they landed a new job in another company. A smaller number (23 per cent), said they did benefit from a standard annual pay increase implemented by their employer across the board.
About two in ten (21 per cent) earned higher salary through individual performance-related pay increase, while 16 per cent got a financial reward through promotion.
“Maybe this is how employers manage to keep down the overall cost of salary rises to their business – taking a view on the worth of the individual rather than offering blanket increases,” said Chris Greaves, managing director at Hays UAE, in the report.
The report was based on a survey completed during the fourth quarter of 2015 by at least 2,400 employees and 200 employers from organisations of all sizes throughout the region. It also took into account job listings, job offers and candidate registrations with Hays UAE to verify the survey results.
Hays also noted that 2016 is expected to be a “less buoyant” year for salaries in the GCC compared to the previous 12 months. It said that while employer sentiment for the year ahead is positive, there is less optimism than in 2015.
“There are many mixed messages around salary and expectations in the GCC hiring market,” said Greaves.
“On the one hand, the low energy prices and increasingly volatile political situation in the Middle East have led to companies being very careful when addressing any new risk and taking a cautious approach to growth in order to reduce costs.”
“On the other hand, we continue to see a large amount of fluidity in the hiring market with much activity still to come, not least from the growing number of start-ups locating in the region. We are also seeing ongoing demand for candidates across a broad range of sectors as diversification of the economy, away from oil and gas, continues to intensify.”
According to other recruitment specialists, companies are still willing to set aside funds for wage adjustments this year, as top talent retention holds the key to an organisation’s ability to weather times of uncertainty.
“Despite uncertainty in the UAE, businesses are having to compete locally and internationally to attract and retain skilled professionals, especially for in-demand roles,” Gareth El Mettouri, associate director of Robert Half UAE told Gulf News earlier.
“As the region continues to operate in a specialist market, professionals with the right mix of expertise and soft skills for a role will be highly sought-after. This reflects the need to pay competitively,” he added.