Dubai: Salaries of Emiratis were more resilient to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic than the rest of UAE’s working population, according to the new Hays 2021 ‘Emiratisation Salary & Employment’ report.
The majority (64%) of Emirati salaries remained the same in 2020 as in 2021, compared to a much lower 46 per cent of expats who said the same. When looking at the negative effects of the pandemic on pay, while 10 per cent of Emiratis had their salaries cut, more than double the number of expats (21%) experienced the same.
“On average, the national workforce has been exposed to fewer pay cuts and redundancies than the rest of the UAE’s working population,” said Samantha Wright, Senior Recruitment Consultant of Hays Emiratisation division.
“However, that is not to say that it has been unaffected by market conditions - we estimate 9 per cent of UAE nationals to have been made redundant in 2020, and specific to pay, UAE nationals actually received fewer pay increases than other professionals working in the UAE in the last 12 months,” she added.
The report found 33 per cent of expat salaries to have increased in the past 12 months and a lower 25 per cent of Emiratis to have received a pay rise. The survey also found that public sector organisations in Abu Dhabi pay the greatest salaries to UAE nationals – sometimes more than 40 per cent higher than private sector organisations. However outside of the capital, salaries within the public and private sector are shown to be either the same or up to 10 per cent higher in government entities.
“Historically again, it was always government entities that provided the highest salaries to Emirati professionals however, this is becoming less common,” said Wright.
How will this year look?
For 2021, expectations surrounding salaries are aligned for national and expat professionals in the UAE. The majority of UAE nationals (55%) expect their salary to remain the same as in 2020, 43 per cent expect it to increase and 2 per cent expect a decrease. Similarly, 52 per cent of expats expect salaries to remain stable, 45 per cent expect a pay rise and 3 per cent expect a pay cut.
“We expect the majority of salaries to remain the same in 2021 as in 2020 with increases being paid to those hitting required performance targets, regardless of UAE national status,” said Wright.
When it comes to job numbers, a significant 49 per cent of UAE nationals and expats expect to move employer in 2021, suggesting much optimism for the number of available jobs in the local market going forward. Similarly, the report found 62 per cent of Emirati professionals to be positive about their career prospects for the next 12 months.
“We have already seen job numbers increase since the turn of 2021 and we expect this trend to continue going forwards, with an added number of opportunities for UAE nationals in the private sector compared to previous years,” said Wright.