Dubai: Good news for UAE job seekers in professional service roles, including IT, HR, and finance and accounting, as their salaries are seeing a 2 per cent increase year-on-year. Pay scales have become more stable over the past few months, and that’s expected to continue well into 2024, according to Robert Half’s 2024 Salary Guide for the UAE. That said, there are still significant increases available for candidates in specific sectors and roles, stated the report.
Mid-career professionals in these fields earn between Dh30,000 and Dh50,000 per month, and salaries for senior leadership roles are seeing upward trends of Dh90,000 and above.
Moreover, employers are increasing living allowances in some areas but reducing them for new employees. Workers are also receiving increased housing allowances, according to the report.
The salary guide surveys starting salaries across more than 100 professional services roles in finance and accounting, financial services, IT and technology, HR and legal sectors. A total of 500 professionals living and working in the UAE were surveyed.
Best time to be in HR
Those in HR roles stand to gain the most, with an average salary increase of 4.4 per cent.
“Driven by demand for compensation and benefits, there is a growing need for experts and talent administrators, also highlighting the appetite for businesses to attract and retain the best talent,” stated the report.
“While the package is important, HR candidates are more interested in company culture and building a long-term career than candidates in other sectors,” explained Gareth El Mettouri, Associate Director Middle East at Robert Half.
Most in-demand roles within the sector are - HR director, head of talent management, and HR generalists. The hardest-to-find talent includes - the head of compensation and benefits and the HR transformation director.
Salaries for HR leadership roles have increased by 2.5 per cent. Individuals starting as HR directors can earn upwards of Dh72,000 per month, mid-career professionals can take home Dh97,500, and experienced directors can make Dh116,000 per month. HR analytics and rewards analysts are taking home Dh13,900.
Overall, the report also revealed that about 41 per cent of employees in these professions received salary increases in the past 12 months, either through an annual increase or a new role. And only 13 per cent of the surveyed professionals have experienced a decrease in pay.
In a sector-wise breakdown, the IT and technology sector has seen less movement in salaries over the past 12 months – a trend that is expected to continue into 2024, said the report. “As Dubai becomes more attractive, the job market is becoming less competitive, although there is still significant demand for project managers and senior leaders who can set up offices as more and more businesses move into the region,” it added.
Average salary increases in IT and tech stood at 1.2 per cent, but leadership roles saw increases of 1.7 per cent. Project management and network support roles are seeing the highest increases of 3.6 and 2.1 per cent, respectively.
Meanwhile, the finance and accounting sectors are seeing less movement at a senior level. Still, candidates at a middle management level are in-demand, and employers are determined to hold onto their best talent – particularly in corporate accounting. “Salaries are relatively flat in the sector, but high demand is pushing up analyst salaries,” said the report. There has been a 3.1 per cent increase in salaries of corporate accountants.
People are also prepared to leave their jobs semi-regularly to secure salary boosts or better benefits.
According to the report, candidates are relocating to the UAE without jobs. They are happy to accept jobs quickly to gain a foothold in the region, putting businesses in a position of power. “This reflects the shift to an ‘employers’ market’, with more people moving to the UAE due to the luxury lifestyle and conditions in other countries,” said the report.
The UAE Government’s efforts to create a welcoming environment for businesses are paying off, said El Mettouri.
have received salary increases either through annual increase or new role
He explained, “(Moving to the) UAE has become the ultimate lifestyle move – and demand from expats has never been higher.” Many companies are setting up or establishing new offices in the region, driving demand for talent across sectors, said El Mettouri.
He explained, “With an influx of talent flooding the region and more competition for roles, candidates are willing to accept lower packages, which brings down the overall market rate and restricts salary growth.”
UAE professionals’ salaries
- Chief Financial Officer (SME) with above-average experience: Dh102,500
- Chief Financial Officer (Large company) with above-average experience: Dh150,900
- Internal auditor with average experience: Dh20,500
- HR manager/ business partner with above-average experience: Dh42,160
- Recruitment specialist with average experience: Dh14,900
- Learning and development manager with below average experience: Dh39,025
- Regional legal counsel with average experience: Dh68,000
- Paralegal with below-average experience: Dh18,300
- Associate (legal) with above-average experience: Dh52,000
- Front-end developer with above average experience: Dh42,300
- Project manager officer head with average experience: Dh48,900
- Systems analyst with below average experience: Dh15,151