Dubai : Despite rising living costs, people holding managerial and senior positions in the UAE are among the top ten highest paid in the world, according to a new study.

Mercer’s 2014 International Geographic Salary Differentials, which looked at gross and net pay salaries of employees across all career levels in 79 countries, showed that the take-home pay of senior and junior professionals in the UAE last year totaled Dh280,481 ($76,362) and Dh189,154 ($51,498) , respectively.

The UAE’s average net compensation for senior professionals, which breaks down to Dh23,373 monthly, is the third highest in the world, while the take-home pay for junior employees, estimated at Dh15,762 per month, ranks ninth highest globally.

Experts said the country’s tax-free regime has put the UAE on the top 10 list of countries that offer the most generous paychecks.

The UAE also ranks second for upper-middle management net salaries, which is estimated at Dh616,705 ($167,900), and third for lower-middle management, at Dh415,903 ($113,231) annually.

However, a significant proportion of the UAE’s working population who earn an average of Dh70,434 ($19,176) a year or Dh5,869 monthly, are not among the top 10 highest-paid professionals in the world.

Overall, employees holding upper-middle and lower-middle management positions in Angola take home the biggest earnings. Senior and junior professionals in Switzerland have the largest net salaries, averaging at $103,849 and $88,991 respectively.

The research also found that the lowest-earning workers in terms of net salaries are from Asia-Pacific, including Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Pakistan and India.

In terms of gross salary, Switzerland tops the table across all career levels, except upper-middle management, where Angola ranks first followed by Switzerland. Norway is the next country with highest gross pay.

Indonesia, Philippines, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India are also in the bottom five gross pay ranking.

Salary levels in the UAE have traditionally been higher than in other job markets around the world. Employers have ensured compensation packages are attractive to expatriates, as they struggle to source the right talent.

“As talent is scarce in the country, demonstrated by the high percentage of expatriates living and working in the UAE, companies had traditionally offered to pay a premium to bring the skills to the region,” noted Nuno Gomes, principal, information solutions leader Middle East, at Mercer Consulting.

“In addition, most of these executives come from Western countries where pay is already high, so the premium comes on top of that.”

However, compared to the previous rankings, it appears that salaries for some positions in the UAE have started to fall.

“The reason the UAE starts falling in the rankings for middle to lower level positions is mainly due to the nationalities of the staff performing these sort of positions, which come from low-paying countries across the world. Obviously, the UAE’s tax-free regime makes net pay even more attractive compared to most other countries in the world,” Gomes told Gulf News.

Another Mercer report earlier ranked Dubai as the 67th most expensive city in the world for expatriates.