Life insurance, company car and flexible working are top employee benefits in 2022

Companies in the UAE and Saudi Arabia are also providing education allowances to employees, according to Hays

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About 48 per cent of all employers in the UAE and Saudi Arabia offer life insurance as part of a standard employment package as business confidence and hiring activity return to pre-coronavirus levels in 2022, according to new research by recruitment consultancy Hays.

Forty-seven per cent of companies in also offer a company car or car allowance while 46 per cent provide flexible working hours and 36 per cent give child education allowances to employees, according to the Hays Salary Guide 2022.

“There are a number of factors influencing what benefits employees are offered here,” Sarah Dixon, managing director of Hays Gulf region, said.

We typically see child education allowances, for example, being offered according to a candidate’s level of seniority and generally provided to senior, C-Suite level only
Sarah Dixon, managing director at Hays Gulf region

“We typically see child education allowances, for example, being offered according to a candidate’s level of seniority and generally provided to senior C-suite level only. Industry, company and job role also have a bearing and there are significant variances based on location of work.”

The jobs market in the UAE will continue to recover in 2022. Salaries are expected to rise by an average of 3 per cent to 5 per cent depending on the sector, while bonuses will make a comeback this year, according to the Hays Salary Guide.

About 73 per cent of UAE employers expect salaries in their organisations to increase by up to 5 per cent this year, compared with 37 per cent in 2021, the salary guide revealed.

Companies must offer a competitive benefits package to attract the best talent, according to the Robert Half 2022 salary guide, which was released last year.

Some of the most common benefits UAE employers are offering jobseekers include flexible and remote working, airline tickets, an education allowance and family visas.

However, since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, job candidates are increasingly requesting to work from home at least two days a week, as well as asking for flexible hours and training opportunities, the Robert Half report said.

Meanwhile, child education allowances are a significant “pull factor” for professionals in the UAE when considering a new role, Ms Dixon of Hays Middle East said in an earlier interview.

“With so many expats uprooting family and relocating to the region from home countries for jobs, child education fees represent a significant proportion of their incomes and candidates will favour an employer that offers to cover these,” she said.

“This is a challenge to organisations as school fees are relatively expensive in the UAE and from our experiences, child education allowances are generally only offered to senior-level candidates. They also vary by way in which they are offered — some employers provide an annual lump sum, while others cover up to two children, or are capped at a certain level of spend.”

The most common benefit provided by employers in Saudi Arabia was a company car or car allowance, with 61 per cent offering it to workers. This compares with 43 per cent of companies in the UAE that offer the same benefit, according to Hays.

Meanwhile, 53 per cent of UAE organisations provide life insurance, in contrast to 30 per cent in Saudi Arabia.

When it comes to flexible working, 49 per cent of UAE employers offer this as part of a standard package, versus 39 per cent in Saudi Arabia, the Hays research found.

About 37 per cent of UAE companies offer child education allowances in comparison with 32 per cent of those in Saudi Arabia.

“Furniture, food and utility allowances were more common over a decade ago — prior to the global financial crisis. At the same time, employees in the Gulf were often offered guaranteed bonuses,” Ms Dixon of Hays said.

Employee salary packages in the Gulf are broken down into three main components: basic salary, which typically accounts for 60 per cent to 65 per cent of total salary; housing, which is roughly 25 per cent to 30 per cent; and flight allowance, which accounts for about 10 per cent to 20 per cent, she said.

In the UAE, employers are also legally required to provide medical insurance and a gratuity.

Education allowances, flexible working and share incentives are considered the top three most important benefits by employees when considering a new employer, the Hays guide found.

“Most notably, flexible working has grown significantly in precedence these past two years following the pandemic and this is one offering employers cannot afford to overlook going forward,” Ms Dixon said.

Updated: February 01, 2022, 7:39 AM