UAE salaries 2023: which sectors will have the biggest salary rises?

Employees in financial services and legal are set for the highest wage increases next year, according to Robert Half

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Employees in the UAE’s financial services and legal sectors will receive the highest salary increases in 2023, with an average rise of 5 per cent and 4.9 per cent respectively, according to recruitment consultancy Robert Half.

The financial services industry includes banking, private equity, venture capital, insurance, investment and family offices.

The technology industry is estimated to record a 3 per cent salary increase on average, while finance and accounting professionals will receive a 2.5 per cent wage rise and the HR sector is set for a 2 per cent increase, Robert Half said in its 2023 Salary Guide.

“We are seeing significant demand for investment analysts because there is new capital coming into the market that needs to be deployed,” Gareth El Mettouri, associate director for the Middle East at Robert Half, said.

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Watch: some of the stats behind the UAE's hiring boom

“We are also seeing huge demand for financial analysts and FPA [financial planning and analysis] candidates, treasury candidates and tax professionals. With the incorporation of corporate tax in June next year, there is a significant demand for tax candidates in the region.”

The UAE jobs market has made a strong recovery from the coronavirus-induced slowdown, helped by the government’s fiscal and monetary measures.

Seven out of 10 UAE companies plan to hire new employees next year, a September survey by jobs website Bayt.com and market research company YouGov found.

Sixty-three per cent of large local companies and multinational corporations in the Middle East and North Africa are among those that have the highest intention of hiring in the next three months, the research found.

Eighty-six per cent of working professionals in the UAE have a positive career outlook for 2023, a separate survey last month by Bayt.com and YouGov found.

Changes to laws, rules and regulations in the UAE is creating “surge-pricing” for some roles, according to Robert Half.

With the increase in initial public offerings (IPOs) in the UAE, there is high demand for corporate lawyers, merger and acquisition lawyers and those who can assist a company to go public, the consultancy said.

In the UAE’s tech industry, front-end, back-end and full stack-developers, and roles in IT security and architecture are in high demand, it added.

Compliance directors with large companies are estimated to receive the biggest salary increase at 29 per cent next year, followed by compliance directors for SMEs at 15 per cent and internal auditors for SMEs at 11 per cent, according to Robert Half estimates.

“I expect bonuses to be paid next year, but it will vary per sector,” Mr El Mettouri said.

“Oil and gas, fast-moving consumer goods, banking and technology industries are likely to offer good bonuses next year.”

Meanwhile, flexibility remains a critical way to attract and retain talent, particularly in the tech industry, the report found.

Many companies in the UAE are hiring fully remote workers, often based in other countries, to get the skills they need. Offering flexibility widens the pool of skilled talent available to businesses, the research added.

While 29 per cent of professional services employees in the UAE are happy to work in the office full-time, 78 per cent said flexibility is essential for both retention and attraction of talent, according to a Robert Half survey of 500 working professionals between August 5 and 15.

“We are again in the midst of a global war for talent. The main focus for employers is retention of talent,” Mr El Mettouri said.

Employers are increasing salaries and offering soft benefits to attract new staff, according to the consultancy.

The number one soft benefit sought by employees is flexible and hybrid working arrangements. In some cases, candidates seem to prefer greater work flexibility rather than a higher salary, it said.

“Tech, start-ups and disruptive companies are mostly offering flexible work arrangements,” Mr El Mettouri said.

“It’s more difficult to implement in established entities, such as core banking.”

Employees are also asking for higher education and housing allowances, driven by higher rents, he added.

Updated: November 02, 2022, 4:38 AM
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