More than half of UAE employees expect a raise in 2023, survey says

Medical cover, annual air tickets and gratuities are ranked the top employer-sponsored benefits, research by and YouGov finds

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More than half of all employees (53%) in the UAE expect to receive a salary increase this year, according to a survey by jobs portal and market research agency YouGov.

Seven in 10 employees in the Emirates believe their salaries are either increasing or staying the same this year, according to the poll, which surveyed 2,941 people from countries such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Lebanon and Jordan, from November 16 to 28.

An increase in opportunities, economic growth, intense competition in attracting and retaining talent and good corporate performance or improved profitability were some of the reasons cited for the expected rise in salaries.

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

Some of the stats behind the UAE's hiring boom

Some of the stats behind the UAE's hiring boom

The top benefits provided by employers apart from salary, were medical insurance, which was picked by 46 per cent of UAE-based workers, followed annual air tickets (33 per cent) and gratuities (27 per cent).

Other popular benefits include transport and housing allowances, and medical cover for the family, the findings showed.

“Employers need to treat compensation as an integral part of an employee’s reward and monitor major factors driving the salary expectations,” said Ola Haddad, director of human resources at

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

The Emirates, the Arab world’s second-largest economy, has undertaken several economic, legal and social reforms over the years to strengthen its business environment, increase foreign direct investment, attract skilled workers with new visas and provide incentives to companies to set up or expand their operations.

In October, a separate study by and YouGov found that 86 per cent of working professionals in the UAE had a positive career outlook for 2023.

Employers in the UAE plan to increase salaries by an average of 4.4 per cent in 2023 and are considering benefits such as retention bonuses to retain employees and attract talent amid a tight labour market, according to a September report by global advisory company WTW.

When asked about their favoured pay structure, 66 per cent of respondents to’s latest survey prefer a 100 per cent fixed structure while a quarter want a partially fixed structure with variable pay in the form of commissions and incentives.

While a third of UAE employees claim their loyalty to their employer is not linked to their salaries, 51 per cent believe otherwise.

Apart from salary, career advancement is the most important driver of loyalty for 32 per cent of workers in the Emirates, followed by the nature of daily responsibilities (30 per cent) and line managers (27 per cent), according to the survey.

“While financial rewards are key to attracting talent into organisations, non-financial rewards can be essential differentiators when it comes to retaining talent,” said Zafar Shah, research director at YouGov.

When asked about their career plans in the next 12 months, 61 per cent of UAE respondents said they would look for a better job in the same industry while 43 per cent said they would opt for a different industry.

As for future investment, 23 per cent of those surveyed make regular financial investments. Of these, 22 per cent do so by investing in gold, 18 per cent in property, 14 per cent in stocks and 12 per cent in their own business, the findings showed.

Updated: January 10, 2023, 1:40 PM