Salaries in Saudi Arabia are expected to rise by an average of 3 per cent in 2023, driven by a surge in new jobs created by mega-projects such as Neom and organisations setting up operations in the kingdom, according to recruitment experts.
Almost half, or 43 per cent, of companies in Saudi Arabia that responded to a survey by recruitment company Cooper Fitch said they planned to increase salaries in 2023.
“[This] is indicative of the increased competition we are likely to witness among employers looking to attract the best talent,” Trefor Murphy, founder and chief executive of Cooper Fitch, says in the company’s 2023 Saudi Arabia Salary Guide.
“Alongside the progress of mega and giga-projects, with work on built assets and infrastructure now commencing, there is a parallel drive to grow the kingdom’s technology industries.”
Hiring in Saudi Arabia’s non-oil sector in December increased at its fastest pace since 2018, driven by “robust” business activity, according to the Riyad Bank Saudi Arabia purchasing managers’ index.
The kingdom has created tens of thousands of new jobs as part of its plan to develop $1 trillion worth of new projects to meet its Vision 2030 plan of diversifying the economy away from hydrocarbons, according to the General Authority for Statistics.
These include Neom, the $500 billion futuristic city that features a nature reserve, coral reefs and heritage sites in the Red Sea, and Qiddiya, a huge entertainment and sports project.
Red Sea Global is also building a mega-tourism project on Saudi Arabia’s west coast.
Meanwhile, recruitment specialist Hays said in December that hiring activity in the kingdom would be highest in the manufacturing, logistics and industrial sectors.
“At present, organisations in the industrial sector are inclined to offer an increase of 20 per cent to 30 per cent on existing salaries,” Hays said in its Middle East Inside Story Report.
With hiring on the increase in Saudi Arabia, what is the salary and employment outlook for jobseekers this year? Read on to find out and check out our guide above for a detailed look at salaries in your industry.
Will salaries increase in 2023?
It will be another positive year for salary increases in Saudi Arabia, with Cooper Fitch forecasting an average rise of 3 per cent.
A majority of employees in the kingdom are also confident to ask for a promotion and salary increase in 2023, according to the latest figures compiled by LinkedIn.
Seventy-three per cent of professionals are considering changing their jobs this year for either a higher salary or better work-life balance as they are confident in their abilities to land better roles, the world’s largest professional network says.
“We’re still seeing a significant number of professionals looking to either grow within their organisations or switch jobs in 2023, many driven by the desire for bigger salaries as the global cost of living goes up,” says Ali Matar, head of LinkedIn Mena and EMEA growth hub.
“Workforces clearly know their value within the job market and are taking charge of their career by investing in new skills. It’s clear that since the pandemic, professionals have become much more resilient and we’re seeing this in their confidence to tackle the year ahead.”
Are companies planning to pay annual bonuses in 2023?
The outlook for bonuses in the kingdom is extremely positive, with 81 per cent of companies polled in the Cooper Fitch survey saying they plan to reward employees with an annual bonus based on their financial performance in 2022.
Of those intending to issue bonuses this year, 26 per cent will reward employees with one month’s gross salary, 17 per cent will pay a two-month bonus and 19 per cent will give staff a three-month bonus, the survey found.
“One-in-10 employees working for the firms surveyed can expect annual bonuses amounting to six months’ gross salary,” Cooper Fitch says in its report.
“Industries represented in this category include aviation and aerospace, banking, financial services, investment management and government relations.”
What benefits can jobseekers in Saudi Arabia expect in 2023?
Typical benefits include allowances for housing, travel, fitness and education, as well as bonuses.
However, the LinkedIn data shows that flexible working will also be key to retaining and hiring talent, with many professionals preferring remote work options.
Watch: Saudi Arabia's Neom reimagines Manhattan as a vertical city
“Over six-in-10 workers surveyed said that if offered a new job or promotion that requires them to be in the office full-time, they would decline the opportunity in favour of a hybrid or remote work policy,” LinkedIn says.
Meanwhile, salaries and benefits are an important factor for professionals considering a new role in the kingdom, according to the Hays report.
The giga-projects in remote locations offer packages inclusive of fixed salary, education and flight allowances and on-site living costs and expenses, it adds.
“Education allowance is the standout incentive to candidates considering a new role in Saudi Arabia,” Hays says.
Employees are also focused on career development and learning new skills, and are looking for companies that offer these benefits, recruitment experts say.
What are the most in-demand sectors for jobs in Saudi Arabia in 2023?
Recruiters are seeking professionals in a range of sectors, including technology, real estate sales, hospitality, and banking and finance, according to the Cooper Fitch salary guide.
“Over the past year, Saudi Arabia recruitment has benefitted from sustained investment in growth sectors, with mergers and acquisitions, private equity and venture capital all making valuable contributions,” Cooper Fitch says.
“Growth within the nation’s flourishing tech industry has been particularly pronounced, thanks to support from the many Saudi incubator and accelerator networks,” it adds.
“[Saudi Arabia] is also pushing ahead with Sakani, a residential property initiative designed to support and enable Saudi citizens to own their first homes. Such initiatives are driving significant demand for new talent.”
Demand is also high for mid- to senior-level professionals to manage and deliver large-scale projects, according to Hays.
Manufacturing operations also require employees for process-focused positions at mid-management and senior leadership levels, the recruitment company says.
The oil and gas industry also requires technical expertise to operate new machines, implement new processes and procedures, and drive product development, Hays adds.
“The roles in the highest demand include general managers, head of operations, operations directors, operations managers, operations supervisors and engineers,” Hays says.
About 40 per cent of the top 10 roles in Saudi Arabia are related to cyber security, data analysis and software development, LinkedIn says in its Jobs on the Rise for 2023 report, released last week.
Employers are seeking advanced skills such as programming languages and cyber security in response to a growing emphasis on data and automation in the region, it adds.
“This focus on tech infrastructure has been further strengthened by the digital strategy goals of [Saudi Arabia],” Microsoft-owned LinkedIn says.
What are the highest paid jobs in Saudi Arabia in 2023?
- Banking: head of private banking — 142,000-179,000 Saudi riyals (per month)
- Legal: partner (5+ years) — 105,000-232,000 riyals
- Public sector: secretariat general — 208,000+ riyals
- Strategy: chief strategy officer — 137,000-182,000 riyals
- Senior finance: group chief financial officer — 131,000-202,000 riyals
- Tax (Big4): partner (5+ years): 81,000-116,000 riyals
- Sales and marketing: chief marketing officer — 66,000-83,000 riyals
- Manufacturing: managing director — 96,000-131,000 riyals
- Supply chain: general manager — 61,000-91,000 riyals
- Investment management: chief investment officer (public sector) — 131,000-210,000+ riyals
- Technology: chief information and technology officer — 95,000-126,000 riyals
- Human resources: chief shared services officer — 101,000-152,000 riyals
Source: Cooper Fitch