UAE salaries 2020: Online poll shows workers seeking new opportunities

Almost 4,000 employees took part in the poll as HR experts also have their say

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The majority of workers in the UAE are seeking a new job this year amid a lack of pay rises, according to an online poll carried out by The National.

Almost 4,000 people took part in the poll, which was accompanied by HR experts' latest salary ranges for a host of sectors (see above).

We asked respondents if they received a pay rise in 2019, and 77 per cent said that they did not, while 9 per cent received a raise of between 1 and 3 per cent. Fourteen per cent said they received a raise of more than 3 per cent.


There was not much optimism when asked if they thought a pay rise would be forthcoming in 2020, with 57 per cent saying their company does not give out raises. Thirty-eight per cent said they believe they have earned a pay hike and 8 per cent "do not deserve a raise".


Meanwhile, the vast majority of respondents (85 per cent) felt they should be earning more when asked if their salary was at the right level, and 69 per cent said they will be looking for a new job this year rather than being content where they are.


How did this compare to last year?

The results of the survey followed similar trends to a separate poll carried out by The National at the beginning of 2019.

That time around, 74 per cent of the more than 3,000 respondents said they did not get a rise in 2018, while 54 per cent said they were not expecting a rise in 2019 as their company did not provide one.

Furthermore, 83 per cent said they should be earning more and 67 per cent confirmed they would be looking to change job.

What have the HR consultants been saying?

A new report from HR consultant Hays found that 40 per cent of employees' salaries in the UAE rose in 2019, "most commonly by less than 5 per cent".

It added that 57 per cent of UAE employees expect a pay rise in 2020.

"Once again, individual performance related pay rises were more common than companywide pay increases in 2019," Hays said in its GCC-wide report.

"This is most likely down to employee engagement strategies, with organisations recognising and rewarding their top performers. In many cases, this approach also saves organisations money by upping the pay for only a select number of employees rather than the workforce at large."

Cooper Fitch said that salaries are expected to remain broadly flat across most sectors this year. It predicted a 1 per cent increase in market salary ranges for new hires on average.

This comes amid Abu Dhabi’s Dh50bn Ghadan 21 stimulus package, the hosting in Dubai of Expo 2020 and more stable oil prices which currently sit around $65 a barrel.