Everything you need to know about getting a salary rise in 2024

Candidates looking to switch companies for a better opportunity should aim for a pay increase of 8% to 15%

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The most common question we hear in the recruitment industry is, “How is the job market?”

This year in tech, it is fair to say that the market has been slower than last year, with many well-known technology giants scaling back on hiring or even carrying out redundancies.

The outlook for 2024 is a lot more positive, however, so are we likely to see an increase in salary and benefits packages?

Hiring demand

In recent weeks I have had clients reach out to ask for a snapshot of current salary levels and company benefits.

This is good news, as clearly there are plans to accelerate hiring in 2024.

With the demand for tech talent increasing in 2024, organisations need to offer a competitive package as well as a positive working environment to attract the best talent.

There is already a significant increase in demand for certain sectors that will increase competition and, therefore, drive up salaries – some clients are increasing the packages for job offers in the defence industry, for example.

How much of a salary rise should I ask for?

I would always advise candidates looking to switch companies for a better opportunity to aim for an increase in salary of 8 per cent to 15 per cent, which, in most cases, is a realistic goal to achieve.

If companies are looking to increase packages for their own teams (and new hires), then the lower end of this number is also a realistic goal.

If organisations are in tune with market conditions and salary trends and adjust accordingly, then employees will be less likely to leave for these reasons.

What other benefits should I consider?

Before a candidate thinks of switching companies/jobs for more money, they should also consider the many other factors that come into play.

Financially, are you better off staying where you are if you are getting close to the five or 10-year mark? The gratuity payments will increase significantly at these stages. Also, what about your current benefits package?

Housing and transportation allowances are standard in most companies, but they differ a lot from one place to another.

School fees are not always paid but are usually capped at a maximum amount per child and cover no more than three children.

I’ve even witnessed companies refusing to pay certain allowances if the candidate has a spouse who already receives a school allowance.

Not all employers offer medical and flights for family, so it’s worth considering these factors before making a move.

Watch: UAE launches new gratuity scheme

UAE launches new gratuity scheme

UAE launches new gratuity scheme

What else should I consider?

There are plenty of other aspects to consider before switching companies and top of the list for many is the leadership team and work environment.

Is it worth leaving a great boss and environment to move to one who micromanages or is a poor leader for a 20 per cent salary increase?

With such huge investment and growth happening in Saudi Arabia right now, packages are already increasing and many people are considering relocating there due to the sheer scale of opportunity.

The recent announcement that Expo 2030 will take place in Riyadh is just one of many mega projects that will demand huge investment in talent.

How will this affect salary levels in the UAE?

Healthy regional competition in the GCC will, no doubt, contribute to better packages and employers will also need to account for rising housing costs.

As the IT industry picks up next year, I have no doubt that we will see overall package increases of at least 10 per cent to 15 per cent.

I foresee a lot of competition to hire senior tech talent across the region next year, particularly with multinational vendors and system integrators.

What's the best way to ask for a salary rise?

For those who are happy where they are, but are looking for an improvement in their current salary, there is a right and a wrong way to approach the subject.

The first thing to do is to point to the data. Have your housing costs gone up this year? If so, by how much? How much does your education allowance contribute to your child's school fees?

For those who are happy where they are, but are looking for an improvement in their current salary, there is a right and a wrong way to approach the subject
John Armstrong, founder and managing director of JCA Associates

It might be a conversation to bring up casually over a coffee with a manager rather than in a formal setting, then ask if they have any insights.

Another way to ask is to understand what the goals are for next year and what policies are in place for achieving those targets.

If you are committed to achieving these goals, then it’s important for you to understand what the rewards are.

Many employees will receive calls from other employers offering better salaries, but trying to hold your boss to ransom will probably not go down well.

A better way to raise the topic might be to say: I have noticed that there is a trend with similar companies that salaries are going up. I am fully committed to my current role but it would be good to understand what our compensation and benefits will look like next year, assuming that there is or will be a review.”

It would be fair to accept that any employer should at least be able to offer an increase in line with inflation (currently around 3 per cent), but it’s not mandatory.

My advice is to look at the overall benefits package and work-life balance before thinking you are undervalued.

John Armstrong is the founder and managing director of JCA Associates

Updated: December 15, 2023, 6:02 PM