UAE CEOs earn Dh115k monthly, less than Saudi, Qatari peers

Survey says Arab CEOs command 10% premium

CEOs in the UAE on average earn Dh1.386 million ($377,664) per annum or Dh115,500 ($31,470) a month - less than their Saudi and Qatari peers with Arabic CEOs commanding 10 per cent premium.

CEOs from Saudi Arabia top the money list with an average annual salary of Dh1.55 million ($422,280) a year or Dh129,150 ($35,190) a month.

The Gulf Business survey ranked the GCC CEO's as follows; Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain and is based on CEOs who are responsible for sales of more than $50 million.

The survey highlighted the additional "lifestyle premium" as it is known in the recruitment industry, for executives in Saudi where the pack packets are supplemented with housing, travel and allowances that inflate the salary giving it the number one slot.

CEOs in Qatar earn Dh1.467 million per annum ($399,648) or Dh122,225 ($33,304) a month. Arabic CEOs employed over the past year are commanding a 10 per cent premium in their salaries compared with Western Expatriates due to the demand for Arabic speaking executives, particularly in infrastructure-based industries.

UAE CEOs fare slightly worse, although still in the million-dirham bracket. Following on from the slowdown, the survey said that "companies in the Emirates have been struggling to calibrate their workforce and [as such] remuneration has varied widely". This is evident for CEOs who have remained in their positions throughout this turbulent period, still commanding pre-recession salaries. "It is now agreed in the recruitment industry that Dubai is exiting an 18-month corporate consolidation phase, which has resulted in a more balanced supply and demand in the field."

Kuwait's situation is in contrast to the top three countries for CEO earnings, where the churn (the productivity) rate in the market is surprisingly low. CEO's salaries are still healthy at Dh1.333 million per annum ($363,120), although without an active executive recruitment market, pay rises will be minimal in the current climate.

Oman's GDP growth is forecast to be higher than that of many developed and emerging economies, which is good news for Oman's executive wages. With annual salaries still over the million-dirham mark at Dh1.222 million ($344,952), the Gulf state is considered to be the one to watch with reference to potential growth in the c-level executive recruitment market.


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