UAE set for salary hikes in 2013?

But, not as high as some expect, say experts

New Year may usher in salary hikes for employees in the UAE but the estimated increase should be within single digits, say experts.

Far from a repeat of the ‘war for talent’ days, the hikes that UAE employees may see will range between 5 to 6 per cent, believe recruitment analysts.

“We see a general trend of salary increase next year but it will be in single digits. I would say 5 to 6 per cent is the average hike employees in the UAE should look at,” Trefor Murphy, Managing Director at Morgan McKinley told Emirates 24|7.

As per Robert Half International, the expected salary hike should be also 6 per cent. The findings also suggest that a good number of the surveyed employees are hopeful about seeing their personal incomes go up.

“According to [our] survey of 75 Dubai CFOs and FDs, nearly half (49 per cent) expect employee salaries to increase throughout the second half of 2012, and we anticipate this to continue into the New Year. Of those planning to increase salaries, the average increase is around 6 per cent. This echoes what we’ve been hearing from our clients who also indicate that salaries for new hires are on the rise, although at a more moderate pace than what was on offer a few years ago. Salaries across finance and accounting, financial services, technology, HR and legal are all trending upwards,” James Sayer, Director, Robert Half Middle East told this website.

Phil Whitehead, Associate Director, The Gulf Recruitment Group suggests that the hikes will be nominal. “Recent surveys suggest an uplift of roughly 5 – 5.5 per cent in 2013, which is a very small increase on 2012. However we need to remember this is a market average and as wages for UAE Nationals are expected to rise at more than double these figures, this means a generally low increase across the ex-pat community.

“Whilst the majority of our candidates would naturally like a rise in their salary, most of them are realistic in terms of the overall economic situation. Many expect a small rise in line with inflation but know the days of large increases, just to do the day job are over,” he said.

Head hunters believe that big changes, if they happen, will be specific and not across the board.

“The salary increases will follow the general trend of the market.  Significant changes will depend on the company, the seniority of the person, the specific industry and the specific executive,” said Konstantina Sakellariou, Partner, Marketing & Operations Director at Stanton Chase.

Hasnain Qazi, Middle East Business Manager at Huxley Associates sees an improvement in sentiment as compared to one year before but supply still exceeds demand, which may create pressure on salaries.

“General sentiment across most industries is higher in the UAE than this time last year. However, supply still exceeds demand, so whilst certain individuals can expect modest pay rises in proportion, this will not necessarily be across the board,” he said.

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