25% drop in salaries of construction staff

Annual perks plunge up to 40 per cent on low demand for professionals

Demand for construction engineers, architects and project managers has taken a major hit in the UAE with their salaries declining by up to a quarter this year, recruitment experts tell Emirates 24|7.

"The salary package offered to [construction professionals] now is considerably low, compared to a couple of years ago. On average these positions have seen a fall of 15 to 25 per cent drop in salary levels, although it depends on companies and the project they are working on," Mark Baxter, Regional Director (Middle East), FiveTen Group, a global recruitment firm, told this online news provider.

"Salary in the construction sector has been sharply hit, simply because the demand for such professionals has decreased. Management level construction jobs such as project managers, quantity surveyors, structural engineers, have seen a drastic fall in salary levels," he said.

Headhunting firms also add that there has been a sharp fall in demand for management level construction jobs in the UAE over the last year.

"The demand for management level construction professionals has come down approximately by 30 per cent in Dubai and may be 20 to 25 per cent in Abu Dhabi.

Overall in the UAE, the fall in demand for management level construction professionals has been 25 per cent on average," Mike Al Nassir, Partner in charge of Middle East, Africa and India, Pedersen & Partners, a global executive search firm, said.

Although there has been an across-the-board decline in the remuneration package offered to new white-collar professionals in almost all sectors in the UAE, the construction sector stands out as being the one where the fall in the salary package has been the sharpest over the last one year, experts maintain.

Other professionals in the construction sector that have seen their salary package plummeting the lowest include construction engineers, architects and consultants.

Al Nassir said the biggest drop in remuneration package offered to construction professionals has been in terms of the non-salary benefits or perks offered to new recruits and not in the actual basic salary.

For instance, the amount of housing allowance paid now is lower than what it used to be a couple of years back.

Similarly, instead of getting three or four free return tickets for annual holidays, new recruits might get one or two return tickets back home per year.

"The benefits have gone down on average by up to 40 per cent," he said.

The next sector where salary levels have plunged the lowest is the banking sector, especially retail banking and investment banking professionals, experts say.

"There has generally been a decline across the board, although those that are more affected are senior management positions, engineers in the construction field, architects/consultants and banking professionals (primarily retail banking and investment banking)," Sudeshna Mukherjee, General Manager, Careertunity, a regional online recruitment portal, told this website.

Adds Amer Zureikat, Vice President Sales, Bayt.com, the online job site: "The sectors that saw the steepest inflationary trends in the early to mid part of the decade have also witnessed some of the most rapid declines for many roles.

These industries include banking and finance, real estate and the construction industry where staff and pay cuts have been felt across all organisational levels."


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