Salaries accounted for almost 60 per cent of the total operating expenses of banks in the Middle East last year, a new survey has revealed.
And salary bills are highest in Oman and Qatar, according to the study by human resources consultancy Hewitt Associates.
Basic salary levels were fairly consistent across all levels throughout the Gulf countries, though in Oman and Qatar allowances formed a much larger portion of total pay than elsewhere at between 23 and 41 per cent.
The proportion of total pay made up of variable components was highest in Bahrain at 13 to 38 per cent compared with six to 18 per cent in other countries. Training and development expenses in the region accounted for between two and five per cent of total employee expenses.
Hewitt Associates, which has an office in Dubai, created a profile of current and emerging trends in rewards and compensation practices amongst leading banks across the Middle East's major countries.
A total of 26 banks, both regional and multi-national, were included in the sample survey.
"We believe the survey sheds light on the current and emerging trends of a very important economic sector in the Middle East," said Debabrat Mishra, Consulting Business Leader, Hewitt-Middle East.
The report says banks are paying more attention to training and development than before.
This is because talent shortages are being felt in all industry sectors and across almost all territories.
Consequently firms are putting more emphasis on training new personnel and training current employees for new roles.
"Talent management challenges in the Middle East are on the rise, combined with increasing wage bills," added Mishra. "This year our research will be extended to more countries in the GCC. Our aim is to provide the banking sector with analysis that can help them to deal with the emerging complexities effectively," he added.