Nearly half of the professionals in the UAE are not happy with their salaries, according to a survey released on Monday.
Conducted jointly by Bayt.com and YouGov Siraj, the survey results showed that three per cent of respondents in the UAE had high satisfaction, 50 per cent medium and 47 per cent low. Elsewhere in the Gulf and wider Middle East area, a peak of five per cent of professionals highly satisfied with their salaries was witnessed in Kuwait and a low of just two per cent of professionals highly satisfied in Jordan and Lebanon amongst other countries.
In the UAE, just three per cent of professionals said they were very happy with their salary increase, 7 per cent were very unhappy, 14 per cent consider themselves as unhappy, and six per cent agreed that their pay rise was fair given the economic circumstances.
Salary satisfaction across the Middle East is looking stable with just 3 per cent of residents stating they are highly satisfied with their remuneration, 52 per cent saying they are averagely satisfied and 45 per cent stating they have low satisfaction.
Across the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region, the average monthly salary differs considerably from country to country, the survey found. However, the UAE maintained a high number of professionals with the biggest salaries, with 7 per cent earning $8,001 or more each month. Unsurprisingly, the Gulf region has the highest number of professionals earning top tier salaries: 9 per cent of professionals in Bahrain earn more than $8,000 each month, as do 6 per cent of professionals in Oman, 5 per cent in Kuwait and 3 per cent in Saudi Arabia.
As in the previous wave, the lowest paid residents in the region are in the North African countries of Algeria, Egypt and Morocco - with the total number of professionals receiving the lowest salary level having risen in each country. This year, 56 per cent of residents in Algeria earn under $500 per month compared with 50 per cent last year. In Egypt, 53 per cent of professionals receive up to $500 per month, along with 45 per cent of professionals in Morocco, while only 1 per cent of professionals in Morocco earn more than $8,000 per month, as do just 1 per cent of professionals in Egypt.
“There is a very high demand for accurate figures on salary levels in the Middle East across industries, job roles and career levels as we have witnessed with the tremendous uptake of the Bayt.com online Salary Calculator tool which has been the Mena region’s first pan-regional pan-industrial comprehensive online salary tool,” stated Bayt.com’s VP Sales, Amer Zureikat.
Overall, professionals across the Middle East felt that the cost of living had increased by 24.6 per cent, yet the average salary increased by just 7.6 per cent - more than two thirds less. In the UAE, respondents said that living costs had increased by 22.2 per cent while the average salary increase was just 6.2 per cent.
This year, the biggest disparity in the increase in living costs compared to salary raise was felt in Egypt - where respondents felt the cost of living had increased by 30 per cent, while salaries had increased by just 9.4 per cent.
This year’s salary survey also looked at the respondents’ level of satisfaction with the pay rise they received. For the most part, the region’s respondents did not receive a pay rise, with a sizeable 38 per cent missing out on a pay rise.
The survey also looked at what percentage of their salary people manage to save each month. The results showed that a high proportion, 42 per cent, do not manage to save any of their monthly salary at all. Jordan and Morocco were the countries where respondents were least likely to save, with 60 per cent and 52 per cent, respectively, stating that they save no money each month. The best savers were respondents in Qatar - 36 per cent of those surveyed managing to save between 16 per cent and 75 per cent of their salaries each month.
Despite the widespread unhappiness with pay rises, the region’s respondents still believe they are better off than others in terms of their quality of life in their country of residence, when compared to their peers. In the UAE, 63 per cent [j1] of professionals said they are better off – to varying extents - than others, while 37 per cent said they were about average. At the other end of the spectrum, just 16 per cent[j2] of respondents said they were worse off than others. Those feeling worse off were respondents in Jordan - 27 per cent said they were worse off than others of their generation.
“Employers and employees alike need to look at studies like this to help in gauging both what to pay and what to expect, respectively. However, considering the changes in governments taking place in the region, it is safe to presume that this report’s numbers are bound to change drastically. Indeed, we are living in very interesting times and it will be exciting to see how those times are reflected in terms of employment opportunities. Will people in the region see more satisfaction once the changes they fought for are implemented?” said Sundip Chahal, Chief Operating Officer of YouGov Siraj.
The study additionally revealed that across the Middle East, 75 per cent of residents feel they have personally been affected by the global economic crisis. In the UAE, this figure was at 73 per cent, with just 27 per cent saying they have not been affected. Residents in Jordan - 85 per cent - were the hardest hit amongst the surveyed countries, while least affected were respondents in Oman and Morocco, where 62 per cent and 63 per cent respectively said they have been affected by the crisis.
Asked their feelings about the current economic climate in terms of the labour market, almost a quarter of respondents, 24 per cent, said they feel optimistic that there will be robust economic growth in their country of residence and more jobs available in a year’s time, with just 17 per cent feeling pessimistic about the future. Tunisia and Qatar were the most optimistic about the future - 38 per cent and 31 per cent, respectively said they were feeling very optimistic, while Jordan and Lebanon were the least optimistic with just 15 per cent and 18 per cent of professionals- respectively- stating they are very optimistic. In the UAE, just 14 per cent said they were quite pessimistic while 24 per cent said they were very optimistic.
The survey was collected online in February 2011 with 8,565 respondents across Mena coutries.
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