Know your worth: Salaries of UAE’s HR executives dive 25%

Average package of HR manager declined from Dh35,000 in 2011 to Dh28,000 per month this year

The HR department in any office seem like a privileged lot. After all, they don’t visibly contribute to the bottom line, like executives in, say, sales or revenue departments do.

In addition, they have the authority to cancel your leaves or worse, can be instrumental in firing you. Moreover, they seem to be earning fat packages with not many deadlines or targets to meet. Right?

Not really. HR managers are not only instrumental in hiring the right people, but also in ensuring that all employees are treated fairly and equitably while keeping in mind the needs of the business.

And even if the common impression is that folks in HR take home the best packages, it may not necessarily be true.

In fact, while 2012 saw salaries rise – admittedly mutedly – in most sectors and departments across the spectrum, figures from the UAE’s leading recruitment firms show that HR had a bad year 2012. They saw their average salaries go down when most other departments/professions spoke of pay-hikes.

A quick comparison of salaries shows that average pay for nearly all roles within HR took a hit from 2011 levels.

Statistics from recruitment experts Charterhouse show that the salary of an HR manager dipped by 25 per cent over the previous year. The average package of an HR manager declined from Dh35,000 per month in 2011 to Dh28,000 per month this year, according to Charterhouse’s analysis.

“I haven’t got a pay-cut, but there has been no salary increase for my department. Of course, being in HR, I am aware of the hikes that some of the executives in other departments have received this year,” R.R., an HR manager in a multinational firm, told Emirates 24|7 on the condition of anonymity.

Some believe that Human Resources are the highest earners as they budget their own pay. On the contrary, HR professionals get a deal that may not be as sweet as some of the other professionals at the same level.
Figures released by Hays, another recruitment specialist, show that HR professionals are not the best paid.

According to Hays, the average salary of a finance director in Accounting and Finance is typically Dh50,000 per month. A project director in a construction management company can take home an average salary of Dh60,000; a marketing director in marketing will get Dh50,000 whereas a PR director will earn a salary of Dh45,000. On the other hand, the average salary of an HR director is Dh40,000.

Vision Executive Search, another recruitment firm, puts the salary of a HR director on a higher platform. Dr. Nairouz Bader, CEO of Vision Executive Search, says the average remuneration of an HR director ranges “between Dh40,000 and Dh50,000 per month plus benefits and annual bonus.”

Then there are others in the industry that don’t necessarily see HR pay having declined this year, but agree that it remained static compared with 2011.

“[Our data doesn’t] show that HR salaries have gone down. HR departments are increasingly growing in strategic significance in organisations big and small across the region and seasoned HR practitioners who are well versed in online recruitment and other aspects of hiring, retention, coaching, appraisals, and compensation are able to command excellent packages and effect great change in their organisations,” said Suhail Masri, VP of Sales at

The jobs site shows that salaries vary greatly depending on the size of the company. “In terms of salaries, total packages for senior HR Directors differ vastly depending on industry and size of company ranging on average anywhere from Dh25,000 in smaller companies to Dh70,000 and more for HR department heads of large corporations,” explains Masri.

At the end of the day, if the folks at HR are earning fat pay-packets, it’s because they’re supposed to be managing the organisation’s most important resources, including you.


    Role            Average salary     
              2012   2011    
    HR Director        50000   50500    
    Hr Manager       28000   35000    
    Emiratisation manager     35000   40000    
    HR Officer       15500   18000    
    HR Executive/Administrator/ Coordinator  12000   13500    
    Recruitment specialist      16000   18000    
    Trainer          18000   19000    
    Training and development manager    25000   27500    
    Compensation and benefits specialist    18000   20000    
    Source: Charterhouse              
    Role         Minimum Average   Maximum
    HR Officer       10,000   14,000   18,000
    Recruitment Specialist     12,000   25,000   45,000
    Comps & Bens Specialist     20,000   30,000   45,000+
    Learning & Development     15,000   30,000   45,000+
    HR Business Partner     18,000   25,000   35,000+
    HR Manager       25,000   35,000   45,000
    HR Director       35,000   40,000   50,000+
    Group HR Director       45,000   50,000   55,000+
    Source: Hays                


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