Million-dollar salaries: What UAE's private sector CEOs earn

Top-level executive in this sector take home basic incomes of anywhere between Dh2.2m ($600,000) and Dh3.67m ($1m). (Shutterstock)

Top bosses in several UAE firms get paid a basic salary of more than Dh3.67 million ($1 million), or more than Dh300,000 per month, a new report by an executive search firm has revealed.

The report maintains that the GCC’s economic growth is on an upswing, and this is reflected in pay packages which it says are now seeing a return to form following a dip last year.

Top-tier executive salaries have seen a whopping 39 per cent hike in some sectors in the GCC, the report states. According to it, the construction sector is the highest-paying sector for senior management executives in the region, and CEOs in this sector now rake up to Dh4.4 million ($1.2m) per annum as basic pay.

Nevertheless, this salary level is limited to certain sectors and the average basic salary for those in C bracket in the country stands at Dh128,188 ($34,900) per month, according to the survey conducted by Rasd, an executive search firm.

In addition, the ones commanding million-dollar pay packages are well worth the dollars their firms are willing to spend on them. “The cultural component plays a big role when hiring in GCC countries; multinationals are willing to pay high amounts for highly skilled, culturally-compatible candidates in this region,” reads the report.

“The UAE, and in particular Dubai, on the other hand, is alluring for international candidates, given the cosmopolitan nature of the region,” it notes.

And while the million-dollar-plus basic pay packages may sound an enormous amount to many, the top bosses based in Saudi and Qatar are being paid a tad more, putting UAE tier-one executives third on the regional pay scale list.

The salary ranges provided are for basic salary only. In addition, the top bosses receive benefits including housing, medical/life insurance, schooling, etc., and the financial incentives they receive are in the range of 25-40 per cent of basic salary.

“The construction industry and the real estate industry have experienced exponential growth in the last year, especially in Dubai, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, with multiple new projects hitting the ground.” said Mohamad El Turk, Partner at Rasd.

“Top-level executives within these sectors are now in a position to reap the benefits of this momentum. Companies, too, stand to benefit as these talented executives are capable of adding value in terms of leading organisational development and augmenting income and profits,” he added.

Salaries of those in commercial banking follow the pay packages of the construction top notch. Top-level executive in this sector take home basic incomes of anywhere between Dh2.2m ($600,000) and Dh3.67m ($1m).

This is followed by executives in real estate, consumer goods retail and automotive sectors with salaries between Dh1.3m ($350,000) and Dh2m ($550,000) per annum.

“Another trend we’re seeing is a premium associated with Arabic language skills, in high-level, client-facing leadership roles. Multinational companies, especially, are particular about their requirements, and are willing to pay the price for the most talented candidate, best suited to their needs,” added El Turk.

The above compensation ranges apply to roles in companies/business institutions that are organisationally developed and total revenues exceed $150 million per annum and S600 million per annum for banks.

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