Pay package of most popular jobs


A Head General Counsel (GC) for the Mena region will make on average $330,000 plus 30 per cent bonus. 

The real upside for this position is the ability of the GC to leapfrog the organisation’s structure and take the CEO position.  Many GC’s get appointed as Acting CEO of a failing subsidiary for the sole purpose of winding the company down. 

As a company closes a division or business unit the procedure is largely a legal one and by having a lawyer in the top job can save a company millions of dollars.

The tables turn if the GC is ambitious enough to try and turn the business around instead of closing it, and if they are successful, she/he can spend the rest of the careers flying high at the CEO-level. 

So, in essence, many GCs go from having only a PA report to them to managing a staff of 1,500 people. 

This is a quantum leap and very few professions offer this kind of rocket fuelled trip to the corner office. So, while $330,000 is not the highest paid, it is definitely an interesting seat to have.


Head of Wholesale Banking will make $400,000 plus bonuses. A bonus can be anywhere from 100 per cent to 200 per cent.

Given the dynamics of the Middle East market it can be a relatively stable position depending on who your client portfolio is and how your bank is positioned.

Overall, the road to a Head of Wholesale Banking role is 20 years.

Investment Bankers are what we call Beta Positive, which means when the market is good they do great and when the market is down they are generally getting laid off, restructured or battered by any downward trend.

Their salaries can vary from $200,000 to $400,000 depending on seniority but bonuses should be in the $1,000,000 to $3,000,000 range.

However, in bad times the bonus is keeping your job.


The MD of an Architectural firm is $280,000 plus 30 per cent bonus. Some MDs will make more, some less.

This position is also Beta positive so when the markets are down Architects can get laid off and this career path can often be extremely volatile. 

Of course, the allure of the life of a celebrity architect is akin to that of a rock star. 

So, this is generally a labour of love and a passion for design that keeps any top architect ticking through the downturn.


An MD of a print media house will make on average about$280,000 plus bonus. 

Bonuses can vary on who the MD is reporting to. Owners of some media companies in the region can be generous with their bonus payouts, especially in good times. 

Media is a very tough business which is also Beta Positive and tied to the market. 

When the economy dips, advertising spend drops off the map and vice versa, when times are good there is a bounty to be had.

Accountants and auditors

A Chief Internal Auditor will make on average $300,000 plus a bonus of 3 to 6 months of salary depending on performance. 

This role is Beta Negative and in good or bad times accountants, as lawyers, can always find work. 

Demand for auditors will continue to grow over the next few years.

IT professionals

The average Chief Information Officer will make $300,000 plus a bonus of 3 to 6 months’ salary. 

This is a role which continues to grow in equity in the global and local market place. 

A good CIO can deliver huge savings to a company as well as significant top line growth. As e-commerce continues to pick up pace we expect the CIO to experience excellent career growth.

Human Resources (HR) Manager

HR Manager is one role which is all over the map in the Middle East with some companies having administrative roles and others having sophisticated strategic business partners so it is very difficult to have an average here. 

An average would be $200,000 for an experienced HR Manager with 12+ years of experience.  Our prediction is this one area which will experience salary growth as companies in the Middle East continue to realise the importance of taking care of their people and having first class human capital strategies.

- Shane Phillips, Mena Regional Practice Leader, Financial & Professional Services at Stanton Chase

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