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29 May 2023

UAE pay hikes: 1 in 4 expects no raise, 1 in 3 wants 15%

Marginal pay hike is on the back of falling oil prices and is less than what was predicted at the end of 2014.. (File)

By Shuchita Kapur

No or negligible pay hikes in the face of an ever increasing cost of living has left half of UAE professionals dissatisfied with their current salaries, a new survey shows.

According to the 2015 Bayt.com Mena salary survey conducted for the online jobs portal by market research agency YouGov, as many as 52 per cent of people working in the country are not happy with their current salaries.

Worse still, 66 per cent, or 2 out of 3 respondents, maintain their salary is lower than other companies in their industry, leaving many unsatisfied with their financials.

They have reasons for the gloominess. A good percentage (40 per cent) of people who were surveyed admitted not getting a pay hike last year, when rents inched up considerably in parts of the country.

And out of those who did get a hike, more than a quarter are not happy while a similar percentage (24 per cent) thought that their raise was fair in light of their contribution to the company or the organisation’s financial situation – or even both.

Another 25 per cent of the respondents were either very or modestly happy with their raise, the survey shows.

Despite the dejection, though, most are hopeful of something coming along this year. The Bayt data shows that 55 per cent of UAE respondents anticipate a salary increase in 2015, with 32 per cent (or 1 in 3) expecting a raise of up to 15 per cent.

However, along with the hopefuls are almost a quarter (24 per cent) of UAE respondents who do not expect to receive a salary increase in 2015.

Most residents in the country believe that nominal pay hikes are failing to keep pace with the cost of living.

A majority (87 per cent) in the Bayt survey say they have seen the cost of living rise in 2014, with 34 per cent saying that it grew by more than 20 per cent, a lot more than the single-digit pay hikes.

Respondents, who mentioned that the cost of living increased, attribute it to increases in the cost of rent (86 per cent), food and beverages (59 per cent), and utilities (56 per cent).

Going into 2015, the rising costs are likely to continue with 79 per cent of respondents expecting it to soar throughout the year.

“The increased cost of living has, in turn, hampered these professionals’ ability to save,” reads the survey.

“Most respondents from across the Middle East and North Africa region are expecting a further increase in the cost of living in 2015. This means that employers must quickly address this widening disparity if they want to effectively tap into the local and regional talent pool,” said Suhail Al-Masri, VP of Sales, Bayt.com.

The year 2015 may not see any big increments or fat bonuses and those working in the UAE may have to contend with a marginal pay hike just enough to keep up with the inflation rate in the country.

Data from recruitment firm Morgan McKinley suggests a 5 to 6 per cent pay hike for employees in the country this year.

According to the recruitment firm, this marginal pay hike is on the back of falling oil prices and is less than what was predicted at the end of 2014.

A previous survey by Aon Hewitt, a company into talent, retirement and health solutions also states that employers in the UAE could be in line for an average salary increase of 4.8 per cent in 2015.