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05 October 2023

Will nationality determine pay hikes in the UAE in 2012?

By Shuchita Kapur

The country of origin may not determine salary increases in the country this year. Breaking from the past traditions, pay hikes for expat professionals in the country is expected to be based more on performance than mere nationality, say experts in the recruitment industry.

“I think you will see companies slowly moving away from the pay difference of nationalities and begin to implement internal equity programmes. The downturn has really taught Boards the importance of executives who can actually deliver results, so I would predict pay hikes are going to those individuals who can deliver growth in a contracting market.” Shane Phillips, MENA Regional Practice Leader, Financial & Professional Services at Stanton Chase told Emirates 24|7.

Going by the events of last year, no particular group in general is expected to see pay hikes depending on nationality. “With the exception of nationals in some of the countries of the Gulf, increases or decreases in salaries are not connected with nationalities. Increases will [be based on] the performance of the company and of the specific person,” said Konstantina Sakellariou, Partner, Marketing & Operations Director at Stanton Chase.

Cliff Single, Commercial Manager at BAC Middle East believes that disparities have gradually reduced over the last several years, particularly at the more senior and skilled levels. This trend was set after the recession of 2009.

The trend has narrowed down income disparity between Western and Asian expatriate professionals in the country. The stronger growth in Asia and a sluggish job market in the Western economies have helped reduce the pay gap.

According to a Gulf Talent report, the trend, which largely reflects the prevailing salary increases in each group’s domestic market, is helping narrow the nationality gap in salaries which has existed in the Gulf for several years.

Phillips of Stanton Chase believes that Asian and British expats will be valued this year. “Sixty seven per cent of white collar executives are Asian in the UAE, so I am sure you will see Asians with great pay increases. The British expat is also highly valued in the Middle East,” he said.