Salary not top factor to retain expat executives in the UAE

International research has shown for positions that require cognitive skills. (FILE)

Good salary alone isn’t just enough in determining job satisfaction and retention for expats in the UAE, say experts. Job satisfaction is a very complex issue and many factors will decide whether an individual will stay put or move on to another company.

“International research has shown for positions that require cognitive skills, less than 5 per cent of the people report their remuneration being the top motivator.  So, job satisfaction and retention do not really depend on the remuneration, as executives look for other values when working with an organization.  This does not mean that the people do not work for what they consider an appropriate level of remuneration, and improving this can often be a factor for making a career move.  But it is not the top factor, and it is not the main way to attract and retain senior executives,” Konstantina Sakellariou, Partner, Marketing & Operations Director at Stanton Chase told Emirates 24|7.

Agrees Cliff Single, Commercial Manager at BAC Middle East. “Job satisfaction and employee retention are complex issues and are often highly individual. There are many variables that affect a person’s career choices and the balance of motivations is unique to each person: some prefer highly challenging positions, while others give more priority to job stability and the work-life balance. Higher compensation does not automatically equate to high job satisfaction: we have encountered many candidates who are very well rewarded financially, but who are still unsatisfied in their jobs for other reasons. When speaking to these candidates, some of the more common reasons mentioned for seeking new employment are poor working relationships within the company; a lack of challenge or career development; or a sense of disconnect with management,” he told this website.

 “Salary is one of the factors of job satisfaction. I believe priority is job retention,” adds Royston Fernandes, General Manager at Lobo Management Services.

However, some experts believe that salary is the most important factor especially for expats working in the country and the region. According to Lama Ataya, Chief Marketing Officer at, “working professionals all over the Middle East region agree the salaries they earn are ‘directly’ linked to the loyalty they feel towards their employer.”

She substantiates it by the recent findings of her company. “Regionally, 26 per cent of participants mentioned that their organizational loyalty is affected by the salaries they earn to a great extent (95 per cent to 100 per cent) – in the UAE, 25 per cent of professionals said their loyalty is 95 to 100 per cent dependent on salaries earned whereas 39 per cent said it is 50 to 94 per cent dependent on salaries earned. Remarkably, only 12 per cent of UAE professionals stated that their organizational loyalty is not at all linked to the salaries they are earning,” she added.

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