Salaries in UAE predicted to rise by up to six per cent this year, says Cooper Fitch

Author: PM editorial | Date: 8 Mar 2017

HR hiring predicted to increase significantly after “sweeping redundancies” last year

The average UAE pay rise for 2017 will be between four and six per cent, according to recruitment specialist Cooper Fitch.
In the recently published Cooper Fitch 2017 Salary Guide, the biggest salary hikes of between 10 and 12 per cent were predicted for professionals in the legal and digital sectors. And the imminent introduction of VAT in the UAE, and across the GCC, is expected to be the biggest contributor to job creation in the year ahead.
More modest pay rises are expected for HR professionals, of around 3.5 to 5.5 per cent. But hiring in the function will increase significantly compared to 2016, which saw a high level of redundancies in HR, said the report.
“We didn’t find that talent supply was an issue in 2016, since sweeping redundancy programmes put large numbers of experienced HR professionals out of work for prolonged periods,” said the report.
“However, the current pool of HR talent, particularly those with multinational experience and Arabic language skills, will not be on the market for very long. In 2017, we expect to see increased demand for HR professionals with an Arabic background at supervisory and mid-levels.”
The report went into further detail on 2016 redundancies, explaining that there had been a continuing pattern of HR professionals in oil, gas and related sectors being made redundant on a large scale after a number of organisations decided to restructure internally. This also led to some HR professionals being relocated.
However, the picture was broadly optimistic for the year ahead. “We expect to see increases in salary levels and new jobs being made available following a better than expected finish to 2016 and a similar start to 2017,” the report said.
“As growth is anticipated in 2017, the demand for HR professionals, particularly those with experience of multinational companies currently based in the UAE and GCC, is expected to increase in the second half of the year.
“Sector experience is less important due to the transferable nature of HR skills and the previous restructuring has created gaps that businesses need to fill as they seek to expand, making HR recruitment a priority once again.”
News of potential pay rises should be just as welcome to employers as their workers – a survey last year found low salaries are the biggest cause of stress among UAE workers.