Workers in the UAE are likely to take home higher paycheques this year, as corporates are expected to grant salary increases of around 4.5% in 2024, recruitment specialists Cooper Fitch said.

The rise in compensation will be driven by the strong performance of the country’s non-oil sectors, coupled with an increase in the UAE’s OPEC+ oil output quota and the need for employers to retain top talent, Cooper Fitch said in its report.

The talent specialists polled representatives from over 1,000 companies across the Gulf region and among the respondents in the UAE, 53% expect to increase their employees’ salaries this year.

The majority of those planning wage increases (39%) expect staff salaries to jump by up to 5%, while 9% of employers plan an increase of between 6% and 9%, and around 5% are preparing for an increase of 10% or more.

“More than half of this year’s respondents intend to increase remuneration in 2024. This is positive news for jobseekers in the emirates as greater demand for talent typically results in higher salaries,” said Trefor Murphy, Founder and CEO of Cooper Fitch.

Hiring outlook

The hiring outlook this year look positive as well, as many businesses are looking to expand their headcount over the next 12 months.

More than half (56%) of the respondents said they expect to hire more people in 2024, although 20% are planning to reduce their headcount.

Cooper Fitch noted that there have been several positive changes in the hiring landscape in the UAE over the past 12 months, as the country continued with its economic diversification efforts and technological innovation.

The UAE economy is forecast to grow by 3% in 2023, according to the Swiss Re Institute, thanks to various sectors, mainly real estate and technology.

Property transactions in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi were robust in 2023, driven by strong demand from domestic and overseas investors. In Dubai alone, buyers had been snapping up multimillion-dollar homes, making the emirate a top destination for luxury real estate.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) also estimated that the country will see non-oil GDP growth of more than 4% in 2024.

“In line with these [data], trends witnessed in the recruitment market and the responses [gathered]… Cooper Fitch expects salaries in the UAE to increase by 4.5% in 2024,” the report said.

(Writing by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)