Overall salaries of UAE employees is projected to increase by 4.5 percent across industries in 2020, according to a remuneration survey conducted by Mercer, a global consultancy firm.
Ted Raffoul, Career Products Leader, MENA at Mercer said: “It is very encouraging to see that a large segment of UAE employers are looking to increase salaries in 2020. This is a reflection of a resilient and optimistic economy."
The Total Remuneration Survey, based on research of more than 500 firms in the UAE, found the overall hiring outlook in the country to be positive. Almost 45 percent of respondents are planning to increase their headcount while 52 percent are looking to maintain headcount in 2020.
Mercer also revealed that while salary forecasts vary across specific industries, the strongest increase is likely to come from the life sciences and high-tech industries. The energy industry, on the other hand, continues to see some of the lowest increase in salaries with a projected 3.7 percent increase in 2020, compared to a 3.6 percent increase in 2019.
The survey also found that companies are providing higher salary hikes to executives and managers, signaling an increased attention to leadership skills.
In addition to annual increases in base salary, the UAE companies are also looking closely at long-term incentives.
"The recent introduction of enhanced employee benefits in Dubai International Financial Centre, for example, will help companies attract and retain the valuable talent needed to advance and transform different sectors in the region,” said Raffoul.
Mercer also looked at pay parity between men and women across different industries in the region. According to the survey, there is a lack of women in senior management positions and STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics] roles.
“The low ratio of women in leading roles across the UAE is concerning, especially because the current roles predominantly held by women will eventually become obsolete due to the increase in automation among various sectors. In contrast, STEM roles are expected to grow at the fastest rate, but women are underrepresented in these careers paths," said Raffoul.
The UAE government has established the UAE Gender Balance Council to combat this issue and ensure that Emirati women play a key role in the development of the country.
Overall, the UAE has one of the lowest unemployment rates among fellow GCC countries and voluntary turnover has increased to more than 7 percent, signifying a more active job market, the study concluded.
(Writing by Mily Chakrabarty; Editing by Anoop Menon)
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