A lot of market studies pop up now and then, always with the same forecast that there’s going to be another round of salary increase in the coming year. But who really gets to receive a pay rise? Not many.
A new study conducted among residents in the UAE has found that wage adjustments that were forecast last year or even 24 months ago have not yet materialised for many residents.
According to Tiger Recruitment, which polled respondents in the UAE, nearly half of employees in the country (40 percent) haven’t had a salary increase for two years now. A lot more (nearly 70 percent) haven’t seen any increase in the last 12 months, with only a third of workers (33 percent) saying they have had a pay rise in the last 12 months.
Another 71 percent admitted that they haven’t had a bonus in the last 12 months as well.
The situation is a bit worrying, according to the human resource specialist, because stagnant wages are one of the things that push people out the door, and the high cost of living continues to put a strain on personal finances.
Last year, Mercer forecast that salaries across industries will grow by nearly five percent in 2019. For next year, monthly pay-cheques will go up by another five percent for workers in the strategy sector, while those in the investment management manufacturing, technology and telecommunication sectors will experience a modest growth of about two percent, according to the latest study by Cooper Fitch.
Zahra Clark, head of Tiger Recruitment for the Middle East and North Africa, said many employers have been reluctant to grant employee pay rises in recent years due to economic uncertainty.
“This could be having a serious impact on retention and motivation levels,” Clark said.
Clark noted that leaving compensation packages unchanged for a significant length of time can be “particularly problematic” if employees feel there is a lack of transparency about the reasoning behind the decision.
He said it would, therefore, be advisable for companies to review how they approach salaries and benefits in 2020 to make their staff feel valued, rewarded and fairly treated.
“While benefits play a significant role in showing value, salary packages also need to be competitive. If your competitors are offering annual salary reviews and you’re not keeping up, you’ll likely lose your best talent in the long term,” Clark told Zawya.com.
"Overall, we have found that the most effective retention efforts come from listening to employees and providing them with a tailored package, which includes a combination of financial and soft benefits,” Clark added.
(Writing by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)