2020 Salary Forecast: What Should GCC Professionals Expect

Saudi & UAE Job & Salary Trends in 2020

Sixty-six percent (66%) of employers and 59% of employees expect salaries to increase in 2020, up from 62% and 69% respectively last year.

A new Hays 2020 GCC Salary & Employment Report says that there’s renewed confidence in the Gulf Cooperation Council market right now. However, salaries will largely remain same in 2020. Handful individuals with niche technical skills and proven experience may anticipate the highest increments.

“These statistics show great confidence and optimism in the market over the next 12 months. However, they are not dissimilar to the previous two years survey predictions, when in reality just over 40% of professionals received a pay rise in 2019,” said the organisation.

“We expect salaries to remain largely the same year-on-year in 2020 compared to 2019, with pay increases being individually determined. Once again, we anticipate the highest salaries to be paid to those with proven experience and niche technical skill, who enable fulfilment of business objectives,” says Chris Greaves, Managing Director of Hays in the Gulf region.

The latest salary and employment report further states 54% of working professionals salaries “remained the same year-on-year in 2019, 41% increased and 5% decreased.”

The report found starting ‘a new job with a new company’ and ‘individual performance related pay’ were the top two factors driving pay rises.

Among the 41% that received a pay increase in 2019, the increment was up to 5%. At the other end of the spectrum, “there were half as many pay cuts experienced in 2019 than in 2018 when nearly 10% of working professionals said they had their salaries reduced.”

Key findings of the Hays 2020 GCC Salary & Employment Report

  • 54% of working professionals’ salaries remained the same in 2019 compared to 2018, 41% increased and 5% decreased
  • The main reason for a salary increase was once again due to a new job with a new company
  • 59% of employees and 66% of employers in the region expect salaries to increase in 2020
  • 29% of employees started a new job with a new company in 2019, compared to 20% in 2018
  • 52% expect to start a new job with a new company in 2020, the main reason is to increase their salary
  • 66% of employers plan to recruit additional staff in the next 12 months
  • 64% of employees feel positive about their career prospects for 2020

“The differences in pay increases year-on-year were marginal and positively there were far fewer reductions to salary in 2019 compared to 2018. These findings reflect the overall stable market conditions we are experiencing in the local jobs market”, said Greaves.

“The real take away from this research is the reasons why people received a pay increase in 2019 and what these findings tell us about salaries for the year ahead”, says Greaves.

“It is clear that company-wide pay increases are relatively uncommon, as has been the trend for at least the past three years, since the energy price slump.”

“Undoubtedly, employers are being strategic about the remuneration they offer in order to be as cost effective as possible. As such, they are being selective with salary increases, awarding these to individuals who bring real value to the organisation by way of niche skills and experience.”

The report found the most significant pay increases (those over 15%) were awarded to professionals within the Accounting & Finance and Technology professions.

“From our experiences within these sectors, employers are giving pay rises to the most senior, Director-level Accounting & Finance professionals, who have proven experience and expertise to lead the expansion of finance operations. Within Technology, employers are paying the highest salaries to individuals with niche technical expertise, who can deliver complex digital transformation projects on time and on budget.”

Hays surveyed more than 6,800 employers and employees across the Gulf region asking questions about salaries and employment experiences in 2019, as well as their expectations for 2020.

Read the complete report here.

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