Will you be one of the lucky ones?

Study sug­gests salaries in UAE will in­crease 4.6 per cent next year

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE - By Veathika Jain @veathika

Wages across the UAE will rise by an av­er­age of 4.6 per cent next year, ac­cord­ing to a study by a global ad­vi­sory firm.

The re­search, con­ducted by Wil­lis Tow­ers Wat­son, says salaries are also ex­pected to go up 4.9 per cent this year.

With UAE in­fla­tion at an av­er­age of 4 per cent for the past two years, pay rises will re­flect that, the re­port says. The firm sur­veyed com­pa­nies in more than 100 coun­tries and re­ceived 6,500 re­sponses.

The re­search sug­gests many in the coun­try’s work­force will see a boost in their monthly pay de­spite job losses across a num­ber of sec­tors in the UAE in re­cent months, in­clud­ing oil and gas and bank­ing.

Lau­rent Le­clère, a se­nior con­sul­tant with the firm, said em­ploy­ers need to bal­ance the needs of the com­pany and the needs of staff to en­sure they of­fer a “to­tal re­wards pack­age”.

He added: “There are many fac­tors that af­fect the em­ployee at­trac­tion and re­ten­tion, such as the work en­vi­ron­ment, the man­agers they work with, health and in­surance pro­grammes.

“The top-most fac­tor, how­ever, is the com­pen­sa­tion that would also drive the em­ploy­ees’ per­for­mance.”

But, some res­i­dents are scep­ti­cal. Sean James wrote on the 7DAYSUAE Face­book page: “Not in my job. Come to think of it, it rose once. I have been here 10 years.”

Sur­veys and fi­nan­cial fore­casts have pre­dicted salary in­creases for UAE work­ers - but many read­ers are ques­tion­ing whether they will ever see such hikes.

The Wil­lis Tow­ers Wat­son Salary Bud­get Plan­ning Study is based on 6,500 re­sponses from firms in 100 coun­tries, in­clud­ing the UAE. It says busi­ness own­ers pre­dict giv­ing their staff an av­er­age salary hike of 4.6 per cent for 2017, and will up wages by 4.9 per cent this year in the UAE.

A sim­i­lar sur­vey of 600 large firms in the GCC by Aon He­witt last Septem­ber found a sim­i­lar planned rise for 2016, in­clud­ing 5 per cent in the UAE.

And while some may be for­tu­nate to see such a raise, the firms and em­ploy­ees that 7DAYS spoke have their doubts.

Dilip Khat­wani, CEO of Dubai-based fa­cil­i­ties man­age­ment firm Re­liance FM, said small busi­nesses are feel­ing the squeeze. He said: “Our mar­gins are shrink­ing, how­ever, com­mer­cial rents are in­creas­ing, there’s an in­crease in petrol and park­ing.

“We do in­tend to give pay hikes to keep our team en­er­gised but the in­cre­ments can­not be the same as pre­vi­ous years.”

Louis Miles, a busi­ness owner in Dubai, wrote on the 7DAYSUAE Face­book page that rising rents also make salary in­creases hard to man­age.

He wrote: “My shop’s rent just went up an­other 10 per cent this re­newal. Also as of this year we have to pay 15 per cent tax up­front (to DIP) in or­der to get the Ejari, which is re­quired to re­new the trade li­cence and all our govern­ment trans­ac­tions.” He added: “Our cus­tomers rent their own apart­ments leav­ing them with less spend­ing money.” And some res­i­dents said they have even had to take a pay cut to keep their job. Face­book user Naeema K said: “My salary, in­stead of in­creas­ing, has de­creased. My em­ployer said that they need to cut costs.” The Wil­lis re­port found that in the Mid­dle East, Le­banon will see the high­est in­crease in pay at 5.4 per cent in 2017, down slightly from 7.1 per cent pre­dicted this year. For 2016, the study found Zam­bia had the low­est - at mi­nus 13.6 per cent for 2016. North Amer­ica, home to two of the largest economies in the world, was due to see a rise of just 1.6 per cent for 2016, the study said.

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