Before Accepting a Job in the UAE in 2019, Take a Look at This Salary Guide

Published December 17th, 2018 - 10:16 GMT
Flexible working options remain a most-wanted benefit for the majority of candidates - this is true even for those coming in at an entry-level position. (Shutterstock)
Flexible working options remain a most-wanted benefit for the majority of candidates - this is true even for those coming in at an entry-level position. (Shutterstock)

The UAE continues to see strong demand from international brands that are looking to open retail outlets, pushing the region into position as the seventh most popular destination for retail expansion, according to a recent study.

According to the Robert Half 2019 Salary Guide, organisations within the Middle East are attempting to attract more digital talent through a range of workplace initiatives, such as work environment modernisation (86 per cent), training and development (81per cent) and improved compensation packages (79 per cent).

The speed at which the economy is growing has become a concern for 37 per cent of organisations, which struggle to find qualified talent to help them remain competitive.

The trend for UAE businesses is to streamline remuneration packages, while retaining the competitive edge that is crucial in attracting and retaining talent. 

Flexible working options remain a most-wanted benefit for the majority of candidates - this is true even for those coming in at an entry-level position, the study points out.

The research also shows that candidates are expecting additional annual leave, equity/profit-sharing options, financial support for relocation and childcare benefit, aside from better bonus options and a higher salary. The latter two are particularly important in attracting top performers from overseas to fill the digital skills shortage in the UAE hiring market.

However, according to the guide, almost half of organisations it surveyed within the UAE said they found it significantly challenging to find qualified professionals.

The guide is a resource on starting salaries and recruitment trends in finance and accounting, financial services, IT, legal, and HR and administration. The Salary Guide enables employers and employees to benchmark salaries for over 185 different permanent professional roles in the UAE.


The UAE's hospitality industry is upbeat on the second half of 2018 and ready to welcome 2019 on a positive note. The sector has received massive support from the government in terms of new policies, opening of new tourist destinations, exemption from value-added tax (VAT) for tourists, preparations for Expo 2020 Dubai - these are some of the prime growth drivers that will steer forward the growth trend.

Other industries experiencing growth are construction, oil and gas, healthcare, education and professional services.

Salaries are staying relatively stable, but as a transient market, Dubai continues to see an influx of new candidates moving to the region. The survey recommends the employers are now introducing the option to work from home, or to work to compressed office hours and flexible schedules.

The most popular course of action is to award pay rises to up to 5 per cent of the finance department.


The survey finds that the vacancies are increasing in the financial services sector, exacerbating the ongoing war for talent. Recruitment experts suggest that the talent shortage can be counteracted by reducing hiring times and ensuring that remuneration packages are as competitive as possible.

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UAE business leaders have suggested that digital transformation roles will take precedence in most hiring strategies in 2019. The country registered 2.4 million of the 1.7 billion global attacks in the first quarter of 2018. This is due to digitisation and modernisation plans, which are helping to diversify the economy.

The survey described that the hiring managers need to revise the competitiveness of their salary and benefits packages.

Human Resources and Administration

The UAE continues to top the list of emerging global HR hubs. A rise in innovation and growth business projects has caused high demand for administration and office support professionals, the survey finds.

The highest salaries are offered to bilingual candidates with Arabic- and English-speaking capabilities, and those with a Western degree or experience. Human resources and administrative professionals are awarded performance-based bonuses as part of their standard remuneration package, and they value flexible working.


Technology, media and telecommunications law practice is also seeing an increase in demand, mainly due to the rise of cryptocurrency and blockchain implementation within the Middle East.

While salaries have seen a slight rise in the last 12 months, private  practice firms need to consistently benchmark their remuneration packages at the current market rate. Professionals seeking new opportunities within private practice can anticipate a minimum salary increase of 5 per cent.




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