Just 3 per cent of UAE professionals are "highly satisfied" with their salary, despite being among the top earners in the Middle East, research shows.
Last year almost half of workers in the country experienced a salary freeze, the research showed.
Overall across the Middle East, professionals felt wage rises had not kept pace with the rising cost of living, a survey by the jobs website Bayt.com and the polling company YouGovSiraj found.
Inflation has picked up in some regional economies in recent months, driven by steep rises in the cost of basic commodities.
In the UAE, respondents said increases in the cost of living had outstripped average salary rises by 16 per cent. Professionals in GCC states accounted for the highest earners in the region, the survey found. Half of UAE professionals were moderately satisfied with their pay, with 47 per cent of those surveyed indicating low satisfaction.
Seven per cent of UAE workers earned US$8,000 (Dh29,384) or more a month. In Bahrain, 9 per cent of professionals took home more than $8,000 a month.
Egypt, Algeria and Morocco were found to be home to the lowest-paid workers. "This year we have seen an increase in the number of the lowest salary professionals in the North Africa region, which could indicate that low wages were also part of the reasons that sparked the recent uprise against governments in the region," said Amer Zureikat, the vice president of sales at Bayt.com.
This year, the survey found, 56 per cent of Algerian workers earned less than $500 a month, up from 50 per cent last year. In Egypt, 53 per cent of professionals received up to $500 a month.
Only 1 per cent of those surveyed in Morocco and Egypt said they earned more than $8,000 each month.