DUBAI //Nationality plays a big role in determining shop assistants' salaries, store managers and other industry figures admit.
Sales assistants are generally paid anywhere between Dh3,500 and Dh8,000 a month, which means in one store a clerk might be earning up to 128 per cent more than another who is doing the same job.
"With some companies it's about nationalities," said Tony Haddad, manager of the Virgin Megastore at Dubai's Mercato Mall. "So they say if you are coming from Europe your package will be different than if you are coming from Asia.
"Staff from the Philippines or India might get between Dh4,000 and Dh5,000, but somebody who is coming from western Europe or Australia is getting Dh7,000 or Dh8,000."
"There is one company - I don't want to name names - they're paying around Dh3,500. That's their maximum for sales staff if they're from India or Nepal."
Mirla El Masri Heisser, the public relations manager for Mercato Mall, said: "This is something we have in Dubai. Salaries depend on nationalities, unfortunately. This is something that was established a long time ago and I don't think we can change it now.
"There is always a lower salary range for the Asians and a higher one for Arabs and then even higher for Europeans. For sales force, I think Dh4,000 to Dh5,000 for most Asians, with Filipinos going a little bit higher.
"It ranges up to Dh8,000 highest for all nationalities, with Dh8,000 being for westerners."
Ashish Panjabi, the chief operating officer at Jacky's Electronics, said external factors such as exchange rate fluctuations could affect which nationalities were recruited.
"A couple of years ago, for example, when the Indian rupee had strengthened quite significantly and the salary levels in India had risen, it became more difficult to recruit from there," Mr Panjabi said.
"As the currency weakened slightly since then, it became easier to recruit more staff from India."