Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 26 April 2019

Improved UAE job market but no significant salary rises in 2019, new report says

The Cooper Fitch 2019 Salary Guide reveals sectors that should experience hiring growth include advisory and legal

The UAE economy is expected to grow 4.2 per cent in 2019. Pictured, Dubai. Reem Mohammed / The National
The UAE economy is expected to grow 4.2 per cent in 2019. Pictured, Dubai. Reem Mohammed / The National

The UAE employment market is set to pick up next year, but workers should not expect any major increase in salaries, according to a new report.

The Cooper Fitch 2019 Salary Guide revealed optimism for next year on the back of higher average oil prices and with GDP growth expected by the Central Bank of the UAE to be 4.2 per cent after a spate of reforms were announced by the government.

"We predict an improvement in the employment market in 2019," said Trefor Murphy, chief executive and founder of Cooper Fitch. "In the previous years, the market saw a significant restructuring in organisations, particularly in the banking sector which affected employment rates and adversely influenced salary levels."

He added that he sees "more job stability" in 2019, but is "not expecting any increase in salary ranges".

Sectors that should experience hiring growth include advisory, as commercial disputes "are on the rise", and legal, with both expected to rise by 10 to 15 per cent.

"There is an increase in banking, compliance and regulatory and legal positions in the region, while there is a limited local talent supply," the report said.

Legal companies will be attempting to retain top-tier talent through strong bonus pools, flexible working arrangements and exciting projects, and with Expo 2020 coming nearer, retention of candidates "will be even more important".

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Robert Half salary guide

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The introduction of VAT in the UAE at the beginning of the year brought the need for tax specialists, and while the majority of these were expatriates, there is expected to be an increase in the number of Emiratis "fluent" in taxation as a result of education programmes.

"This growing field is maturing and creating new job opportunities for local talent ... hiring in the public sector is skyrocketing," the report stated.

Efforts by the Emirates to be at the forefront of the digital transformation is expected to see tens of thousands of cloud computing jobs created in the country by 2022.

There's a "huge demand for good salespeople and experienced consultants" and jobs in robotics and artificial intelligence from the IT sector will be in high demand.

Spending in the UAE on cloud computing services – where data is saved and shared over the internet remotely – is expected to quadruple during the next five years, reaching Dh1.5 billion.

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Salaries in the UAE are projected to increase by 4.8 per cent next year across all industries, according to the Total Remuneration Study from the global consulting firm Mercer, which was released last month.

Mercer found that overall salaries in the UAE increased by 4.5 per cent this year, with the biggest pay rise of 5 per cent awarded to those in the "life sciences" sector.

A poll carried out among UAE residents by The National last week found that 14 per cent of the 2,700 who participated received a pay rise of more than 3 per cent in 2018.

Forty per cent said they are expecting a pay rise in 2019, while 54 per cent said their company does not increase salaries.

Furthermore, 67 per cent said they will be looking to change job next year.

Updated: December 17, 2018 05:02 PM

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