Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 7 August 2020

Salaries in Saudi Arabia to increase by 4.8% in 2020, study finds

Over half of employers are planning to increase headcount next year, Mercer survey says

Employees in Saudi Arabia enjoyed an increase in base salaries of 4.5 per cent in 2019. Waseem Obaidi / The National
Employees in Saudi Arabia enjoyed an increase in base salaries of 4.5 per cent in 2019. Waseem Obaidi / The National

Employees in Saudi Arabia can expect an increase in base salary of 4.8 per cent across industries in 2020, slightly higher than the 4.5 per cent projection for the UAE, a survey from global human resources consultancy Mercer found.

More than half of employers (52 per cent) said they plan to increase their headcount next year while 38 per cent are looking to maintain staffing levels, according to the company's total remuneration study of over 470 companies in the kingdom.

“Saudi is constantly looking at new approaches to further progress and develop the workforce. In addition to annual increases in base salary, we have noticed an increasing number of talented Saudi youth being placed in leadership positions. This is key in creating a sustainable economy,” said Basem Samara, career products leader at Mercer in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia’s economy, the largest in the Arab world, has suffered in recent years because of low oil prices and austerity measures aimed at reducing the budget deficit. However, the International Monetary Fund expects the country’s gross domestic product to grow 2.2 per cent next year, as the kingdom presses on with economic reforms and diversification.

Employees in the Emirates enjoyed a 4.5 per cent increase in base salary in 2019, according to the UAE results of Mercer's study, which covered a total of 18 countries across the Mena region. Employees in Saudi Arabia had the same pickup in salary this past year.

In Saudi Arabia, the highest increase forecast for 2020 is in the life sciences and high tech industries at 5 per cent. The energy industry continues to see some of the lowest increases in salaries with a projected 3.5 per cent increase next year. Other industries covered included consumer goods, manufacturing and services.

Graphic by The National
Graphic by The National

The voluntary job turnover rate in the kingdom has increased to 9 per cent in 2019 from almost 7 per cent in 2018, “demonstrating an active job market”, the report said.

“With a young demographic, there is a significant amount of movement in jobs in the Saudi workforce,” said Mr Samara. “We are seeing that leaders of many organisations are looking to enhance the employee experience as a retention tactic given the fierce competition for talent in the market.”

Updated: November 27, 2019 09:35 AM

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