By Sarah Townsend
Hays Salary & Employment Report says employees feel prospects of pay rise bleaker this year
The UAE workforce is less optimistic about salary prospects this year than it was at the start of 2015, after almost half of employees received no change to their salary over the ensuing 12 months, according to new research.
The GCC 2016 Salary & Employment Report by recruitment consultant Hays found that 48 percent of employees received no change to their salary last year.
However, the 45 percent whose salaries did change received an increase in excess of 10 percent, the report found.
Employers, said Hays, are substantially less optimistic about the year ahead than they were this time last year, with 49 percent reporting that they feel positive about 2016 compared to 69 percent who said the same in 2015.
The survey was completed by more than 2,400 employees and 200 employers across the UAE in the fourth quarter of 2015. It focuses on the following job sectors: accountancy & finance, construction & property, engineering, HR, IT, legal, office support, sales & marketing and supply chain.
The report found that a significant number of survey respondents (31 percent) changed company in 2015 and 57 percent said they intend to do so in the next 12 months.
While this figure is down from last year (78 percent), there is some optimism within the workforce, the report said. Sixty five percent of respondents said they feel positive about their career prospects in 2016, while 52 percent of employers said they expect to increase their headcount in 2016.
The survey also found that 70 percent of employers said they expect to increase salaries across the board in their company over the next year.
For the 50 percent of respondents that said they received a pay rise in 2015, one-quarter (25 percent) of those rises were discretionary, individually determined, rises rather than a company-wide increase, which accounted for 23 percent of pay rises).
The report suggests that proactively seeking a pay rise “is a productive strategy at a time when large scale across-the-board increases are unlikely”, the report notes.
“There are many mixed messages around salary and expectations in the GCC hiring market,” said Chris Greaves, managing director of Hays Middle East.
“On the one hand, the low energy prices and increasingly volatile political situation in the Middle East have led to companies being very careful when addressing any new risk and taking a cautious approach to growth in order to reduce costs.
“On the other hand, we continue to see a large amount of fluidity in the hiring market with much activity still to come, not least from the growing number of start-ups locating in the region.
“We are also seeing ongoing demand for candidates across a broad range of sectors, as diversification of the economy away from oil and gas continues to intensify.”