By Andy Sambidge
HR chief says Dubai is still preferred option in Gulf for expat execs as rents drop
Employers in Abu Dhabi and Qatar offer as much as 30 percent more money than their counterparts in Dubai to attract candidates because of the cost of living, according to a human resources expert.
James Sayer, Robert Half International Inc’s Dubai-based director of Central Europe and the Middle East, said Dubai was still the most popular destination for people wanting to work in the Gulf region.
In comments published by Bloomberg, he said Abu Dhabi and Qatar were being forced to offer more to tempt them away from Dubai where living costs had fallen in comparison.
“When it comes to companies and doing business in the region, Dubai is still the preferred option because people want to live here and the infrastructure is great," he said.
"People are demanding about 20 percent to 30 percent more money to live in Abu Dhabi and Qatar than in Dubai because the cost of living in those areas is higher than in Dubai. Rents in Dubai have fallen significantly, so it’s benefiting from that immensely.”
Dubai fell sharply in The World Cost of Living Survey 2012 published by the Economist Intelligence Unit last month. It ranked Dubai in 94th position - a drop of 16 places from last year.
Neighbouring Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, also dropped five places to 91st, the EIU said.
On hiring picking up in the UAE in 2011, Sayer told Bloomberg: “As a business, we saw hiring increase by 35 percent in 2011 compared with 2010, and the majority of our recruitment in the UAE was in Dubai.
"What we saw in the past two to three years is that a number of companies have had hiring freezes, so when someone left they generally wouldn’t find a replacement. In 2011, we saw hiring starting to pick up and companies returning to the market and rehire.”
He added that his company saw the most hiring in fast-moving consumer goods, retail and construction sectors.
"We are seeing that those sectors have quite a solid recovery moving into 2011 and in 2012.”
On expatriates in Bahrain looking for work elsewhere, he added: “There has been uplift in expatriates living in Bahrain who are keen to move to other countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council.”
Sayer also said Robert Half was hoping to open an office in Qatar in the next two months, to take advantage of the expected uplift in recruitment associated with the Gulf state's big infrastructure projects.
"Client demand has been for people specialized in legal, finance and accounting, and risk and compliance, especially because of all the big infrastructure projects in the works. The hiring is weighted more toward local Qatari firms,” he said.
Compared to Dubai the cost of living especially in finding a good apartment is extremely high in Abu Dhabi. This is the sole reason for higher Salary in Dubai. The availability of schooling for the expatriates are also less compared to Dubai which is also another factor when we consider the salary.
For a two bedroom apartment in a second let building you will have to pay AED 70000-80000 in Abu Dhabi compared to AED 40000-50000 in Dubai. This reveals the real reason for the higher salary. This is a case of supply and demand. If you like to retain talent within the market, the package also has to be reasonable.
It's still cheaper in AD, if you sit down and do the math:
5% dewa bill on rent, AD you have 0%
500-700 average DEWA Bill/ AD is like 50aed a month
Petrol driving everyday: 800/month-AD is negligable maybe 1/3 of that.
Car maintenance from wear and tear (est. 500/month-This is conservative)
Salik expenses (200 minimum)
Cost of Food in DXB is more+10%
Cost of Entertainment in DXB is atrocious+50%
Time away from your family-Priceless and non recoverable
Long term effects of stress of commute-Priceless
Higher salaries and cheaper simpler living makes AD the best place. Who cares that we don't have 50 shopping malls and 25 specialist restos. We drive down to DXB and enjoy and come back.
The apartments difference does not make up for the above, and to further the point, they aren't that much more expensive anyway, you just have to live here to find the good ones. Time to re-assess this living expense equation more realistically.