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Thu 9 Jul 2015 10:47 AM

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Exploitation drives hotel staff out of region

More than half of salary survey respondents claimed they would move abroad for work

Exploitation drives hotel staff out of region

The Hotelier Middle East Salary Survey 2015 revealed
that 14.1 percent of hoteliers would leave their current job to move to a
different location, while last year this percentage was much lower (8.2 percent).

One respondent, voicing concerns about the job market in
Bahrain attributed the high turnover in country’s hotels to be down to being
overworked and underpaid.

The respondent said: “Our HR manager resigned, our marketing
manager resigned , our housekeeping manager retired and we have 5 percent of
total staff from Bahrain and the others are all from India - 90 percent.

“Nobody wants to work for 10 hours a day then you give them
BD 250 (US $663) as a salary where is you have to get at least BD 500
($1326.26) monthly to cover your expenses in Bahrain if you are single; if you
are married you will need more than that.

“So in total we are disappointed with the current situation
and hopefully my voice will represent any Bahraini who works in a hotel and has
a 0 percent salary rise, no health insurance, no bonus, no incentives and
nothing at all. There’s no transport allowance, no social allowance, no
telephone allowance - we are in Middle Ages here!”

Another UAE-based respondent commented: “Hotels exploit
their employees. They pay low salaries relative to the market and offer close
to nothing in benefits. Furthermore, they force their employees to do more than
the required hours per week by the Ministry of Labour and no one is held

“We have people working at our hotel since it’s opening in
2013, and they don’t have their Emirates IDs yet! You can’t even complain,
because the company isn’t registered with the Ministry of Labour – it’s a joke!
How can you call this ‘one of the most prestigious hospitality companies in the
world?’ I'm out of here the minute I land something better.”

When those respondents that currently work in a booming
market were asked whether they would move to another country for opportunities,
57.6 percent said they would, compared to just 43 percent who would not.

However, sentiment among those that commented was that they
would prefer to stay with their current company while moving abroad.

One participant commented: “If the management is good and
they have care to the employee I would not leave the company”, and another said
“with the current company [I would move].”

In terms of location, the UAE was the most popular
destination for most of those considering a move (50.7 percent). One
participant said: “I have been in Dubai and UAE for the past 14 years and I
believe that we are in a very mature and stable market.

“We have all the requirements of a futuristic city and
destination and it will continue to grow and I am sure there are plenty of
opportunities in this market.”

Qatar achieved 37.9 percent of the votes, and Bahrain came
next with 20.9 percent of respondents claiming that if they moved abroad, that
is where they would go.

Oman followed closely, with 19.4 percent of the votes, and
in terms of the GCC, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait lagged behind with 12.3 percent
and 9 percent of the votes respectively.

“Qatar is expensive and it is almost impossible for
hoteliers to move among companies which means you go there and you are stuck
with the hotel you work at,” said one respondent. “I see Oman is the second
place to be following UAE, possibly Bahrain as well.”

Interestingly, 19.9 percent of respondents claimed they
would actually leave the Middle East, with some claiming they’d go back to the
Far East or India.

One respondent said: “The cost of living is a major issue.
It is not as beneficial to stay in the UAE like it was some years ago. I'm
considering leaving the UAE and moving to South East Asia with better
opportunities and lower cost of living.”

Political and economic uncertainty in the Middle East was
alluded to as a reason to leave for one respondent, who said: “My next career
prospect is to move to peaceful region away from danger of regional political

The Hotelier Middle East Salary Survey 2015 garnered
527 responses from hoteliers in the Middle East, and revealed pay scales, job
sentiment and the best companies to work for in the region.


Click here to read more from our Hospitality Report 2015



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