Firms seen raising worker benefits as UAE cost of living bites

New survey reveals that total benefits including housing and education allowances rise by 12%
Firms seen raising worker benefits as UAE cost of living bites
By Staff writer
Sat 02 May 2015 09:39 AM

Companies in the UAE have increased the total allowances and benefits they offer staff by 12 percent over the past 12 months as cost of living rises continue to bite, Aon Hewitt has revealed.

According to its latest GCC Allowances and Benefits Survey, firms have continued to increase their allowances and benefits to combat the increasing cost of housing and education in the country.

The largest report of its kind in the GCC, the Aon Hewitt survey is based on an analysis of more than 90 companies operating across different sectors.

The survey showed that housing allowance in the UAE has increased on average by 15 percent across all job roles ranging from $23,000-$59,000 as rents have increased substantially over the last couple of years.

The findings revealed that the education assistance allowance has increased by 20 percent and now ranges between $8,000-$15,000 per child across job roles.

The survey also showed that education assistance eligibility has increased, with almost half of the companies across the UAE now providing children’s education assistance not only to management but also lower level staff.

Robert Richter, compensation survey manager at Aon Hewitt Middle East, said: “Since our 2014 survey we have seen companies continue to increase their cash allowance across the board in line with the cost of living.

"Housing allowance in the UAE is one of the highest across the GCC at 35 and 40 percent of basic pay whereas this is usually only 25 percent elsewhere.

"As rents are nearing pre-2008 levels and education costs continue to increase companies need to remain attractive in order to retain and gain new talent.”

The report showed that the average given for housing allowance across the GCC is highest in Qatar, averaging $44,000 and lowest in Bahrain at $28,500.

The average given for children’s education assistance across the GCC is highest in Qatar, averaging $12,000 and lowest in Saudi Arabia at $7,000, it added.

The report also measures furniture and relocation allowance, end of service benefits, life and accident assurance, long term disability, private medical benefits, loans, mobile phones, home leave benefit and annual leave entitlement.

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