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Sat 2 May 2015 09:39 AM

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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
SALARY

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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Matthias 4 years ago

This is not reflecting the market. Who are those companies and who are the people benefiting of those increases. People are struggling paying their rents, school fees, food... Stop widespreading wrong info! Aon H. is living on a different planet.

DXBHeadhunter 4 years ago

As a senior HR professional who has been in this region for 10 years, I am quite shocked at how wrong this data is unless it is an unrepresentative sample or the data is being misinterpreted for this article!

DXB_HR 4 years ago

Is it? Well, first the data is insufficient to make such conclusions at GCC level (avg. 15 companies per country). And then it's not a biggest study - some of the recruitment agencies run bigger surveys than that. Finally, the information does not corroborate with market realities. Probably Aon has given such increases.

Louie Tedesco 4 years ago

Where do these numbers come from? The report makes clear reference to the UAE and Dubai is part of it. My employer is a major airline and we have received a paltry 3 percent salary increment in 2014. Some years, zero salary increase. In the last 5 years a bonus was given twice, which breaks down to 1 week per year! In over 10 years here, my highest salary increment ever received was 7 percent, so long ago I can’t remember what year it was. Basic costs of living are rising monthly, rents have been unaffordable, school fees rising out of control. With plans to make a tourist mecca here, one must wonder who will be around to service the tourists if the common man cannot afford to live here.

Marc Z 4 years ago

This survey has been done by a company who must have been paid to say what is being stated here, 12% increases? My foot.

Frank 4 years ago

Some firms have not seen a wage increase in over six years. Staff at those companies are essentially being paid less as a result. Quite how staff are able to absorb that kind of hit is beyond me.

Jan 4 years ago

@ Matthias
Those increases are only for 3% of the working force of DXB. Thus many people are excluded and this is creating serious frustration especially after reading such an article which gives the impression many people could benefit....