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Sat 16 Oct 2010 04:00 AM

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Pay day

Full results from this year’s salary survey will be out shortly, but here’s a few of the points we’ve spotted so far.

Pay day

As I write I’m a few hours away from hosting a small round-table
for half dozen or so human resource managers, from some of the UAE’s leading consultancy
and contracting firms. They are coming in to talk money.

Specifically, this panel of experts will be dissecting the results
of the 2010 Construction Week Salary Survey. The scale of the task should not be
underestimated: 1948 people started the online survey. While I was a bit disappointed
we didn’t quite crack the 2000 mark, I was actually grateful not every one answered
all the questions. There were 21 of them. Multiply that by the 1664 people who filled
in most of the multi-choice survey and you end up with
34,944 answers.

I’ve never been the sharpest Excel user, but anyone who is good
enough at their job to get promoted to one they don’t know how to do, usually ends
up having to learn the basics. Once you’ve filtered through the data overload, the
interesting information begins to emerge.

Headline numbers will inevitably be the salary averages, which
we’ll present for the whole GCC, plus some of the most well represented professional
brackets. We’ll also break it down by country of origin, which will spark some debate
about who works the hardest for their dollar.

While pay lies at the core of the survey’s intent, a good deal
of information also emerges about the people behind the numbers. People who responded,
anonymously, come from a diverse selection of 62 countries, showing the multi-national
nature of the regional workforce. Naturally though, a core group of five countries
contribute the most to the Gulf’s labour pool, with India topping the chart.

If a single trend has emerged so far, it is that there is a good
degree of tumult: Gulf construction has become a world of ups and downs. While about
a fifth of the people who took the survey have been asked to take pay cuts, a larger
proportion got a pay rise, either from an existing employer, or by changing jobs.

This amply demonstrates the mixed fortunes of the region’s construction
professionals, but it is a fact reinforced by a new question added this year, one
about pay disruptions. Much like the 20% who were asked to take a pay cut, there
was a solid 20% who got paid late – and we aren’t talking about just a few days
either. Two weeks delay or more was the norm for that sector of survey respondents,
with people from the UAE and Qatar
being the worst affected.

Despite some tough evidence to the contrary, there’s plenty of
people willing to believe they’ll be getting a pay rise within the next 12 months.
In last year’s survey something like 60% thought they’d get a boost, while this
year’s survey shows that less than half of them were right.

Perhaps the brightest sign of real improvement is the impression
of loyalty. Those that have hung onto their jobs through the last few years have
an improved impression of their company’s loyalty to them. If they’re right, perhaps
they do have something to look forward too in the near future.

Speaking of which, the full and detailed results will be released
on October 30, with raw data available to HR professionals upon request.

Stuart Matthews is the senior group editor of ITP Business' construction & design tiles.

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