By Bernd Debusmann Jr
In the UAE, only 40% of employees received a salary hike, mostly of less than 5%
The number of working professionals receiving a pay increase in 2019 was higher in Saudi Arabia than in the neighbouring United Arab Emirates, according to a new report on salary and employment trends in the kingdom from Hays.
A total of 45 percent of employees experienced a pay increase in Saudi Arabia last year, typically of between 5 and 10 percent.
In the UAE, only 40 percent of employees received a salary hike, mostly of less than 5 percent.
“These statistics are not surprising given the massive investment programme to deliver Saudi Vision 2030 and the hive of activity this is creating in the kingdom,” said Chris Greaves, the managing director of Hays in the Gulf.
“Job numbers in Saudi Arabia are buoyant and demand for talent has increased significantly,” Greaves added. “In turn, employers are having to be competitive with the salaries they offer in order to attract the very best individuals over the competition.”
The report – which surveyed more than 1,000 employers and employees in Saudi Arabia – found that pay increases were most common in Riyadh, where 48 percent received one.
Salary hikes of over 15 percent, however, were most frequent in Jeddah.
“As the main business hub in Saudi Arabia, it is not surprising that Riyadh was home to the greatest number of pay increases, as competition amongst employers for tap talent is highest here and increasing salaries is one of the sure ways to secure this talent in the short term,” Graves said.
“That being said, we are seeing companies be selective about who and how they offer pay rises,” he added. . As the statistics show, still more than half of working professionals in Saudi Arabia did not receive any change to their salary in 2019 and increases are not all that easy to come by.”
Additionally, the report found that 51 percent of working professional salaries have remained the same in 2019, with only 36 percent of employers offering company-wide increases.
In 2020, 64 percent of employers and 63 percent of employees said they expect salaries to increase. In the UAE, the total was 57 percent.
“Professionals that we speak to in Saudi Arabia are certainly more bullish about their salary prospects than in the UAE,” Greaves said. “This is owing largely to the emerging activity that is happening in Saudi Arabia compared to the more established business environment of the UAE.”