Rising UAE Salaries May Fail to Keep Expats in UAE



You do not need official statics and researchers to notice that despite the increasing salaries in the UAE, the rising cost of living is hard to catch up with. Still, the 2014 Middle East and North Africa Salary Survey not only confirms these attitudes, it actually shows that the picture is even more dramatic.

Data used for the research was collected in April 2014, while the people who participated in it were more than 9,500. The research include both Emiratis and expats. Therefore, it captures various views.

The report spotted one major and quite disturbing trend. According to it, about 32% of the expats living and working in the UAE are planning soon to leave the country if prices do not go down and if their salaries do not go up. Many of them will change UAE with another MENA country, while others will move to a different region or will go back to their home country.

Among the main findings of the survey is that there is a high dissatisfaction with salaries in UAE. The salaries of many people did go up over the past months. However, very few are the employees that saw their raise as being enough. Only 6% have stated that they are very happy with their raise. Most probably they are government employees. More than half of all the survey’s respondents have shared that they were either quite or very unhappy with their salaries.

The reason for that is, of course, the rising cost of living. Increasing salaries cannot catch up with the rising rents and consumer prices in general. Most respondents from the UAE (38%) have said that their spending have increased by 16 to 20% last year. Another 18% even shared that the cost of living for them has jumped by over 20%. Nine in ten workers in the country have reported that they currently pay a higher rent compared to one year ago. Rents are followed by food and beverages (66%), utilities (49%) and education (40%). In addition, very few are those who manage to save some of their salary. Those who do are usually able to set aside just 1% to 5% from their monthly salary.

An interesting discovery made by the latest MENA Salary Survey is that UAE people are also among the least loyal in the region. Nearly 40% of the respondents have shared that they tended to work for the same employer for a year at the most. In comparison, in Qatar this figure is estimated at 24% and in Syria – 20%.

Despite that, loyalty in UAE connected less with salary and more with opportunities for long-term career (40%) or their line manager (39%). Therefore, people who work in the country are less likely to leave their job because of their salary than because of the career opportunities it gives them.


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