2016 Salary Increase Forecast: Less Jobs, Limited Allowances


Mercer Middle East, reports that many organisations are using the current economic climate to make changes that will simplify their compensation structures and policies, with the most common approach being the consolidating of guaranteed allowances. The organisation says that this phenomenon reflects the increasing pull of the region as a career or life choice, with a concomitant higher value placed by expatriates on monthly pay, irrespective of its form.

“One clear trend observed in Mercer Middle East’s 2015 Total Remuneration Survey was an increase in the consolidation of allowances, which we recorded as being at 19%, with predominantly housing and transportation being bundled. The prevalence was 13% last year and 9% in 2012. This doubling of the practice in just three years is something we attribute to the modern generation of expatriates seeking similar remuneration structures to those found in their countries of origin,” commented Gomes.

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Other interesting information to emerge from Mercer Middle East’s 2015 Total Remuneration Survey concerned pension arrangements and flexible working. With regards to the first, the survey found that 10% of companies in the UAE have a pension scheme in the form of a savings plan, a differentiating factor for organisations seeking positive attraction and retention outcomes. In reference to the second, the poll found that 51% of organisations say they offer flexible working hours to their employees, a small increase from 49% in 2014 and 46% in 2013.

“Pension plans are likely to become more important for employees in the coming years and we anticipate that companies will start to adopt of formal schemes as opposed to the savings plans that we are currently seeing. When we look at flexible working, these are policies that always land well with employees in the UAE, as they cater for the diverse workforce found in the country,” said Gomes.

Mercer Middle East’s (TRS) Total Remuneration Surveys cover all forms of cash and non-cash compensation elements, for over 1,000 benchmark jobs. Across the Middle East and North Africa over 1,600 unique organisations representing almost 250,000 employees were surveyed in 2015. The poll highlights compensation trends from top executives to the administrative level and is conducted in more than 120 countries globally.


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