Tech, real estate sectors to create more jobs in UAE; salaries set to be increased in 2024

by Staff Reporter
UAE is world’s second hardest working country, shows survey

Hays Middle East, part of Hays plc, the global leader in workforce solutions and specialist recruitment, has recently released its latest Salary Guide for the Gulf region.

The guide provides comprehensive salary data for almost 400 roles across 11 professions in the region, with the latest labour market trends based on expert insights and the analysis of a survey of over 2,300 employers and working professionals.

Salary Guide for the UAE, Gulf region

  • Professionals want to be adequately remunerated, which is why 75% expect salary increases in 2024.
  • 78% of employers predict that salaries in their organisation will increase this year, most commonly by 5% or less.
  • Of the 31% of professions who are actively planning to change organisations in 2024, a lack of career development opportunities is the number one reason why.
  • Aside from salary, the benefits package (60%) is the number one factor attracting employees to a new role in 2024.
  • The top three benefits most valued by employees are air ticket / travel allowances (40%), child education allowances (38%), and flexible working (31%).
  • 92% of all organisations are planning to recruit permanent employees, temporary employees, contractors, or freelancers in 2024.

Despite global adversities, the labour market in the UAE and other Gulf countries is thriving and all signs point to further growth. The findings in the guide confirm this, with 67% of employers wanting to grow their organisation’s headcount this year.

Simultaneously, 31% of skilled workers are actively preparing to change roles. In a tight talent market, this presents opportunities for strategically positioned organisations, while organisations with less clearly defined plans run the risk of losing out.

Commenting on the report, Oliver Kowalski, Managing Director of Hays Middle East, said: “2024 is shaping up to be another exciting year! The transformation of the economy is continuing at pace, as is the pursuit of the government’s long-term goals. The Hays GCC Salary Guide 2024 provides valuable trends and insights that can be leveraged by employers shaping the future of their business, and by professionals looking to propel their career to new heights.”

Sector spotlight

The Construction & Property sector is booming, driven by positive economic conditions and ambitious government initiatives. In Saudi Arabia, the transformative Saudi Vision 2030 plan fuels growth, while the United Arab Emirates is experiencing increased demand for real estate, prompting substantial hiring to meet project demands.

The Banking & Financial Services sector is experiencing robust growth and witnessing high headcount increases. In the United Arab Emirates, increases in bond / Sukuk activity and successful M&A / IPOs fuels hiring. Meanwhile, in Saudi Arabia, increased lending, advisory, and transaction support, coupled with unmatched investment activity, is creating a surplus demand for top talent.

The Technology sector propels diversification amid global challenges. Robust investment is creating diverse opportunities, increasing demand for skilled professionals. The United Arab Emirates leads in technological innovation, while Saudi Arabia focuses on infrastructure development. Start-ups and local players drive regional hiring, shaping a dynamic digital landscape.

Skills in short supply

A shift in labour market trends reflects a complex dynamic. The guide reveals that 41% of employers say that overall, there are more candidates applying for jobs than in the past. Simultaneously, 41% highlight a shortage of skilled professionals, and 23% emphasise that competition from other employers is very fierce. To raise the competency bar and then keep their best people, organisation will need to invest in employee training and retention programmes, along with recruiting talent currently in possession of the skills they need.

Substantial salary increases on the horizon

The guide shows that 78% of employers in the Gulf region predict that salaries in their organisation will increase this year, most commonly by 5% or less. Such a high percentage of salary increases indicates a positive sentiment and a proactive approach to workforce management, which aligns with the idea of a buoyant job market, competitive talent landscape, and an overall optimistic economic outlook.

Bridging the benefits gap key to raising retention rates

For many professionals, a comprehensive benefits package is significant. The guide reveals that while only 5% of employers claim not to offer any benefits, a significant 41% of professionals state that they do not receive any. Employers should consider revisiting how they communicate their benefit offerings to address the gap in employer-professional perceptions of the benefits offered versus what they receive.

AI in the workplace divides opinion among employers

The emergence of generative AI tools in the mainstream has prompted much debate. The guide indicates that employers in the Gulf region are divided on the use of AI technologies or tools in the workplace, with just 41% recommending its use. Most employers say there has been no significant impact on employment due to AI. However, 37% think that AI will eliminate more job opportunities than it will create. To keep up with the changing job market and technological evolution, training is crucial. However, just 14% of employers say they are offering upskilling or reskilling AI training programmes to employees.

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