Best and Worst Sectors for Payrises in UAE for 2012

The good news is that following two years of pay freezes, pay cuts and redundancy, 2012 was a much better year for pay rises.

Confidence is returning to the market and this is evidenced by the fact that average pay rises in the UAE, based on data from top recruitment agencies was 5-6%, reported Emirates 24/7.

However, there were some extreme industry variations in terms of the level of pay rise that was received in 2012. Yes, some industries did see pay rises than were much higher than the average but others were quite a bit lower.

According to the Gareth El Mettouri, Associate Director at Robert Half, (as reported in Emirates 24/7), the industries that saw the biggest pay hikes were: real estate and construction, although FMCG, healthcare/pharmaceuticals and utilities all saw above-average salary increases.

Bankers did well too

Another sector that did well too was banking; yes, data from the global resourcing specialists Aon Hewitt Middle East reveals that the banking sector has received the highest increases within the professional services sector at 8.1%.

Financial services is strong in general

The financial services sector remains a great potential career option as corporate and private banking, insurance and accounting have also seen strong hiring increases this year, which have led to them facing challenges in finding the critical staff they need. This means that candidates have been in a much stronger bargaining position in 2012 and have most likely been able to negotiate higher starting salaries.

According to James Sayer, Director, Robert Half Middle East, (as reported in Emirates 24/7) ,”Some niche occupations such as regulatory, compliance and risk as well as several technology specialists are increasingly sought after and as demand outweighs supply, salaries [have gone up and are] likely to increase throughout 2013″.

Pharmaceuticals and chemicals is also strong for pay rises

The Aon Hewitt Middle East data has shown that pay rises within the pharma and chemicals sectors have been above average at 5.8% average pay rises.

Machinery and equipment

However, one area which has experienced very low pay rises is the machinery and equipment sector which only received a 4.1% pay rise. But, while low, this pay rise was good compared to the transportation, logistics and shipping services sector which experienced some of the lowest pay rises in the UAE at 2.1%.

If you are working in this sector, times will have been hard and you will need to be negotiating hard this year in order to receive a suitable pay rise. Please read our salary negotiation guide.

Oil, Gas and Petrochemicals

According to the top industries 2012 survey, the energy sector (fossil fuels) has performed the best in terms of salaries and is the highest paid sector in the UAE. The second highest paying sector was airline/government/civil service/banking/finance and the third highest paying sector was military/defense/police and IT.

About the author

Kazim Ladimeji is the Director of—a resource for start-ups, small business and job seekers. It includes a blog with career and small business advice articles. Kazim is a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and has been a practising HR professional for 14 years.

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