UAE Salary Guide 2021
Pandemic mutes hiring in 2020, but companies look to renewed growth in 2021.
The Covid-19 pandemic disrupted the jobs markets in the United Arab Emirates in 2020, forcing companies to delay decisions on hiring new staff and awarding bonuses and pay rises.
However, despite persistently high levels of market uncertainty, fewer firms than expected said they made redundancies in 2020, and basic salary ranges and performance goals remained unchanged.
In both markets, well over a quarter of organisations interviewed said there had been no changes to their recruitment practices in 2020, and that they were hiring for replacement positions.
And more than half of organisations interviewed in both markets said business activity was either busy or had started to pick up by the fourth quarter of 2020, pointing to a resurgence in sentiment and growth as we enter the new year.
These were the main trends that emerged from Cooper Fitch’s latest annual Salary Guides for the Emirates – this year conducted against a backdrop of significant market disruption due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
At Cooper Fitch, we have adjusted the usual format of our Salary Guides to improve the accuracy and quality of the data we are presenting while market conditions remain uncertain. We spoke to around 200 of our clients based in the Emirates and a further 200 based in the Emirates and asked them a range of questions about recruitment activity, such as hiring trends, bonuses and salary movements for both executive and mid-level staff, to enable us to create the most reliable outlook possible for the year ahead.
The guides summarise our expectations for salaries and recruitment trends for 2021.Download Guide
67% of respondent organisations said they had made no redundancies in 2020, but a third (30%) said they had
62% said business activity was either busy or had started to pick up by Q4
34% of companies said they had implemented a hiring freeze in 2020
28% said they are recruiting for replacement positions only
45% had yet to decide whether to implement a merit pay rise for staff in 2021
68% either did not know if they would pay this year’s bonuses or said they expected not to
33% said there would be no change to existing salaries in 2021 (a pay freeze)
The survey shows that, for the majority of organisations based in the UAE, significant salary increases are unlikely in 2021 as the market recovers from the effects of Covid-19. However, as business continues to accelerate in the new year recruitment activity could follow suit, as companies seek to position themselves for renewed growth.
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