United Arab Emirates Salary Guide 2023


Welcome to the 2023 edition of the Cooper Fitch Salary Guide for the United Arab Emirates.


If 2021 was a period of post-pandemic recovery for the UAE, 2022 has been a year of consolidation and growth across multiple sectors. Not only has the Emirates bounced back from the effects of Covid-19 during the past 12 months but it has now surpassed the levels of recruitment activity last witnessed in 2019. This is supported by the IMF’s predictions that the UAE’s economy will be the fastest growing economy in the Gulf, in 2023.


Thanks to strong leadership in the wake of a global crisis, the UAE’s aviation and tourism sectors have outperformed market expectations throughout 2022. According to the UAE Tourism Council, during Q1 of 2022, the tourism sector exceeded the pre-pandemic figures for the same period in 2019. This is evidenced by industry leaders such as Etihad Airways, Emirates, and flydubai, which have undertaken intensive recruitment campaigns spanning every level of their organisations, from cabin crew to leadership roles.


The popularity of UAE as a destination of choice has underpinned the tourism sector’s success; with Dubai frequently placed highly as one of the most visited cities in the world. During 2022, Dubai welcomed over 10 million international visitors between January and September, with a further increase in travel to the city during quarter four for the Qatar World Cup.


On a broader level, the UAE’s jobs market has enjoyed its strongest year in a decade, with higher-thananticipated demand across the public and private sectors. This activity has been fueled in no small part by the healthy position in which the nation’s government finds itself, as well as its success in incentivising local and international funding for large projects.


Headcount in the UAE

Almost one-third (30%) of the UAE-based organisations surveyed made headcount reductions in 2022, whereas 15% registered no change. More than half of respondents (55%) grew their workforce during this period, representing a 3% year-on-year rise. Only 24% expect to reduce their headcount in 2023, while 59% plan to increase their numbers. It’s shaping up to be a busy 12 months for recruiters and applicants in the UAE.





Research Methodology

This year, Cooper Fitch surveyed business leaders responsible for key decision-making at more than 300 organisations across the Gulf. Our survey posed a selection of six confidential questions, which were focused on recruitment activity, organisational headcounts and salary trends across 2022 and into 2023.

The data included in our salary guide is based on the answers we received from our respondents and professional network, and are representative of these responses exclusively.


About Cooper Fitch

Established in 1997, Cooper Fitch provides recruitment, executive search, HR advisory and RPO services across the GCC. Our team supports clients in the Gulf and Europe with all talent-related matters. We are also a proud member of the Talent Club group of companies, with 37 offices across three continents.

Cooper Fitch also offers comprehensive compensation and benefits analysis, which is designed to enhance your organisation’s competitive edge. Please contact me directly if you would like to learn more.


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Trefor Murphy

Founder, CEO
+971 55 555 7283



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