UAE firms prove COVID-19 resilience with 4 percent pay hike in 2022


Businesses in the United Arab Emirates are expected to raise employees’ wages by an average of four percent in 2022, higher than this year’s 3.6 percent increase, according to a new salary survey.

Firms across the emirates are also expected to hire more people within their companies next year, the Total Remuneration Survey (TRS) by human resources consulting firm Mercer showed, due to the promising economic recovery experienced in the UAE.

The survey covered 599 companies in the UAE. Respondents indicated that salaries in the country went up by 3.6 percent this year, which is still slightly below 2019 and 2020 figures of 4.5 percent and 3.8 percent, respectively.

About 14 percent of employers froze salary increments last year, but the number went down to 10 percent this year.

In 2022, only five percent are expected to freeze salary adjustments.

Employers are also looking at developing attractive long-term incentive (LTI) plans to attract and retain “world-class” professionals, which are required by many startups in the Middle East region.

Those polled for the survey indicated that they are prioritizing hires for in demand skillsets that will help their business grow. Companies in high-tech, life science and consumers goods are likely to increase salaries by 4 percent, while employers in the energy sector are planning for slightly lower increases of 3.8 percent.

Overall hiring and remuneration plans, however, are still below the levels seen prior to the pandemic. There is also a need for companies to continue offering flexible working arrangements, a key benefit that has been in demand globally.

“This year’s [survey] shows positive sentiment toward hiring trends and salary increases although not quite at pre-pandemic levels. Companies must focus on continuing to provide flexible working models to employees to maintain a strong proposition as an employer,” said Ted Raffoul, career products leader for the MENA region at Mercer.

“When looking to 2022, there are clear signs of economic optimism with respondents suggesting that we see an annual increase aligned to pre-pandemic levels with all industries expected to average a four per cent increase. For 2022, industries that will be aligned to the four percent increase include high-tech, life science, and consumer goods. Conversely, energy salary increases are expected to be slightly lower at 3.8 per cent,” it said.

Al Arabiya

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