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Qatar professionals top in Mideast salaries

Dubai, March 7, 2010

Qatar has eclipsed the UAE for biggest salaries, with more than a third of Qatar’s professionals (39 per cent) earning between $3,001 and $8,000 a month, according to a study.

This figure was 37 per cent of professionals in the UAE, said the research conducted by job site Bayt.com, in conjunction with regional research specialists YouGov Siraj.

Unsurprisingly, the Gulf region has the highest number of professionals earning top tier salaries: 12 per cent of professionals in Qatar earn more than $8,000 each month, as do 10 per cent of professionals in the UAE, 7 per cent in Bahrain, 6 per cent in Kuwait and 3 per cent in Saudi Arabia and Oman, the study said.

As in the previous study, the lowest paid residents in the region are in the North African countries of Algeria, Egypt and Morocco - although the total number of professionals receiving the lowest salary level has dropped in each country. This year, 50 per cent of residents in Algeria earn under $500 per month compared with 54 per cent last year. In Egypt, 41 per cent of professionals receive up to $500 per month, along with 40 per cent of professionals in Morocco, while 2 per cent of professionals in Morocco earn more than $8,000 per month, as do just 1 per cent of professionals in Egypt.

Salary satisfaction has fallen across the Middle East by two percentage points in terms of professionals highly satisfied with their salaries. Matching the regional average, just 5 per cent of residents in the UAE are highly satisfied with their remuneration, according to the study.

The picture around the rest of the Gulf and wider Middle East is similar - with a peak of 7 per cent of professionals highly satisfied with their salaries in Qatar, and a low of just 2 per cent of professionals highly satisfied in Syria. 

The Middle East Salary Survey, conducted annually by Bayt.com and YouGov Siraj, is designed to look at the current levels of wages and benefits in the region, and to gauge employee opinion and satisfaction levels vis-à-vis the salaries they receive, and how these have kept pace with the cost of living.

“There is a very high demand for accurate figures on salary levels in the Middle East across industries, job roles and career levels,” stated Bayt.com’s CEO, Rabea Ataya. “By conducting this comprehensive pan-regional, pan-industrial, salary survey which covers professionals across the GCC, Levant and North Africa, we are able to shed timely light on what level of salaries people are earning and whether the Middle East’s professionals are, or indeed are not, satisfied with how much they are paid, in addition to their expectations vis-à-vis future salaries and economic conditions.”

The data for the Salary Survey is collated in part by looking at whether average salary increases were in-line with the average rise in the cost of living. As found in previous Bayt.com research, professionals resoundingly felt that the average salary increase did not reflect the rise in the cost of living in any of the surveyed countries.

Overall, professionals across the Middle East felt that the cost of living had increased by 24 per cent, yet the average salary increased by just 7 per cent - more than two thirds less. In the UAE, respondents said that living costs had increased by 22 per cent while the average salary increase was just 6 per cent.

This year, the biggest disparity in the increase in living costs compared to salary raise was felt in Syria - where respondents felt the cost of living had increased by 28 per cent, while salaries had increased by just 9 per cent. Following close behind were Saudi Arabia and Jordan where in each country there was an 18 percentage point disparity between the rise in salary level and the rise in the cost of living. While there were still sizeable gaps between the salary and living cost increases, the countries where this gap was smallest were Tunisia and Qatar, which both recorded a 12 per cent difference and Morocco and Bahrain which reported a 14 per cent gap. 

Interestingly, the respondents were asked to compare their salary raise for the period of December 2008-2009, and their salary raise for the period of December 2007-2008. Across all of the surveyed countries, the salary increase for the 2007-2008 period was higher than a year later, which perhaps demonstrates the effect of the recession on the region’s salaries, the study said. On average, the 2007-2008 salary raise was 9 per cent compared to a 7.3 per cent average raise the following year.

This year’s salary survey also looked at the respondents’ level of satisfaction with the pay rise they received. For the most part, the region’s respondents did not receive a pay rise, with a sizeable 44 per cent missing out on a pay rise. This figure was 55 per cent of respondents in the UAE, and an overwhelming 59 per cent of respondents in Kuwait - the highest among the surveyed countries. In the UAE, just 4 per cent of professionals said they were very happy with their salary increase, 7 per cent were very unhappy, 13 per cent consider themselves as unhappy, and just 6 per cent agreed that their pay rise was fair given the economic circumstances.

The survey also looked at what percentage of their salary people manage to save each month. The results showed that a high proportion, 38 per cent, do not manage to save any of their monthly salary at all. Jordan, Morocco and Syria were the countries where respondents were least likely to save, with 54pc, 51pc and 50pc, respectively, stating that they save no money each month. The best savers were respondents in Qatar - 74pc of those surveyed manage to save money each month, followed by 71pc of respondents in Oman.

Despite the widespread unhappiness with pay rises, the region’s respondents still believe they are better off than others in terms of their quality of life in their country of residence, when compared to their peers. In the UAE, 42pc of professionals said they are better off than others, while 40pc said they were about average. At the other end of the spectrum, just 14pc of respondents said they were worse off than others. Those feeling worse off were respondents in Jordan - 21pc said they were worse off than others of their generation.

“Employers and employees alike need to look at studies like this to help in gauging both what to pay and what to expect, respectively. Given the challenging economic circumstances of the past year, it comes as no surprise perhaps that so many of the region’s professionals did not even receive a pay rise,” said Joanna Longworth, CMO, YouGov. “However, many of the region’s professionals feel they are doing better than others in terms of their quality of life. This demonstrates while they may be unhappy with their pay rise or the current economic conditions, in reality they still feel in a relatively good position.”

The study additionally revealed that across the Middle East, 74pc of residents feel they have personally been affected by the global economic crisis. In the UAE, this figure was slightly above the average at 75pc, with just 25pc saying they have not been affected. Residents in Jordan - 81pc - were the hardest hit amongst the surveyed countries, while least affected were respondents in Oman and Lebanon, where 57pc and 58pc respectively said they have been affected by the crisis.

Asked their feelings about the current economic climate in terms of the labour market, almost a quarter of respondents, 22pc, said they feel optimistic that there will be robust economic growth in their country of residence and more jobs available in a year’s time. Unlike the last wave when the region’s professionals were largely pessimistic about the future, this year just 18pc felt pessimistic about the future, showing a general improvement in optimism.
Oman and Morocco were the most optimistic about the future - 34pc and 28pc, respectively said they were feeling very optimistic, while Jordan and Lebanon  were the least optimistic with just 16pc  and 14pc of professionals- respectively-  stating they are very optimistic. In the UAE, just 13pc said they were quite pessimistic while 22pc said they were very optimistic.

Data for the 2009/2010 Salary Survey was collected online in February 2010 with 10,699 respondents across the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria. Males and females of all nationalities aged over 20 years were included in the survey, said the researchers.  -TradeArabia News Service 




Tags: Qatar | Professionals | Salaries | study | YouGov | Bayt |

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