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UAE Jobs: Salaries Rising Faster Than Living Costs in 2024

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The latest insights from global human capital consultancy Mercer indicate that salaries in the UAE are poised to increase at a rate of 4% this year, surpassing the anticipated inflation rate hike of 2.3%. This trend is attributed to a surge in demand for talent and robust economic expansion.

According to the Mercer Middle East Total Remuneration Survey for 2024, employees in the energy sector are set to experience a slightly higher salary increment of 4.3%, while those in consumer goods and high-tech industries can expect an average hike of 4.1%. Similarly, life sciences sectors plan to raise salaries by around 4%.

Despite this positive outlook, challenges persist, particularly concerning the cost of living. Notably, rising rents have significantly impacted residents' budgets, posing a concern for employees. The influx of foreign workers post-pandemic has fueled rent increases, compounded by recalibrations in rent regulations by the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA).

Andrew El Zein, principal for Careers in the MENA region, underscores the UAE's appeal for job seekers due to its abundance of opportunities and in-demand skill sets. However, he acknowledges the intensifying competition for talent, both locally and regionally, as firms vie to attract and retain skilled professionals.

To address retention concerns, organizations are exploring various long-term and short-term incentives to retain critical talent. Emiratisation efforts also play a significant role, with private sector firms actively competing to attract Emirati talent, particularly women.

The Mercer survey reveals that 16.3% of UAE companies plan to expand their workforce, indicating sustained demand for skilled professionals. Additionally, while the GCC region as a whole anticipates salary increases exceeding inflation, the wider region faces challenges in keeping pace with the Gulf states' oil-rich economies.

Looking ahead, a portion of UAE firms expects fluctuations in turnover rates, with 3.8% anticipating an increase and 11.4% foreseeing a decrease. These insights underscore the dynamic landscape of the UAE job market, characterized by evolving trends in talent acquisition, retention, and workforce planning.

March 26, 2024 11:48 a.m. 15073

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