Press Release

Salaries in the United Arab Emirates expected to increase by 4.6% in 2017

The economic conditions have been shifting, impacting pay and benefits more than ever before

June 13, 2016
| United Arab Emirates

DUBAI - UAE – 13 June 2016 – Wages in the United Arab Emirates are set to rise by an average of 4.6% in 2017, following an average increase of 4.9% this year, according to Willis Towers Watson’s latest Salary Budget Planning Study.

The inflation rate in the UAE in the past two years has been an average of 4.0%; however, there has been an increase in the pay for employees across all industry sectors. In 2017, the salary has been projected to increase by 4.6% in the region, in countries such as UAE and Bahrain, while Lebanon will have the highest increase in pay growth (5.4%), followed by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait (5.0%), Qatar (4.8%).

Laurent Leclère, Senior Consultant and Data Services Lead for the Middle East at Willis Towers Watson, said: “There are many factors that affect the employee attraction and retention such as the work environment, the managers they work with, health and insurance programs etc. The top-most factor however is the compensation that would also drive the employees’ performance.”

The report provides salary increase budget information for a large selection of economies across the globe, as well as projected inflationary and country GDP movements for the same period of time.

Across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), the report highlights countries where real pay differs significantly to the regional average. Lebanon has the highest pay increase at 7.1%, whilst Zambia has the lowest at -13.6%.  For Central and Eastern Europe, Poland is highest with a 3.1% real-pay increase projected for 2016 and at the other end of the spectrum is Kazakhstan at -5.1%.

On a global level the report shows employees in Asian countries are predicted to benefit from some of the highest pay rises with a regional average real-pay increase of 3.8%, followed by EMEA at 1.9% and Latin America at 1.8%. North America has some of the lowest projected increases at an average of 1.6%.

The General Industry Compensation Survey Report - which includes actual and target amounts paid for all employee salaries, allowances and bonuses, suggests that a similar rate of salary growth is likely to be maintained into 2017. But the research reveals that pay growth could be greater for certain skilled jobs with a smaller talent pool such as digital professionals.

“In an increasingly global and fast-moving talent market, effective use of the company’s salary budget should be high on reward professionals’ agendas. Identifying key talent, for not only technical skilled roles but also for the skills necessary for succession planning, is essential to the long-term health of any company. By segmenting and differentiating to meet organisational and employee needs it is possible to ensure companies are offering a total rewards packages that employees value and that will better its chances of retaining and engaging top talent”, added Laurent Leclère.

Notes to editors:

Willis Towers Watson’s Salary Budget Planning Report

The report is compiled by Willis Towers Watson’s Data Services Team. The survey was conducted in February and March 2016.  Approximately 6,500 sets of responses were received from companies across 100 countries worldwide. The report summarises the findings of Willis Towers Watson’s annual survey on salary movement and reviews practices as a means of helping companies with their compensation planning for 2016. The latest Salary Budget Planning Report is available to purchase in full, here.

Willis Towers Watson’s General Industry Compensation Survey Report

The report is compiled by Willis Towers Watson’s Data Services team. It provides multinational and local companies with a common way to analyse data across borders and industry sectors. The latest General Industry Compensation Survey Report is available to purchase in full here.

About Willis Towers Watson

Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW ) is a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company that helps clients around the world turn risk into a path for growth. With roots dating to 1828, Willis Towers Watson has 39,000 employees in more than 120 countries. We design and deliver solutions that manage risk, optimize benefits, cultivate talent, and expand the power of capital to protect and strengthen institutions and individuals. Our unique perspective allows us to see the critical intersections between talent, assets and ideas — the dynamic formula that drives business performance. Together, we unlock potential.


CPI inflation figures based on Economist Intelligence Unit 2016 predictions.



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