Salaries in UAE likely to rise by 4.5% in 2020


UAE has one of the lowest unemployment rates among fellow GCC countries, Mercer said.

Salaries in the UAE are likely to rise 4.5 per cent in 2020 with the highest increase expected in the life sciences industries at 4.6 per cent, according global consulting firm Mercer’s remuneration survey released on Wednesday.

While forecasts vary across specific industries, the survey results revealed that the strongest push is likely to come from the life sciences and high-tech industries.

The energy industry continues to see some of the lowest increase in salaries with a projected 3.7 per cent increase in 2020, compared to a 3.6 per cent increase in 2019.

Notably, companies are providing higher increases to executives and managers than they are to other employee levels, signalling increased attention to leadership skills, Mercer said.

“It is very encouraging to see that a large segment of UAE employers are looking to increase salaries in 2020. This is a reflection of a resilient and optimistic economy. The UAE is constantly looking at new approaches to progress and develop the workforce further. In addition to annual increases in base salary, UAE companies are also making progress in regards to long-term incentives,” said Ted Raffoul, Career Products Leader, Mena at Mercer.

It was revealed that voluntary turnover has increased to more than seven per cent, signifying a more active job market.

The UAE has one of the lowest unemployment rates among fellow GCC countries, Mercer said.

The survey found that the overall hiring outlook in the UAE is also positive with 45 per cent of respondents planning to increase their headcount and 52 per cent looking to maintain headcount in 2020. 


In the UAE, more than 500 organizations were surveyed in the manufacturing, retail and wholesale, services, chemicals, life sciences, high tech, energy, and other industries.

Raffoul said the low ratio of women in leading roles across the UAE is concerning, especially because the current roles predominantly held by women will eventually become obsolete due to the increase in automation among various sectors.

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