Hays Emiratisation Salary Guide 2022 says 50% of UAE nationals expect a pay rise this year

UAE nationals are feeling optimistic about their salary prospects this year with the majority expecting their pay to increase over the next 12 months, according to new research.

The Hays Emiratisation Salary Guide 2022 showed that when asked what they expect to happen to their salary in 2022, 50 percent of Emiratis said they anticipate an increase – up on 43 percent who said the same last year.

Another 48 percent said they anticipate their salary to remain the same as in 2021 while 2 percent expect a decrease.

“This is the first time since running our annual salary survey that we have seen expectations for salary increases outweigh those expecting their salary to remain the same year-on-year within the Emirati community,” said Grace Eldridge, business manager of Hays Emiratisation division.

“While professionals expectations are always slightly inflated above actual market trends, we do think these expectations are relatively realistic. Confidence in the market is at a three-year high, with business activity generally above and beyond pre-pandemic levels in the UAE. As a result, we expect a higher number of salary increases to be awarded this year than the past two years,” she added.

The report found that almost three quarters (74 percent) of employers in the UAE plan to increase salaries in 2022, compared to 36 percent who did in 2021.

When looking into salary trends from 2021, the report found that 32 percent of Emiratis received a pay increase last year, lower than the 44 percent of expats who experienced the same.

However, the average uplift in pay was higher for the Emirati community, who were most commonly awarded a 5-10 percent increase, than the expat community, where the most common was an uplift of less than 5 percent.

For 2022, the majority of Emiratis anticipate an increase of 5-10 percent, while the majority of employers plan to increase salaries by less than 5 percent.

“Employee hopes when it comes to salaries are always slightly more optimistic than what we see in reality. In line with employer intentions, we would expect the majority of those salaries that do increase to do so marginally, by up to 5 percent,” said Eldridge.

“Our advice to professionals who believe they are deserved of a pay rise, is to be prepared to ask for one. They must manage their negotiation formally and sensibly, in light of the value they bring to the organisation. Those who sit and wait from a pay rise may be disappointed,” she added.

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