Good news for professionals working in the GCC as Hays newly released 2018 GCC Salary & Employment Report, has found that 68 per cent of employers in the region expect salaries within their organisation to increase in the next 12 months.

The findings come in contrast to the 39 per cent of employees who received a pay increase in 2017 and hint at more positive economic conditions for the year ahead.

“The results are indicative of more prosperous market activity for 2018, we are noticing an uplift in hiring activity across certain sectors, which will have a positive effect on salaries for a number of working professionals,” says Chris Greaves, Managing Director of Hays Gulf region.

“However, given the increasingly competitive nature of the market and challenging conditions of the past two years, employers do remain cautious with regards to their budget spends and the salaries they can offer.”

While 39 per cent of working professionals’ salaries did increase in 2017, the majority (52 per cent) remained the same year-on-year and 9 per cent decreased – exactly the same as in 2016. Of those that increased, the most significant reason for the third year in a row, was due to starting ‘a new job with a new company’.

Specific to profession, the survey found Office Support professionals to have experienced the largest proportion of pay decreases and in contrast, Accountancy and Finance and Legal professionals received the most significant proportion of pay increases.

In response to these findings, Chris comments: “The tax-free environment of the region attracts a vast and ever-growing volume of job seekers, which allows employers to be very selective as to who they hire, the skills they possess and the salary they will pay them. Understandably then, the best salaries are given to those who stand out from the crowd and who are the least replaceable.”

“Within the Legal and Finance professions for example, we have seen the highest paid salaries go to those who have multiple years of Post-Qualified Experience within both local and international markets, who are capable of managing whole departments and who are less readily in supply than entry-level job seekers.”

So what can be expected of salaries in 2018?

For the first time since compiling the research, employee salary expectations are largely aligned to that of employers, with 59 per cent expecting an increase to their salary in 2018. However, there is slight disparity as to the percentage by which they anticipate salaries to change, with employers reporting an increase of up to 5 per cent and employees a slightly higher 5-10 per cent.

“It is impossible to predict salary trends for the whole market as they will be very much dependent on individual roles and the expertise required. However, we do expect trading conditions to improve over the next 12 months and pay increases may well be more common practice than in 2017.” says Chris.