Salaries in Saudi Arabia more buoyant than in the UAE

Salaries in Saudi Arabia more buoyant than in the UAE
Press release

The number of working professionals receiving a pay increase in 2019 was higher in Saudi Arabia than in the UAE, that’s according to Hays Saudi Arabia Salary & Employment Trends Report.

Forty-five percent of employees experienced a pay increase in Saudi Arabia, the most common being an uplift of 5-10% while in the UAE a lower 40% received a salary rise, most commonly by less than 5%.

“These statistics are not surprising given the massive investment programme to deliver Saud Vision 2030 and the hive of activity this is creating in the Kingdom,” says Chris Greaves, Managing Director of Hays in the Gulf region.

“Job numbers in Saudi Arabia are buoyant and demand for talent has increased significantly. In turn, employers are having to be competitive with the salaries they offer in order to attract the very best individuals over the competition.”

The report, which surveyed over 1,000 employers and employees in Saudi Arabia, found regionally that pay increases were most common in Riyadh with almost half of working professionals, 48%, receiving one. Also of note, was that the highest salary hikes of over 15% were most frequently experienced in Jeddah.

“As the main business hub in Saudi Arabia, it is not surprising that Riyadh was home to the greatest number of pay increases, as competition amongst employers for top talent is highest here and increasing salaries is one of the sure ways to secure this talent in the short term.”

“That being said, we are seeing companies be selective about who and how they offer pay rises. As the statistics show, still more than half of working professionals in Saudi Arabia did not receive any change to their salary in 2019 and increases are not all that easy to come by,” adds Chris.

Indeed, the report found 51% of working professionals salaries to have remained the same in 2019 with only 36% of employers offering company-wide pay increases.

“As with the rest of the GCC, salary increases which embrace everyone in in the company are not all that common. Instead, employers are being strategic about the remuneration they offer – based on individual employee performance - in order to best manage their bottom line.”

2020 outlook

Looking ahead, a significant 64% of employers and 63% of employees expect salaries to increase in Saudi Arabia 2020, which is more optimistic than the 57% of employees who said the same in the UAE.

“Professionals that we speak to in Saudi Arabia are certainly more bullish about their salary prospects than in the UAE. This is owing largely to the emerging activity that is happening in Saudi Arabia compared to the more established business environment of the UAE. With growing business activity professionals are seeing greater growth opportunities for their career and more demand for their skills.

“It does however remain that salary increases should not be assumed for all workers. We anticipate top salaries and pay increases to go to those highly skilled individuals, who have proven experience and expertise to deliver business objectives within budget and time constraints.”

“Overall, we expect trends to continue as they did last year, with more than half of professionals salaries remaining the same in 2020 and a little under half, increasing by up to 10%,” says Chris.


RHB Hays 2020 Saudi Arabia Salary & Employment Trends Report

Hays Saudi Arabia Salary Guide

Read latest trends on salaries, employment and benefits packages, as well as workforce turnover in the Kingdom.

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