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Salary Survey Report 2009
2009 Salary Survey results revealed
Tuesday, 03 March 2009

Welcome to the results of the Arabian Business Salary Survey 2009, a comprehensive guide to how much employees working in the Gulf region are being paid, according to industry, location and nationality.

Unlike last year's poll, which took place during a boom time for most companies and staff in the region, this year's questions - answered by more than 3,000 respondents during January - were posed at a time when firms were cutting back on their workforces and budgets... and it shows.

Analysis of our data shows it doesn't matter how much you earn or how senior your role is, there are no longer any guarantees about job security in the region.

Story continues below

A telling statistic reveals that four out of the top 10 earners who completed our survey - all on substantial six-figure monthly salaries (in dollars) - admitted they were anxious about their job prospects.

We can tell you what the average monthly salary is (including all commission, bonuses and allowances) is across the GCC, we can tell you which the best paid industries are and we can reveal that most of you do not expect to receive a pay rise during the next six months - a clear indication that many expect the impact of the global economic crisis to continue.

Our data also reveals where the highest and lowest paid Gulf employees are based and where the biggest pay rises are expected during 2009.

The survey results also highlight which industry has the highest level of anxiety over job security and where employees are most confident about their future prospects.

Comments (50 )
Disclaimer: The views expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by or its employees.

Lower Salaries
Posted by Vanessa Brann, Chicago, cook on 28 May 2010 at 01:55 UAE time

I think huge corporations took advantage of laying off to hire new employees at a lower salary. In this day and age of high cost of living, how can an employer expect to hire someone for a lower salary - they know that people are desperate for jobs. How ruthless to take advantage of a situation. As they say the greedy get greedier. At this rate the US will never rise again.
Complete Salary Survery with Facts & Figures.
Posted by Krishan, Abu Dhabi, UAE on 24 May 2010 at 11:59 UAE time

I went through the publication and found it full of information.

Complete Salary Survery with Facts & Figures.
Posted by Muhammad Atif, Karachi, Pakistan on 21 May 2010 at 16:21 UAE time

Dear Uzair,

I have read your publication very carefully which can be very good for anyone looking for a job in GCC.

Can you please send me Complete Survey with facts & figures with respect to industry. I am planning to get a job in UAE or Saudi having 12 years of experience in Sales / FMCG.
Salary Survey
Posted by Uzair Hassan, Dubai, UAE on 30 April 2010 at 13:50 UAE time

Would appreciate it if someone could provide me this survey. Please email me. Please?
send me business mails related to telecom business in the region
Posted by Bijoy Bhattacharya, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman on 23 March 2010 at 15:59 UAE time

could you update the salary structure for a sales manager with an MVNO in the region?
Posted by Do not like to state, Dubai, UAE on 15 March 2010 at 11:20 UAE time

The WPS is unfair for the companies as it imposes additional cost. It is simply a cover for in ability of courts/ law to wiftly protect the rights of labor. Court cases are expensive. courts are very slow. In addition the WPS does not really in practice protect labor.
Salary Standardization
Posted by victor solidum, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on 1 February 2010 at 10:10 UAE time

It will always be helpful if a base pay will be set for every job type to set as guide for employers, however pay will always be different depending on other compesable factors. Base pay will also resolve under payment or abuse in terms of salary fixation.
Salary Standardization of Occupation, No More Discrimination!!!
Posted by JESS BANNO, Dubai, UAE on 3 January 2010 at 01:32 UAE time

Let us all forget the differences in pay among Nationalities. Westerners know how to bargain but this is not an excuse for Companies not to include what other Nationalities are supposed to receive since they haven't bargained for it/them. We should not compare salaries back home. But salaries should be based in Dubai... not India, Phil. or Bangladesh. etc.

Anyway, the only way to resolve this problem of salary discrepancies is for the Government to initiate Salary Standardization of all jobs and impose it to all Companies working in Dubai, UAE or GCC. Or hire a good NGO who can make a competent Salary Surveys of all Expat Countries and get a benchmark for all positions since Dubai is an Open International City... and put a Salary range on those jobs... In the United States, one can find the salaries of many Fields...Thus, one gets an idea how much one is earning... And hire people who are knowledgeable, experienced, talented, skillful and all the needed attributes the Company wants to have for their Workforce. I am sure, Dubai Workforce will become stable, highly professional, happier and the best in the World... Let us make the general Workforce happy! A Happy Workforce is more productive than ever...

Companies right now have a hey day hiring Workers with lower pay than before... But they should bear in mind that these people are not happy... Unhappy people will not work to their full potentials. It is just logical... That is the general psychology of the Workforce anywhere in the World... Basic principle in people management...

Until such time that job security and salary standardization have been resolved and achieved, people may not recommend highly-educated people to come to work here at this time... WHY? Because Companies now use ECONOMIC CRISES as a reason to lower their Salary offers... even if they have continuing Projects... Desperate you may be, if they have the qualifications, they should not lower their salary standards. Bite the bullet, regardless... That's why people should save for the rainy... even, if it is a deluge, at least, we have something to sustain us through... It is advisable for people to hold on, somewhere, somehow, there are reasonable Companies out there more humane, more reasonable and more understanding and would want to keep their employees happy... A good-paying loyal Company Deserves the Loyalty of its People... Let's put it in this proper perspective...

THUS, the only way to solve this inequalities is to have SALARY STANDARDIZATION... This will also eliminate bad or poorly managed, opportunistic Companies who are just after the CLIENT'S Money without thinking of the Stakeholders...

For Good Companies, always try to maintain your good standing and do not try to follow others. Do not backslide despite the ECONOMIC CRISES... You will be endeared by your employees...

Posted by Kamran Sajid on 2 September 2009 at 11:02 UAE time

This report will be great, helping people to analyze and will be having an overview. Please send me a copy as well.
Salary Survey 2009
Posted by Ian Hendrick, Abu Dhabi, UAE on 2 September 2009 at 09:18 UAE time

Please send me a copy of the salary survey for 2009. I am an Irish engineer, recently moved to the UAE
Salary Survey Report for 2009
Posted by Dalia Sarza, Dubai, UAE on 13 August 2009 at 09:08 UAE time

This report is a very useful tool in understanding and analyzining the job market trends. Very much beneficial to all expatriates trying to earn a living here.
Salary survey report for 2009
Posted by Shailendra Sharma, Vadodara, India on 4 August 2009 at 13:25 UAE time

I need the salary survey for 2009 to upgrade the information and monitor the market trends
salary survey
Posted by girish, dubai, uae on 27 July 2009 at 16:37 UAE time

Amazing you guys have found out about this now!!! and its very well known its there in every industry.
Posted by TARIQ, Rabigh, Saudi Arabia on 22 July 2009 at 22:04 UAE time

Arabian Business: A Must Read e-letter
Posted by umar farooq, Lahore, Pakistan on 22 July 2009 at 14:36 UAE time

I want to regularly get the e-news update.
Salary Survey
Posted by Remote Control, Dubai, U.A.E on 22 July 2009 at 09:03 UAE time

Wow,British,Western,Filipino,Indian ooh wait i'm African now I do know that its a fact western/white people get paid more due to different factors however we have ourselves to blame as any nationality you have to make a stance and accept a salary suitable to your needs.Problem is when people from your nationality start accepting low salaries then employers obviously will think that is your 'going rate' I beleive that the problem in the U.A.E is not about colour but its about desperate people coming here and accepting any amount of money that will get them an employment visa.Yes it is unfair that westerners earn more money but have you ever seen a Brit,American,Ausie or anyone from Europe taking a job that pays less than 10K wake up folks yes every man is born equal and we can do the same jobs that they do and we could have as much education as they have but do we value ourselves that much.Next time turn down a job that pays you less and tell your nationalities about it.Ofcourse in 3rd world countries situations cdan get abit desperate and your forced to leave but does that mean that when you come to the here you have to live a life like you did back home.Let us start demanding for high salaries and accept nothing less.Especially in a country that depends on foreign labour what will they do?Ofcourse make sure you are highly qualified for the job,Your confidence will sell you not your skin colour.
Differences in salaries
Posted by Pallavi A, Dubai on 21 July 2009 at 16:33 UAE time

Inspite of being graduates, Post graduates, Certified members Indians are given very low salaries compared to Board exam passed Whites.
Here its only skin colour that matters.Brain Power is not considered unfortunately.
Salary Comparison
Posted by Dattatreya, Perth, Australia on 19 July 2009 at 10:31 UAE time

The survey is too scared of comparing Emirati/Qatari/Omani salaries with respect to other nationalities.
Western salaries are always compared & not Arab salaries.

This depends on Country's system.
Fortunately Western countries working environment is not biased as Gulf
Banish servitude but be assertive
Posted by Prof Philbert, Salmiya/ Kuwait, Kuwait on 19 July 2009 at 09:49 UAE time

It is easier to negotiate terms with an Asian rather then with an European - largely reflective of the labour conditions in these countries.
Posted by imtiyaz khan, Dubai, uae on 18 July 2009 at 15:07 UAE time

Unfortunately in this part of world color is important not qualification and second is language if u r white u will get everything and if ur Arabic Speaking u will get good salary + facilities and if u r other person than u r at wrong place my dear.
Job security? In the UAE? You must be Emirati!!!
Posted by Simply NM, Sharjah on 22 June 2009 at 17:21 UAE time

Read my lips the only job security in place is that one directly linked to the process of Emiratisation. You're not local, feel secure at your own peril. Just take a look over the border at Kuwait and its overnight firing of 100, 000!!!
Why the name calling?
Posted by Simply NM, Sharjah on 22 June 2009 at 17:18 UAE time

I am shocked and rather dismayed at the rather prejudicial title for your article "Brit expats earn double that of Indian counterparts" when the same report ranks British expats a miserable fourth behind Americans at US$19K, Australians at US$17K and even South Africans at US$16K plus. Please be objective and get rid of your nasty sentiments! On a more subtle note why compare Brit and Indian expats?
Brit expats earn ......
Posted by Sushma Nair, Dubai, UAE on 22 June 2009 at 12:52 UAE time

The results are evident in the recent economic turmoil scenario. Brits and Americans are being the first ones to be chucked out of jobs....
Request for OMAN Salary Survey report
Posted by Shwetha M S, Bangalore, India on 29 May 2009 at 15:42 UAE time

Request for OMAN Salary Survey report
Posted by Bethuel Mutai, Nairobi, Kenya on 18 May 2009 at 16:58 UAE time

I strongly believe that talent and excellence cannot lose value..........
therefore it should not be surprising to get people earning $100,000 p.m amid the economic crisis!
Posted by Amitabh Khanna on 27 April 2009 at 11:31 UAE time

Lookimng at recent news posts, we are led to believe that the money raised from the recent Bondissue has started trickling back into the economy. Some banks re lending on homes as well.
I would welcome views on wthere the unpredictability of the recovery horizon will plague us long term or not.
Real Estate Sectory Recovery
Posted by wildyuvaaa, DUBAI, UAE on 22 April 2009 at 07:33 UAE time

As far as the Dubai Economy is concerned, the recovery is impossible
to predict, since unlike other economies of the world, its economy is
heavily dependant on Cyclical sectors such as Real Estate & Tourism.
The cost of doing Business in Dubai
Posted by Uzair Hassan, Dubai, UAE on 21 April 2009 at 18:56 UAE time

Not surprisingly, costs of doing business in Dubai had doubled, in one go. This step was taken given the market upswing and taken in one step. The same needs to be evidenced for the downturn. And not just talk. Implementation. SME's are the lifeblood of the economy and they need to be sustained, nurtured and supported.
Indian, UK, US Salaries
Posted by kwame, dagenham, United Kingdom on 1 April 2009 at 23:07 UAE time

It seems to me that after reading all these comments, people crying internally about salaries but you don't really put a true value on your worth.

I am siding with your country man PP who works for JPM, life is a balance of work, living standards and happiness. People come to Dubai to work, make a quick kill financial and go back home where ever that maybe. And yes I am a Black British with the exact same view. What most Indians seem to still not grasp is that , this is not a Democratic Country. No employer has to pay you more if the don't have to. Especially if they can get away with it. And some of you are so eager to please you bosses, shaking your head from side-to-side and saying 'Yes Boss' without questioning their true motives.

My advise is to work hard make your money, double that of your currencies and go back home and enjoy it. Which is in fact proportional to other countries i.e USA and UK because salaries are higher in UAE. Don't bring the entire family here and try to settle like everywhere else especially in Dubai.
Salary Survey
Posted by Mansur Ahmed, Dubai, UAE on 31 March 2009 at 09:56 UAE time

I believe that Dubai is coming to its senses which means reality is dawning which is painful. Most people earned a lot of money during the last few years which was excpetional and unrealistic and one day party had to conclude.
Voice from the (Deep) Underground
Posted by Bottom Dweller, Dubai, UAE on 30 March 2009 at 23:55 UAE time

Well isn't that great. Bottom of the heap. What's even better is that my salary falls several thousand short of this "average" for Filipino citizens.

I'm not going to harp about any values, virtues, or talents Filipinos have to try to redeem any lost dignity from this survey. That's pointless. The fact that the Filipino salary average is a SIXTH of the average American salary and almost a THIRD (?!!?!) of the average of everyone else's makes me feel all warm and fuzzy and really precious inside. I can't even BEGIN to describe how unsettled I am at these results. I also can't help feeling like some kind of insect that happened to find himself in Dubai. Sorry about the analogy. Heck, what would YOU feel?

Everyone has basically the same mental capacity no matter where you're from. So no one has a right to start saying who's better than who. This rob from kuwait guy is correct in saying we're all commodities and that cost of living back home (wherever that is) is a big factor. Yes, that is the reason. But the thing is, we're HERE, NOW, in the same place, paying for the same food, space, prices, etc etc. Using the same goddamn post it notes and reading the same emails. so yes. it is unfair.

which begs the question, what are the filipinos going to do about it? I suspect we'll all just do what we usually do. smile sadly, make a joke out of it, and carry on working our asses off. I mean what would you do if you had that economic blackmail of ending up working back in the philippines and earning *gasp* half of what we earn here in Dubai? (effectively making our now famous salary average seem like a microscopic, nay, a subatomic speck).

man this is depressing.
Salary Survey
Posted by Muhammad Amjad, Dubai, United Arab Emirates on 30 March 2009 at 16:51 UAE time

Nothing to earn in Dubai, Just Earn less and Pay more rule is implemented in Dubai. Salaries are Indirectly proportional these days, Rents going again up and salaries going lower by threatening of cancellation by the owners of company. Forcing people to work on same place with less salary then before otherwise face cancellation
Posted by MOHAMMED NAWAZUL, Dubai, United Arab Emirates on 24 March 2009 at 16:21 UAE time

People who have come here did so with an idea of earning a decent pay that was not possible in their home countries, and not to cheat the banks or financial institutions.
Thus the government should make it a point to provide some assistance in the form of a time period to a person who losses his job to search another one and start re paying back his loans.
Government Visa extensions
Posted by Andy, Dubai, UAE on 24 March 2009 at 10:25 UAE time

If teh UAE, and esp. Dubai, want to show how comitted they are to sustaining development, then some kind of exceptional visa extension is needed. Rather than havign to leave in 3 months time, I would prefer a 6-9 month minimum period to find a new job, allowing economic activity in the country to start rising up again, and creating new jobs. Otherwise employers will see the high re-location cost of getting people in and delay recruitment further.
Posted by Suman, Dubai, UAE on 19 March 2009 at 23:55 UAE time

well i dont know why this hotel salary is very low. well managament get thier full bonus, package, incent from supliers etc. but low level staff get only salary half service charge & rest of the shits that managament give so they can show to owner ..
It would be interesting to see the raw data...
Posted by dubaiexpatforumdotcom, Dubai, UAE on 19 March 2009 at 09:46 UAE time

I'm not sure who took part in the survey but I don't know very many people who even earn close to the 'average' figure stated for Brits in the UAE...where do people earn these kind of popstar salaries?
Salary Survey in GCC
Posted by adel, Hawalli, Kuwait on 18 March 2009 at 20:17 UAE time

Excellent analysis on salaries in the GCC
Salary survey in GCC!
Posted by Samaoen Osman, Abu Dhabi, UAE on 18 March 2009 at 10:41 UAE time

Excellent analysis on salaries in the GCC!
India rocks!
Posted by An Indian, Dubai, UAE on 18 March 2009 at 08:13 UAE time

I completely second with PP. Having worked in the recruitment industry for nearly a decade, I've realized in the past 3 years that it is becoming increasingly difficult to attract well-qualified, experienced professionals from India. The salary & perks carrot doesn't hold priority for them. Even if they were not earning any close to the offers made, they were content to remain in a country where they had freedom to change the system and still enjoy whatever good it offered. If anyone came here, it was purely because they wanted to give up the chase & settle down in a secure environment with their kids. Professionally, there are a very few experienced Indians who are satisfied.
This is not to say that the Indians coming here are not qualified or experienced. The truth, as one of the candidates put it, is that the Gulf can be used as an easy stepping stone for a move further west. Even if you do not make it that far, you earn some quick buck along with experience and return home to a higher position on the basis of 'international' exposure. The competition back home is fierce and it's most so at the mid-level. Many land a first job here just as an entry point and move up the ladder with their hard work and then, leave. Those who can not, stay where they are and become one of the numbers in such skewed statistics.
Salaries in India
Posted by PP, Delhi, India on 17 March 2009 at 16:15 UAE time

I agree with JPM, salaries in India aren’t bad. Six months back I moved back to India from Dubai at around the same level of salary that I was getting in Dubai which was US$ 140,000 pa.
And NO I was not laid off, I resigned to come back to India as I was not satisfied professionally.

Now, even after paying taxes I am leading a great life without anyone constantly reminding me that this isn’t your country and directing me to the nearest airport if I was unhappy about anything regardless of the issue.

I know of several of my friends who have refused to move to Dubai as they have it great here in India. So, please revise this view that Indians leave India for more money.

Yes, one gets what one accepts and in most cases people are not aware of what they should get. So, rather than gripe, do some research, have an idea of your own worth and demand it. And refuse if the offer is not good enough.
Performance Based
Posted by DHEERAJ CHANDEL, DUBAI, UAE on 17 March 2009 at 15:47 UAE time

Perform well and dont loose hope.
salary here is nothing....
Posted by mark, Dubai, dubai on 17 March 2009 at 12:58 UAE time

salary here is for nothing....some people getting salary 1200 dhs.. but the room rent is 900 w/o DEWA is just morethan a we leave in this kind of life??? wake up companies giving small salary...
To my fellow Indians
Posted by JPM on 16 March 2009 at 17:22 UAE time

And here's a take for our Indian brothers and sisters... I find fault that you're not demanding more. From India Shining! to India Secure? - what has made us move from being confident to our current situation?

Let's put it this way. We should thank the Brits for their English, but copy the Americans their ease of doing business with, the Lebanese for their pickiness for appearance/impressions, the French for their style, the Italians for their attention to detail (or food,footballs and Ferraris), the Arabs for their hospitality and relaxed nature. Take the best from all the world and make yourself....

But we must remain Indian - because we are a great nation, conquered by all, dominated by none. A melting pot of religion, cultures, traditions, languages and united on a single land. In modern terms, we are a nation fighting with corruption in business, politics and religion, just as much as we learn to become a better democracy.

If you are an Indian... either stand up or step down... humility is not in bowing to others, but in learning to respect them.

(Hmm... getting a bit patriotic!)
Let's face... people will care. Soon.
Posted by JPM on 16 March 2009 at 16:34 UAE time

Jason, I don't think you really know... pay in India isn't as bad as it looks... yes, maybe less than outside the country and competition is fierce... but it is good for those living there. I do know some top level managers who get paid more than their counterparts here in the Middle East and even USA/UK!!

I "know" quite a few 'foreigners' who settled in India and are living royally. One even commented that he couldn't live like this (i.e. regularly go to a 5 star hotel and have a beer) in his own country.

Today, Brits are having a lot of trouble living (cost of living, blah blah) in UK... I'm sure that after you pay taxes and eek out a living - ur still left with nothing. They're a strain on their own country's economy... what with all the govt benefits, unemployment, social service, medical, pension etc.. So sorry to say, UK's a mess.

However, in the Middle East... even an Britisher (commoner) with a fairly good accent and the gift of gab can make it in this part of the world! And trust me... that sentence came from a well educated Brit!

Sorry, didnt get your last para... maybe I'm too uneducated to understand :)

Anr, sorry to offend you... but some times the truth hurts! I can provide you with a list of top Indians... across various industries/sectors. We seem to be making it good my dear friend :)

Oh, we have a probability issue (1 billion people... yeah, some are definitely going to shine! Wish I could say that for our Olympic Team)
Let's face it... No one cares
Posted by Jason, Kuwait on 12 March 2009 at 16:50 UAE time

yes indians are better... but your competitive nature ruins your chances... today if a company hires an indian worker, tomorrow another one will arrive who will work more for less. Plus i know the competition in India is fierce and pay isnt good either.

On the topic of productivity, a company who is specialised in their product may not succeed against a company who knows how to handle a corporate culture in certain countries.
Posted by anr, Dubai, UAE on 12 March 2009 at 16:46 UAE time

As an Indian born & raised in the West, I would never say Indians are more skilled than Westerners; to make such a sweeping generalization is completely ignorant and borderline offensive.
Let's face it... Indians are better, but poor.
Posted by JPM, Manama, Bahrain on 9 March 2009 at 23:51 UAE time

The fact of the matter is that Indians (Immigrants) are far more skilled than most westerners... don't believe me? Check out what's happening in US... all those banks who have received money from the TARP are forced to take Americans and not H1B immigrants... now they're in a fix!

Oh... and we're good at maths. Even Dilbert knows this:

Postulate 1: Knowledge = Power
Postulate 2: Time = Money

Since, Power = Work / Time
Therefore: Knowledge = Work / Time = Work / Money

Solving for money, we get Money = Work / Knowledge
So... as Knowledge approaches zero... Money approaches infinity regardless of the work done!

See... I told you we were better, just that we don't get paid well !!
Think about it
Posted by Rainigade, Dubai, UAE on 9 March 2009 at 10:41 UAE time

I have to agree with the "you get what you accept" statement. Its very basic - if you agree to take a low salary, its probably because you're not making much more back home or you wouldnt be here. If you think you deserve more, then hold out for a better salary.

When my husband wanted to move to Dubai in 2000, he was in the IT field and found the salaries here much lower than even the basic salary for an IT-Help desk guy back home. He didnt move.

Seven years down the road, he's in Marketing & Sales and finally found a salary that was better than back home and we moved to Dubai.

Its very basic - You get what you accept. Lets not make this about colour of skin or nationality.
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