Dubai: Financial services, especially roles in auditing, and jobs in legal will likely see higher than average salary increases in 2023, with employers looking to recruit the best talent ahead of the UAE’s rollout of a corporate tax.
The average starting salaries for professional services in the UAE are already up 3.2 per cent year-on-year, according to the consultancy Robert Half. However, changes to laws, rules and regulations will create ‘surge-pricing’ of around 5 per cent for financial services and legal sectors, according to Robert Half’s 2023 Salary Guide.
Robert Half’s survey revealed that an internal auditor could earn in the range of Dh20,000 per month, even at an SME. Becoming a Senior Auditor at a large firm could see a median income of around Dh28,000 a month – according to the report. The results are based on an online survey of 500 working professionals, conducted in August.
They [businesses] need to be prepared to pull out all the stops to compete for the best talent.
– Gareth El Mettouri, Associate Director of Middle East at Robert Half
With the introduction of corporate tax in June 2023, businesses want to ensure they are equipped with the right talent, said the survey. As a result, demand for tax experts – particularly those who can work with the government and understand local requirements – is high, salaries are increasing, and businesses compete for the most skilled workers.
Gareth El Mettouri, Associate Director of Middle East at Robert Half, said: “Managing a business in an evolving world isn’t easy. However, senior leaders are doing everything they can to ensure they have the finance and legal talent they need to seize new opportunities in the region.
“With incredible demand for some professional services roles, businesses may need to adjust their expectations on seniority or salary. And they need to be prepared to pull out all the stops to compete for the best talent.”
Finance and Accounting salaries (monthly)
Here are a few monthly salary packages for jobs predicted to be in demand during 2023. Employees working in large companies are expected to earn approximately 30 per cent more than those working in small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
- Financial analysts at an SME: Dh14,692
- Financial analyst at a large company: Dh20,507
- Accounts payable/accounts receivable accountant at an SME: Dh9,029
- Accounts payable/accounts receivable accountant at large firms: Dh10,713
- Compliance manager at an SME: Dh24,639
- Compliance manager at a large company: Dh31,144
- Credit manager at SME: Dh21,196
- Credit manager at a large company: Dh30,302
Bring back those incentives
Before the pandemic, companies were chipping away at benefits – but now they are being used to supplement salaries, the update from Robert Half says. High salaries and significant benefits, including Business Class flights home, are on the table for US and UK re-locators. The tight market puts employees and candidates in a position to negotiate, and promoting within the company will also become commonplace.
A few UAE-based recruiters and HR experts said sectors such as IT, logistics, real estate, and financial services can expect an uptick in salaries.
Cameron Collins, founder and CEO of Workfam, said COVID-19-triggered pay cuts are being re-instated to their original figures.
“There is an incremental rise in salaries of 3-7 per cent in most private sector companies,” said Collins. However, public sector, semi-government operations in banking, finance, retail, and tourism are seeing an increase of 30 per cent due to government-mandated employment happiness programmes.”
The rising cost of living expenses is expected to play a massive part in salary hikes. Nikhil Nanda, Operations Manager at Innovations Group, said, “Employees require additional remuneration to keep up with the rising expenses. Unfortunately, there is a lag as revenues and pricing for companies need for them to start increasing their fixed costs.
“It is somewhat of a chicken-and-egg scenario as customers will only be willing to pay higher prices for services once they start earning more. However, with time, salaries will increase as interest rates and inflation continue to rise.”