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Top executive salaries in UAE over USD 1 million – 39% hike seen in some sectors

With the GCC’s economic growth once again on an upswing, pay packages are now seeing a return to form following the dip in 2014. As per market research, average income across the region and across different sectors has registered a 7% surge with the turn of the year. Meanwhile, top-tier executive salaries have seen a whopping 39% hike in some sectors in the GCC ; CEOs in the construction sector – incidentally, the highest-paying sector for senior management executives in the region – now rake up to USD 1.2 Million per annum as basic pay. UAE-based tier-one executives, ranking the third highest-paid in the region behind Saudi Arabia and Qatar, are on average paid USD 34,900 per month across sectors .

“The construction and real estate industries have experienced exponential growth in the last year. This is especially the case in Dubai, KSA and Qatar, where multiple new projects are materializing. Top-level executives within these sectors are now in a position to reap the benefits of this momentum. Companies, too, stand to benefit with the knowledge that these talented executives are capable of adding value in terms of leading organisational development and augmenting income and profits,” said Mohamad El Turk, Partner at Rasd; the pioneering regional executive search firm boasts 25 years of market experience in the GCC, and specialises in connecting quality leadership talent with enterprises serious about building organisational capability in high growth markets.

Lagging slightly behind the construction sector in top-level executive pay scales are the commercial banking sector’s CEOs who earn basic incomes of anywhere between USD 600,000 and USD 1 Million. Meanwhile, executives within the real estate, consumer goods retail and automotive sectors are now drawing anywhere between USD 350,000 and USD 550,000 per annum.

“Another trend we’re noticing is the need for candidates who have a profound understanding of local market dynamics. A trend that is driving companies, that are particular about their requirements, to invest in attracting talented indigenous executives who understand the corporate and cultural challenges, and as a result able to capitalize on the promising economic outlook of the region.” added El Turk.

Once again, this year Saudi Arabia and Qatar remain the highest paying regions within the GCC, especially for professionals in CEO-level roles. The UAE, and Dubai in particular, is alluring for regional as well as international executives given its cosmopolitan nature.

Nadim El Said, Managing Partner at Rasd, explained: “The cultural component plays a big role when hiring in GCC countries; multinationals are willing to pay significant amounts especially for highly skilled leaders who also exhibit cultural-compatibility. This trend is even more pronounced with local groups and conglomerates who seek leaders possessing a deep understanding of the region and that can communicate effectively with native stakeholders.”

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