Salaries in the UAE are projected to rise by 4.8 per cent in 2015, a slight drop on the 2014 forecast of 5.1 per cent. The figures come in a new study by human resources consultancy Aon Hewitt, which also predicts that salaries across the GCC will rise by 5 per cent in 2015.

Salaries for 2014 were originally forecast to rise by 5.1 per cent, but the actual level of increase fell short in reality, as they rose by just 4.6 per cent.

The highest salary increases in 2015 are likely to be experienced by workers in Oman and Saudi Arabia, as companies there are forecast to give pay rises at around 5.4 per cent. Meanwhile, Bahrain’s workers will be feeling the pinch, with the lowest predicted salary increase in the region, of around 4.5 per cent.

The results of the Aon Hewitt survey are broadly consistent with another salary survey carried out by Gulf Business earlier this year. That used data from four leading regional recruitment companies including Adecco Middle East, Charterhouse, BAC Middle East and Nadia.

While salaries generally are on the increase, the expats working in the Gulf are feeling the squeeze, as average salaries have dropped by just over two per cent. It is thought this is down to expats leaving, meaning companies are taking the opportunity to hire new talent locally, but at slightly lower salaries. Sensitivity to costs is still a major driving factor for many recruiters, as many companies are carrying out restructuring or outsourcing in order to reduce their own overheads. Employers are eager to learn the lessons from the last time the employment market overheated and wages grew quickly.

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