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PAY a macroeconomic level, if the figures are correct in suggesting the GCC’s slowing wage growth is out Average salaries for HR professionals in GCC of kilter with the rest of countries are expected to rise by around 2 per cent in the developed world, that 2016, according to executive search specialist Robert has a broader impact on its Half. But the figures mask significant discrepancies: attractiveness both to expats the agency expects HR directors to receive an average and blue collar immigrants. 4 per cent uplift, while heads of L&D will receive 5 per Cost of living is the key cent, a reflection of what Robert Half says is a scarcity metric here – and while it of learning specialists – compensation and benefits rarely matters personally to specialists are similarly in demand. Learning and those round the boardroom development managers will receive the biggest hike table, it is one of the key of any HR role, of 7.6 per cent. The best news is that drivers of recruitment and 40 per cent of HR leaders expect to increase salaries talent mobility. It is often for key performers in 2016, as they worry about losing characterised, Mosley says, talented HR staff. How does your role stack up? as the ‘Big Mac Index’, which measures how many meals from the world’s most recognised fast food chain can be purchased by the average local employee. The GCC sits broadly in US$171,00 – $265,250 HR director the middle of the market by this measure – behind high rollers such as Switzerland, $82,500 – $147,250 Hong Kong and Singapore, as well as most manager/HR business partner HR of Europe and the US, but ahead of Asia, South Africa and South America. That is $115,500 – $172,500 changing rapidly, adds Mosley: “The most Head of recruitment significant trend is that, with the cost $119,700 – $178,500 of living so much higher now, you don’t of learning and development Head come to the GCC to save and send [your money] home.” $81,750 – $132,500 There are those who wonder, too, what Operations/payroll manager impact a more conservative approach to remuneration – and potential constraints on recruitment – will have on nationalisation. Mosley points out that the UAE has sector employees to the private sector, an 82 per cent expat population, which and may harm entry level and graduate specialist at Aon Hewitt Middle East. “For puts Emirati nationals at a considerable recruitment of nationals. example, while banking and oil and gas may premium, being paid an average 45 per cent Already, says Mosley, high inflation and be nervously looking ahead and capping fixed more for the same role according to some the increasing cost of living in the GCC has costs and salaries in particular, industries estimates. This contrasts with a 60 per had an intriguing effect on pay differentials such as healthcare and cent expat population in inside organisations when it comes to education are under real Qatar and just 40 per cent seniority: “For the last 20 years, we’ve always pressure to pay more to in Oman, where there is seen that if the market is increasing by, say, 5 attract and retain talent.” relative pay parity between per cent, senior managers’ compensation has Whatever the reason, Omani nationals and their risen by slightly more and junior employees’ the implications of pay expat counterparts. by slightly less. But 2015 was the first time Projected real salary freezes are widespread, Gandhi says he the trend reversed and the biggest increase increases, adjusted and easy to overlook. A has observed general was among lower-level workers.” Mosley for inflation region weaned on regular, convergence in pay between says this trend hasn’t affected board-level generous salary increases nationals and expats in executives. And he predicts that, by 2017, UAE 0.9% has got used to a certain most of the GCC over the status quo of larger rises for mid-level level of talent mobility and the past decade, though managers will be restored. Kuwait 1.6% a unique psychological he points to Saudi Arabia The two decades of pay inflation for contract. McGuigan points and Kuwait as outliers. But senior staff may be related to a broader move Saudi Arabia 2.6% out that talented individuals while a reining in of senior away from fixed pay scales to merit-related Bahrain 2.7% who believe they can pay is likely to help flatten increases. Mosley’s research (see page 16) command higher salaries reward structures between suggests that, in 1995, three quarters of Qatar 2.9% elsewhere are the most the two groups, a broader pay rises were awarded because of fixed Oman 3.1% likely to become disengaged downturn is unlikely to increments, but by 2015 this had dwindled or leave altogether when do much to encourage a to just 10 per cent, with more than three SOURCE: KORN FERRY HAY GROUP the money stops. And at greater transfer of public quarters of awards given on merit alone.

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People Management Middle East

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People Management Middle East: Issue 2  

The CIPD magazine for the Middle East