MacDonald & Co salary survey

The key findings in full

The results of MacDonald & Company’s fifth salary survey


Average monthly base salary in UAE dirhams has decreased from AED 38,351 last year to 37,965 this year, down 1.0%.

“In the context of the figure it’s about the same as last year,” says company director, Ben Waddilove.


30% of respondents received an average monthly base salary increase (up from 25%0 last year


Average bonus has increased to AEd 76,431 from AED 73,246 in 2010; up 4.4%


40%, down from 44%, received a bonus during the last 12 months, while 56% of respondents received no bonus whatsoever, 3% less than last year.


21% of respondents have been made redundant in the last 12 months, down from 24% last year.


Of those who were made redundant, 78% have already found another job, up from 69% last year


Respondents receiving additional benefits from their company:

  • 80% health insurance provision (down from 83%)
  • 61% flights (down from 64%)
  • 49% mobile phones (down from 53%).


The majority of survey participants, 76%, are fairly or very satisfied with their current employment


53% of respondents are considering relocating to India or the Far East, due to the increased economic activity, down from 56% last year


83% of respondents do not believe the Real Estate industry in the Middle East does enough to help rectify the large carbon foot print per person per year in the region. 49% of those respondents believe energy consumption/ efficiency is the biggest contributor.


Only 12% of respondents (equal to 2010) anticipate economic activity in the next 12 months to decrease, while 48% believe it will remain unchanged, up from 44%


MacDonald & Company director, Ben Waddilove, explains the findings

Were there any surprises in this year’s results?

We asked about the Arab Spring and if people thought it would have a positive impact; about 76% of people said yes so that’s quite interesting. It has upset business, projects have stopped it has caused redundancies, but longer term there will be a general move towards modernisation as the old regimes are replaced, so that’s good.

We asked a questions about the economic outlook and about 40% of people said it would get better, about 48% said unchanged and 12% predicted it would drop. So realistically people think things are going to be steady.

Nothing amazing is going to happen, but we are looking at some rebuild stories in Libya. Nothing too major has been destroyed there and they want to rebuild the airport and hotels so we could be looking at that maybe middle of next year for that to begin.

In the UAE, Abu Dhabi is challenging as there have been massive scale backs. Dubai is still talking the talk, but today it’s more finishing projects and managing them.

In terms of economic indicators over the next 12 months, what do the results mean?

I would say in reality things are going to stay fairly stable. If the oil price suddenly goes down we are in trouble but I don’t think it’s likely.

So long as China and India keep on consuming they are probably going to bring the world economy out of recession ultimately.

We don’t know what will happen in the Eurozone; if some French banks go down, we’re not immune to the effects of that here, because it could affect the oil price.

In the reuslts, 53% respondents said they are considering re-locating to the Far East?

About that many people said that last year, but how many have actually gone?

In reality not many people have actually gone there.

They think about it and almost all the people I have spoken to work for companies that have offices in Hong Kong. We would all like to go and work over there and it’s a great idea, but really China is the real diver out there and to work there properly you need to speak Mandarin.  Also there is a large pool of recruitment talent out there anyway, so it’s not like an open job market and salaries are higher here, generally.

The Far East developer would look at how much a person is paid here and then consider they don’t speak mandarin.

So it’s an interesting result but I don’t think that many people will be going.


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