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Middle East – Starting salaries projected to rise

07 January 2014

The starting salaries for professional occupations in the Middle East are projected to increase an average of +3.8% next year, according to the 2013 Robert Half Salary Guide. Accounting and finance positions are expected to see the largest gains among all fields researched, with an anticipated +5% increase in the average salary for newly hired workers. Technology professionals can expect starting salaries to rise an average of +4.6%, according to the research, reports zawya.com

Gareth El Mettouri, Associate Director, Robert Half Middle East said, "The job market for experienced professionals across the Middle East has tightened. What was proving to be a shallow talent pool has further diminished, leaving companies struggling to find local talent and often turning to expatriates to fill critical roles.”

"While we have not returned to a climate where double digit salary increases are the norm, businesses are looking at their compensation and adjusting levels to both attract and retain the market's top talent. Periodically benchmarking salaries against industry averages will help businesses remain competitive as they look to grow their operations in 2014," he added.

Following is an overview of findings from the 2014 Salary Guide:

Accounting and finance 
The average starting salary for a newly hired accounting and finance professional in the Middle East is forecast to rise +5% next year. Finance managers, management accountants and financial controllers are in demand. Qualified accountants will find strong opportunities in the real estate, construction, oil and gas and fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) industries.

Financial services
Nominal increases in base pay for financial services professionals is seeing starting salaries rise +2.5% over 2013 levels. Internal audit, compliance, transactional banking and insurance underwriting are particularly in demand, although skilled professionals remain in short supply. Corporate banking, investment management and insurance sectors are seeing the strongest hiring activity.

Technology
Overall, base compensation for information technology professionals is expected to increase +4.6% in the coming year. Project/programme managers are in particularly strong demand, as are techno-functional specialists, managers and consultants and service delivery managers. Engineering, procurement and construction, financial services and pharmaceutical/healthcare industries are seeking skilled IT professionals, as are vendor-based technology firms and management consultancies.

Legal
In the legal field, starting salaries for in-house and private practice overall are anticipated to rise +2%, on average, in the coming year. Paralegals, regional legal counsels and mid-level counsels with five to eight years' post-qualification experience are in demand; particularly as firms are looking to bring more legal functions back in-house. The technology and media, construction, energy and financial services industries are seeing stronger-than-average demand for legal professionals.

Human resources
Overall starting salaries for HR professionals in the Middle East are expecting modest increases, an average of +1.2% in 2014. Specialists in talent management, learning and development and compensation and benefits as well as HR directors who are CIPD qualified are sought after. The FMCG, professional services, engineering, technology and energy industries are seeing the greatest demand for skilled HR talent.

To read the full guide, please click here

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